AMN Reviews

AMN Reviews: ProtoU & Oljus – M​ø​rketsland (2023; Cryo Chamber)

Tribal drumming, throat singing, haunting vocalizations, and dark drones…what’s not to like? ProtoU (Sasha Puzan) & Oljus (Stefan Sandberg) join forces on this collaboration, with a little help from Chaigidel and Ager Sonus. Yes, that’s a bunch of names in the experimental ambient space, and the album’s organic textures do not disappoint.

A slow-moving ritualistic track, aptly titled The Summoning, opens things up and sets the theme for what follows. The drumming is a near constant throughout, repetitive enough to be hypnotic but varied enough to remain interesting even to those not in a trance. The throat singing begins in earnest on the track with Chaigidel, and is accompanied by didgeridoo and mouth harp. Ager Sonus’ contribution adds extensive electroacoustics, plucked strings, and a looser, more improvisational feel.

Strangely, but no doubt intentionally, the album’s seven pieces are each seven minutes in length. Nonetheless, Puzan and Sandberg work well together within these constraints, efficiently evoking the ancient, mysterious, and magical.

M​ø​rketsland was released May 2 on Cryo Chamber. Do not hesitate.