Nominated for a Spellemannspris (Norwegian grammy) in 2002 for their soundtrack to the Swedish short film Lyckantropen, Ulver continue their ongoing electronica experiment with this brilliant EP from 2003, A Quick Fix of Melancholy. Composed of only four tracks, this little gem is a “quick fix” indeed. Short descriptions follow:
1. “Little Blue Bird” features a lush string arrangement and ghostly, operatic vocals from Garm (now known as Trickster G). What sounds like samples of an answering machine intermittently weave in and out before the track ends with a burst of electronic static, and then a sense of calm.
2. “Doom Sticks” has an almost somber, war-like aesthetic and might not seem out of place on a Der Blutharsch album. The use of distorted synthetic strings and dull, plodding brass interludes are nearly epic in their scope, while the track is pushed along by an infectiously programmed militaristic jungle beat.
3. “Vowels” begans quite simply, allowing Garm to showcase his considerable vocal skills over a minimalist arrangement. The latter half of the track becomes increasingly complex, with many different musical ideas, all meticulously programmed, vying for attention.
4. “Eittlane” is a remix of sorts of the track “Nattleite” from the 1995 acoustic album Kveldssanger. This track is the least engaging of the bunch, but serves a nice come-down from an exhausting musical journey.
With A Quick Fix of Melancholy, Ulver have created a mini-masterpiece, the type of release you don’t want to ever leave your player. Combining the suffocating darkness of Coil with the humanism of Radiohead, Ulver transcends genre description and begs to be heard, and not written about.
This review was originally written for MusicWerks Magazine Issue #3, published in August of 2004.
For a full list of reviews written by Erik Tomren and published in Musicwerks Magazine, please see the following:
- Suicide Commando: [Cause Of Death: Suicide] [One Nation Under God]. Issue #3.
- Ulver: Teachings in Silence (review). Issue #3.
- Ulver: A Quick Fix of Melancholy (review). Issue #3.
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