AMN Reviews: Jarl – Spectrum Confusion (2021; Reverse Alignment)

Sweden’s Erik Jarl has a long discography of releases going back over 20 years. This latest effort is in the realm of electronic avant-garde, landing somewhere between synth-driven dark ambient, Kosmiche music of the 1970s (think Klaus Schulze), and the electronically-generated manipulations of Roland Kayn. Consisting of three tracks, each between 12 and 21 minutes in length, Spectrum Confusion is in parts sweeping, majestic, spacious, and weird.

The first track, aptly titled Spectrum Confusion Part 1, features oscillating tones from layers of synths. There is a rough element of grittiness to some of these, while others are smoother. Each voice appears to be looped, cresting and receding in its own pattern. These slowly build upon each other, with short repeating motifs clearly discernable amongst a growing wall of noise. Somewhere near the midpoint, the nature of the piece changes to entail a smaller number of cosmic pulsings. Loops are again employed, as well as echoes. This approach ramps up, stratum upon stratum, until at least half a dozen distinct elements can be heard bringing the composition to a crescendo. The remaining two tracks follow along similar lines, exploring shimmering and whooshing variations on these themes.

Spectrum Confusion was released on October 1 by the newly-resurrected Reverse Alignment label.