TYPE033 - 2009
‘Knive’, Erik Skodvin’s debut album under the Svarte Greiner moniker was a milestone in doom music. Taking a surprisingly acoustic route, he kick-started a sub-genre as he used cello, violin and rattling miscellanies to conjure up blood-curdling soundscapes. ‘Kappe’ is his sophomore effort and continues Skodvin’s blackened underworld cruise, furthering his mysterious cinematic sound. Through incessant touring Skodvin has built up a distinctive live technique since the release of ‘Knive’ and it is this which works as a spirit guide on ‘Kappe’. Traveling the dark corners of the world, Skodvin has explored every shadowed alleyway in his grasp, built up a collection of broken glove-puppets and potion-filled medicine bottles and trapped many a stifled scream in the process. Some of these disparate adventures were captured to cassette tape (‘Penpals Forever’) and wax disc (‘Til Seters’), but the most evil moments were set aside for this full length record; four fated psalms in honour of the dark Northern lords. The album’s opener ‘Tunnel of Love’ may be the noisiest piece Skodvin has produced to date with a death-rattle of chains accompanying his patented maritime bass drone. It sounds something like Death’s gondola gliding through purgatory, gradually building into a dense, chattering cloud of torment before dropping into bleak stillness. Skodvin is joined by Ultralyd saxophonist Kjetil Møster who adds a disarmingly terrifying squeal to the horrifying detuned strings on ‘Candle Light Dinner Actress’. The most startling change here is his incorporation of the electric guitar – ‘Mystery Man’ sees Skodvin harness the feedback into loops of distressing, pained melancholy bringing to mind Skullflower or a slow-motion Sonic Youth at times. ‘Kappe’ however is very much its own beast, and followers will already know that nothing sounds quite like Svarte Greiner. You won’t find a more unsettling record this winter...