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Thursday, May 19, 2016

Hymnambulae - Orgelhuset

Artist: Hymnambulae
Album: Orgelhuset
Year: 2016
Label: Hypagoga Press
Genre: Ambient, Field Recording
Website:  hypnagogapress.com

Pär Boström (of Kammarheit) and his sister Asa Boström have started a new label called Hypnagoga Press and their first release through it is their new joint ambient project Hymnambulae. Fans of Pär's projects Kammarheit and Cities Last Broadcast will already have some idea of what to expect here: minimal, yet emotional, droning ambient soundscapes. Additionally, this comes in what sounds like a spectacular package, containing a 32-page booklet and gold embossed lettering.

No one will be surprised to hear comparisons to Kammarheit, which are of course fitting. Orgelhuset certainly has that drifting, emotional, isolationist feel, yet it also comes off as a bit more "sad". Like if you combined the minimal, flowing dronescapes of Asleep and Well Hidden with the forlorn sadness of The Human Voice (side project of fellow Nordic ambient maestro Northaunt). I like the tracks with flutes the best (ex. "Ett Ord Från Öknen", "Sandkornen") as they achieve that state of maximum disassociation / sadness. Something about those languid melodies really does it for me. While I prefer more active ambient, there are a few acts expert enough to nail that whole "highly minimal, yet profound" style without descending into the "highly minimal and boring" pitfall, and Pär Boström has always been one of those musicians. As such, you can be sure that this album will not disappoint. I probably would still have preferred more stuff going on (sfx, melody), but I cannot argue that this perfectly captures the bleak atmosphere and isolated feel of the extreme frozen north. Anyway, albums like this aren't meant to be confined to crude textual description, they need to be heard and experienced. So just go listen to it already!

After a lengthy silence, I'm glad to see Pär Boström has come back in force over the last two years: releasing a brand new Kammarheit album, a collection of older material, a split with Atrium Carceri & Apocryphos, and now this new label and music project. I really like the mission statement of the siblings' new label and look forward to whatever they put out. If this album is any indication than future output should be quite memorable. Overall, Orgelhuset is definitely something to pick up for fans of the more minimal, droning and/or arctic ambient acts on labels like Cyclic Law, Glacial Movements, etc. I also imagine this would do well in that whole field of "regular, non-dark ambient guys who use their real name".

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