Gustaf Hildebrand: Primordial Resonance (Cyclic Law, 2005)
Gustaf Hildebrand hails from Sweden and brings to the table a very dark vision on his second full length offering Primordial Resonance. When I say dark, I mean dark. This is not an ambient disc for the faint of heart. The dark, abandon places in the middle of nowhere, the corners of large cities were despair lingers, and the depth of nothingness are conjured up by these tracks. “Dark ambient” is an understatement.
“Omega Continuum” breaths out the speakers as the disc starts to spin. Forbidden landscapes with haunting voices and swirls begin this disc, giving the listener a hint of what is to come. This changes to something subtler, as machines crash far in the distance and a noise like a foghorn fills the speakers. Amidst these sounds play cries and moans of keyboards and samples. The lush, dark soundscape hypnotizes the listener and brings her into a sort of easy lull. This leads into “Post Oblivion Fields,” which starts out minimal, with whiling hums and a wind blowing through the tracks. This track is spacious and broad, recalling giant wastelands like the frozen tundra of the north, gray and white for as far as the eye can see. Metal clangs together, perhaps these are chimes, as they float on a bed of drones. The dissonance that the drones and metal creates is striking, like chaos in the midst of order.
A subtle, pulsing drone anchors “Hollow Structures.” The build on this disc is slow, patient, and filled with metal objects clanging through the speakers. Wicked laughter rings amidst the drones as the swell of sound builds. Metallic bangs and what sounds like “slinkies” bounce around in the background. A voice mumbles unintelligibly and laughs periodically. This turns into the disturbing sound of a child crying amidst the drones. Unsettling to say the least. “Omnivoid” clears the aural palette and brings a subtler rumble to the fore, washing out the memories of the crying baby. What becomes evident and this point in the disc is that, well, more of the same is coming. Sure, the sampled touches like the baby crying or laughter have given slightly different characteristics to each track, but, over all, you have wind and a low drone peering through your speakers the entire time. A bit repetitive for my taste and doesn’t hold the attention one might wish an album to hold. Sure, “Omnivoid” is subtler, but the drones and content are too similar to what comes before. “Ruins of a Failed Utopia” brings a breath of fresh air to the mix. Perhaps this is the track that is supposed to wake the listener up again. Gregorian chant fills the speakers as metal grinds and drones flow in the background. This track continues on this trajectory till its end. Rounding out the album is “Wanderer of Strange Spheres.” This is the longest track on the disc, clocking in at over nine minutes. The low drone and pulsing movements in the background make their appearance again. This drops down to a minimalistic drone that is perfect for the closing of this dark adventure.
Ok, so, how does one put a judgment on something that one does not like that much. All in all, the drones are beautiful, but a bit repetitive for my taste. Even drone albums can have more variation to them. Also, the darkness is too unsettling. I know that is probably what the artist intends, but I can’t recommend this disc to a general audience. It certainly is not for the faint of heart. It’s a disc for lovers of horror movies, darkness, and wastelands.