Search This Blog

Saturday 25 January 2014

Northaunt - Barren Land

[Click on image for official Northaunt website]
Country - Norway
Composer - Hærleif Langås
Released - 2004/2013

- Tracklist -
1. Dying Day / Dawn And Ashes
2. A Silent Battle
3. Kapp Farvel
4. Whiteout
5. Laid Bare Beneath The Stars
6. Just Another Cold Spring
7. Lost Days
8. Varghjerte
9. The Fire
10. Shadows Over The Barren Land
(2013 reissue)
11. Winter II
12. Hopeless Dreams
13. In the Midst of Life We Are in Death / Autumn Cold -Rain from the Stars

- Review -
I start the New Year reviews off with a classic, which has recently been reissued. Northaunt inevitably drove the ambient scene forward during the 1990’s and to this day still gives the world some amazing soundscapes, a band indeed worthy of recognition.
This dark Norwegian Hærleif Langås has given us ominous sounds for over a decade now, beginning with the ironically named Ominous Silence (2001), and three years’ experience afterwards, unleashed onto the world the album Barren Land (2004). This was the beginning of true haunting ambience, along with Atrium Carceri and Kammarheit. Most recently Barren Land was reissued in 2013 in a digipack format, which I was lucky to get my hands on.

Those familiar with the genre will already expect the sound Northaunt has to offer. But this really was my first time listening to Hærleif’s project, and I’m completely frozen solid now. This music is just cold, shivering, conjuring a bleak icy wasteland, you simply fall into it, and it’s mesmerizing. It’s a signature minimalist approach, heavily relying on field recordings, and for someone inexperienced this could go terribly wrong… sometimes recordings just don’t sit right with the rest of the music, or the atmosphere. But Northaunt, my god Northaunt have done this flawlessly, Hærleif has created what could be the most isolating album ever, the atmosphere is so thick… it drowns you (though very gently, it still has an airy whiff to it).

The only other band I can think of who can make music which literally freezes you is Parhelion, but with the history behind Northaunt, Barren Land is beyond anything else. For me there are three standout songs, and coincidentally they all follow one another on the album, ‘A Silent Battle’, ‘Kapp Farvel’ and ‘Whiteout’, listen to these and you will truly understand the nature of this album, and Northaunt itself.

No comments:

Post a Comment