Anders Dahl Hundloka, Flockblomstriga 1

[Häpna; 2006]

Rating: 3/5

Styles: field recordings, sound collage, free improv
Others: Lasse Marhaug, Christian Fennesz, Stephan Mathieu, Oren Ambarchi

There exists a fine line between "sound collage" and "noise," and Swedish producer and musician Anders Dahl skirts that line ever so delicately. Hundloka, Flockblomstriga 1, Dahl's debut release on Häpna, is a three-part post-classical exploration into the nature of sound, both synthetic and otherwise. Constructed primarily of documentary field recordings culled from Dahl's travels in India, in addition to various prepared classical instrumentation which has been subsequently manipulated digitally, the pieces on Hundloka, Flockblomstriga 1 display a vast and dynamic sonic range within which the electronic and the acoustic (or perhaps the organic and inorganic) become inextricably entwined.

Curiously, Hundloka was subsidized by the Swedish National Council for Cultural Affairs. Evidently, the council granted Anders Dahl a near unlimited degree of artistic license, as the album is both extraordinarily difficult and heavily, unapologetically experimental. But Hundloka rewards the listener who is willing to put forth the effort required to interpret and deconstruct the pieces included herein. Like much of the experimental classical/electronic hybrids sallying forth from any number of Scandinavian countries of late, there are patterns to be discovered within the album which Dahl has chosen to deliberately obfuscate via cunningly opaque production values that are far from traditional.

Hundloka begins with "Hundloka (Guitar, Bouzouki, Violin, Prepared Speakers)," which is by far the most unambiguous track of the three, though that may be something of a gross overstatement, as concerns the casual listener. The piece begins with recognizable instruments (or at least what sounds recognizable as coming from musical instruments) and ends on an entirely synthetic note, with washes of electronic fuzz, white noise, and harsh static. However, much of the more conventional music on this track, as on the remainder of the album, is in the form of feedback, natural and artificial harmonics, etc., as opposed to straightforward notes. Much of the album's effectiveness comes from its dissonance and dearth of traditional tonality. Dahl's notes, sounds, and samples play against one another, creating an overall disharmony that, though frequently inclined toward the cacophonous, nevertheless draws in the listener with its odd juxtaposition of space and density.

Although each track on Hundloka, Flockblomstriga 1 becomes successively more discordant and unnatural as the album progresses, the pieces each share an interesting characteristic: they are all in the same key (if "key" is indeed the correct term to be using, considering the level of abstraction upon which these pieces are structured). Many of Ligeti's keyboard pieces explored the complete sonic range of their appropriate instruments, using only a single chord or note. Likewise, Dahl's recordings, by assembling their constituent elements around a single chord, afford the listener a perversely unorthodox insight into his uniquely experimental compositional style. By conflating the synthetic and the organic, Dahl fabricates pieces that resonate with something that sounds wholly new.

1. Hundloka (Guitar, Bouzouki, Violin, Prepared Speakers)
2. Hundloka (Percussion, Guitar, Bouzouki)
3. Hundloka (Clarinet, Recorder, Computer, Guitar, Bouzouki, Percussion)

Most Read