Posts Tagged ‘Vilhelm Bromander’

Thanatosis – 7th May 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

Within Reach of Eventuality is the debut album by Swedish duo David Bennet & Vilhelm Bromander. Their notes on the album state that ‘Following a semi-open score, the duo is treating elements such as complex textures, non-pitched sounds, microtonality, beatings and intense pauses in an improvisatory and careful manner’.

I’m not entirely sure what that means, and I’m not certain of the meaning of the album’s title, either. It feels like it almost carries a sense of significant import, but then is equally so vague as to be almost abstract. And in a way, it’s representative of the four pieces on the album. There’s a grainy scratching flicker of extraneous noise running along in the background during ‘Part I’, like a waterfall in the distance, while in the foreground, elongated drones – atonal strings or wavering feedback – hover around the pitch of nails down a blackboard. Occasionally, more conventionally ‘orchestral’ sounds – emerge fleetingly – gentle, soberly-paced percussion, string strikes and soft woodwind, and it comes together to create a somewhat ominous atmosphere.

It’s a hushed, minimal ambience that fades out towards more sonorous drones that ebb and flow across ‘Part II’, and as the album progresses, the interplay between the tones – and indeed, atones – becomes more pronounced, and also more dissonant and consequently more challenging, as long, quivering, quavering drones rub against one another.

The structures – such as they are – become increasingly fragmented, stopping and starting, weaving and pausing. There is a sense of a certain musical intuition between the players, the rests coming at distances that have a sense of co-ordination, if only as much to confound expectation as to sit comfortably within it. In other words, Within Reach of Eventuality feels like a semi-organised chaos, and as it slowly slides towards the conclusion of the sixteen-minute fourth part, the sound thickens, the volume increases, and the atmosphere intensifies, become more uncomfortable in the process. And in this time, the meaning becomes clearer when it comes to understanding their approaching the sonic elements in a ‘careful manner’. There’s nothing remotely rushed about Within Reach of Eventuality. The notes are given space and separation, room to breathe. It all feels very considered, very restrained: it’s no improv free-for-all, there are no frenzied climaxes or blasting crescendos. Instead, they demonstrate a sharp focus on a fairly limited range of sounds and spaces, and the result is an album that has a strong cohesion.

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