This is the bravest Norwegian album I’ve heard all year, and Øystein Sandsdalen has humbled us into knowing that he’s a force to be reckoned with. Rather than be sidelined as Serena Maneesh’s second guitarist, or having taken the route so many bands in the same milieu have, that is, blatantly ripping Serena (which of course also rips their archeology of Neu, Suicide, My Bloody Valentine, etc.), this creative effort is entirely an entity of its own. It’s remarkable not just because it’s in a different language not often used by Norwegian bands (French), plays off unique influences (from Serge Gainsbourg, to John Fahey, to David Lynch), but is a total amalgamation of all that is Øystein Sandsdalen, it clearly remains his defined style, his voice.
The album comprises of two points, or rather, two leitmotifs, and like the title suggests with the break “/”, it is the struggle primarily between the second track “Dans La Lumiere Du Crepuscule” and the sixth, “L’innocence Revient Encore / Rève D’ivresse”. I suspect treating these two songs and their lyrics is a task for later, but the others act like supplementary instrumental moments, each with a special detail or contribution to its overall fluctuations. Unfortunately, this also makes the experience as a whole rather short-lived, but the double bind reigns throughout, requiring nothing more, nothing less.
A word on these other songs. As the title track with mysterious ease draws you slowly into it, a repetitive low-thumping detuned riff resounds, gradually circling and gaining in strength towards an ineluctable intensity almost unbearable — reaching an infinitely graceful house of noise. “Night Stroll” comes off the first real motif in the album, seducing you further with lazy, tremolo ridden guitars into, and occasionally accompanied by, some dead crashing sound as if someone’s nerves are being roasted on a spit. Some pristine beauty vs ugliness beneath. “Hypernoir” brings the album to a level of rich primitivism (via Fahey or Loren Connors), and like many other songs, into the sublime with carefully chosen elements that contract degrees of heat and light — saxophones and owls, howls and oboes. The last two songs leave you feeling like pieces of driftwood, an appropriate end, suggestive of purging or cleansing or finality (somehow “Hold In The Story” is reminiscent in effect of “Don’t Come Down Here”). All these songs hang as clouds dusting two gracefully refined movements, a dagger and its thrust.
—— I never get the feeling I’m being lied to. My déjà vu is only a sadistic enjoyment of past music or symbols relived, beautifully rewritten. I adore music like this. From the first chord everything feels visceral, the mood I can almost taste it in my tongue, like electricity; a mystery that is timeless. Darkly blue notes, south of the soul.