Mulm :: The End of Greatness (Cyclic Law)

This is a well-tempered, living and breathing soundscaping; indeed, one track is even called “Hope.” All of it is monochrome, but refreshingly for the genre, if discreetly, melodious. It sounds proud, dignified, down-to-earth, except for the closing, title track, which is airy and sacral.

Mulm ‘The End of Greatness’

[Release page] Russian Medieval historian Aron Gurevich preferred to study Scandinavian sources, owing to the late arrival of Christianity. The people there wrote about their pagan beliefs long after Latin, the language of official culture, had forced out the vernacular on the continent. In their worldview, land is central and “the idea of property as a soulless, external object is alien.” Families and their land were kin and areas of abode and of eternal rest lay in close proximity because they were not two different worlds but one single one.

Strongly resisted a thousand years ago, there is still vestigial resentment toward the Church and state’s materializing of the land in its claim of exclusive power and authority. So, does The End of Greatness refer to the eclipse of the Nordic gods? Only the monotheistic religions use the word pagan as a pejorative – its neutral usage refers to the bond between people, gods and nature. Perhaps this is why so much dark music emanates from Scandinavia, and Norway in particular—a kind of ongoing, musical effort to penetrate and express the mysteries of a repressed, collective Nordic subconscious.

Mulm is a supercabal combining three premiere dark ambient acts from Norway, Northaunt, Avsky, and Taphephobia. Ill-boding names—”north haunt”, “repulsion” in Norwegian and the psychiatric term for the fear of being buried alive. And “mulm” means gloom. But their particular combination of drone guitar, treated field recordings and synthesizers is much nimbler and approachable than the scary names would suggest. This is a well-tempered, living and breathing soundscaping; indeed, one track is even called “Hope.” All of it is monochrome, but refreshingly for the genre, if discreetly, melodious. It sounds proud, dignified, down-to-earth, except for the closing, title track, which is airy and sacral.

The very handsome booklet that slides out of the very handsome gatefold cover is filled with black and white, close-up photographs of nature—even if it is nature in the form of frost clinging to a bicycle frame, rainwater dripping from insulated cable, or a bird possessively surveying his domain from atop ironwork.

The End of Greatness is available on Cyclic Law. [Release page]

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