Hamburg based label Dekorder have a healthy history of releases from artists such as Type Records boss [John] Xela, Uton, Machinefabriek, Stephan Mathieu and of course label founder Marc Richter's own Black to Comm guise. Alexander Rishaug's 'Shadow of Events' is their latest release and adds to their experimental discography a series of darkly ambient pieces recorded and edited in the artist's hometown - Oslo, Norway between 2006 and 2010. Before this Rishaug was one part of the improv trio 'ARM' with Arne Borgan and Are Mokkelbost, and also collaborated with a number of musicians in live settings.
There must be something magical in the Norwegian air or perhaps in all Scandinavian countries, as there seems to be a consistently melancholic yet euphoric tingle to the works of artists working there. Maybe its the cold, or the lack of sunlight? Just listen to Tim Hecker's recent album Ravedeath, 1972 recorded in a church in Rejavik, Iceland, or the works of Biosphere, Sigur Ros and Deaf Center/Svarte Greiner/Erik Skodvin. Perhaps this is a reflection of a primitive human need to create warmth in the cold or light in the dark. If anything though, there is an ever present focus and structure which strikes you on first listen to 'Shadow of Events'.
'Drawing A Day' successfully enters into realms of minimal glitch of Pole or the sound of German label Scape, however leaving aside the beats, the rhythm although subtle is carried through electronic pulses and waves. And whilst clearly ambient, melody runs throughout these tracks - often stretched, playing out over long passages - but still continuously moving through the bass end, middle passes and higher notes. Sweetly-toned music box notes hit then cascade into nothingness on 'Garden Memories' for example, 'Things That Disappear' kicks off like something from Tim Hecker's 'Imaginary Country', or Bvdub's 'Tribes at the Temple of Silence'. Rather than surrounded in light though, 'Shadow of Events' is cloaked in mysteriousness.
As the album progresses the noise and fuzz increases, this is where Rishaug takes us and leaves us, the density of the sound compacts as if the walls are closing in on us, or the light is failing. The atmosphere of 'Magic Fingers' ends the album and whilst not necessarily foreboding, there is a sense that we are witnesses to events that are deeply personal, and evoke slightly unsettled emotions.
A contender for album of the year status in my opinion; truly engaging and explorative, this is a refined and immersive work.
CD and vinyl available 2nd May on Dekorder