¬†¬†¬†¬† The first new release from this mysterious Dutch outfit in more than four years, Nu is a fantastic collection of dark and ghostly improvisational ambience and deformed doom-laden jazziness that came out recently on Black Horizons, delivering three tracks of the band's unique brand of near-formless aural darkness. The first track "Hadewych II" unveils a deranged, dreamlike atmosphere with its mix of spoken word vocals, clattering metallic percussion, deep roaring horns and trombones and eerie drones, almost like some oddly industrial-tinged deathjazz, a bass lurching and creeping through the mix, shadowy orchestral drones unfurling in the depths of the mix, the whole thing slowly and deliberately weaving this fantastically dread-filled ambience, like some demented death industrial version of Bohren perhaps, tribal drums surging up out of the blackness as the group slips into a woozy, wasted trance-state in the final moments of the track.
¬†¬†¬†¬† As the tape continues to unfold, the band employs strange instrumentation, the sounds of wooden percussion, French horn, bullroarer and trombone mingling with eerie field recordings, some of which were apparently recorded in forests in the middle of the night, and gradually introducing spoken narrative over this ritualistic driftscape. I'm generally not a big fan of spoken word stuff when combined with this sort of abstract, experimental soundscapery, but these guys manage to make it work very well, adding to a delirious, off-kilter atmosphere that becomes more disturbing as frantic screams ring out in the distance over the shambling ritualistic dirge of the second track. And those horns and trombones reappear on the b-side "Forest Of Riss", which shifts into something even epic and breathtaking, a sprawling cinematic driftscape that stretches those elegiac horns over vast washes of majestic sound and minimal pounding drums, awash in grainy distortion and flecked with that lone male voice, like some ice-shrouded soundtrack, almost Sigur Ros-like in it's vastness and desolate beauty, but bathed in a distinctly bleak and twilit glow, laced with languid bass and distant echoes of gonglike reverberations. Awesome.
¬†¬†¬†¬† Beautifully assembled in typical Black Horizon fashion, the tape housed in a die-cut black matte six-panel j-card printed in silver metallic ink on linen stock, and issued in a limited edition of just one hundred copies.