Pjusk "Sval" CD
"Sval" was released back in March 2010 on Taylor Deupree's 12k label as follow-up to their highly praised debut "Sart". To be honest, I must say I haven't explored these Norwegians until their third album "Tele", released about one year ago on Italian Glacial Movements. Big shame on me, definitely!!! Jostein Dahl Gjelsvik and Rune Sagevik are the two principals behind this project (with few guests appearing on "Sval") and I still clearly remember the day when I heard "Tele" for the first time. So their first two albums "Sart" and "Sval" were immediately on my target..., yes, quite late, but still better than never. Anyway, few weeks later I was very fortunate to get both these sonic pearls, so now it's time for my more detailed look at "Sval". Yes, I know, three years passed already since its release and numerous reviews of "Sval" were published in the meantime, but I don't mind, I simply want to put down few lines. Inspired by the remote Nordic landscapes, "Sval" invites each listener to a truly spectacular journey, a journey filled with massive amount of unique, distinguishing and challenging soundsculpting. That's the sonic world of Pjusk in a nutshell!!! Welcome!!! "Valldal" ignites this fascinating ride with stunning blend of drones, pulses, glitches, organics and sparse melodies, precisely setting the mood for the rest of this ice cold escapade. Didn't know what "Valldal" means, but closer inspection took me to the monumental, 30 kilometers long valley. And it sounds exactly as it looks this fantastic nature, a sonic paradise to each adventurer!!! Actually, now I remember reading somewhere about Pjusk's recording studio called "The Valldal Cabin", so the connection can't be more precise!!! "Sus" is centered around subtle high-tech pulses blanketed by the mesmerizingly nocturnal atmozones. In its second half the rhythm swiftly crescendoes into more galloped and rawer dub terrains. Really attractive!!! Next two pieces, "Juv" and "Byge", are quite short, but very effective melting deeper icy drones with glitches and other sonic transitions. This thrilling drone-noise experience overlaps also to "Demring", oddly colorful and entertaining, one of its kind sonics!!! And that's the case of "Skygge" too, although darker and mysterious, but always sparse, crackling, swirling, high-pitching and clouded by distant pulse. "Dis" is the longest piece here, clocking over 8 and half minute mark, and unfolds with some weird noises and ghostly voices (a female troll maybe?), again minimal, barely audible. Few modern classical piano fragments interact with silent moments and assorted crystalline cavernous effects, at times sounding quite eerie and abstract. Another big one!!! "Skumring" keeps on the minimal route just like its predecessor, again freezing, strange and motionless, with oddly humming buzz, here and there interacting with piano bits, razor sharp bleeps, sporadic melody supplements and other location mapping. Deeper monochromatic drones invade "Glimt" for strongly visualizing effect, along with occasional melodic splinters and some enchanting flute-like scents. The second half swiftly transmutes into high-tech groovy-driven escapade blanketed by hauntingly ethereal horizons and cinematic subtleties. Wow, this is a virtuoso sound layering, tremendously filigree and sophisticated!!! "Vidde" remains in aerial realms, blurred by arctic winds and dub techno motifs, quite minimal, but strongly efficient. Another stunner!!! "Skodde" dives deep into weirdly fragranced terrains with hallucinogenic, dub techno-infused rhythms and ear-splitting outbursts. Stimulating rhythm-noise (de)cadence!!! Mysteriously droning and soaring "Dunkel" brings this highly stupefying and wondrous trip into its conclusion. "Sval" is a true masterpiece, a milestone showcasing the signature sound that is only Pjusk!!! These guys are true Nordic monsters idiosyncratically puzzling together some of the most majestic, breathtaking and mystifying scenic wonders of Norway!!! And be prepared for the upcoming Pjusk collaboration with their fellow countryman, a jazz trumpet player Kare Nymark Jr., their album is scheduled for release on 12k.
Richard Gürtler (Apr 05, 2013, Bratislava, Slovakia)