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VARIOUS ARTISTS  Frozen In Time II: Music To Accompany The Films Of Ingmar Bergman  3 x CASSETTE   (Black Horizons)   19.99
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     Here's the second installment in Black Horizons' Frozen In Time series, where an interesting array of artists have once again been hand-selected to create original music inspired directly by the films of Ingmar Bergman. As with the previous volume, this features three cassettes in an oversized plastic case, each artist taking up an entire side, with the tapes enclosed in a strikingly designed foldout cover with silver print; as with everything else on this label, it's gorgeously presented. This time around we get twenty-minute contributions from such C-Blast faves as L'Acephale and Spettro Family, along with material from Micromelancoli� & Sindre Bjerga, German Army, Head Dress and Night Worship. These tracks are again presented as alternate soundtracks to the films they are inspired by, and include time codes for those intrepid listeners interested in synching up the music with the film. It's great stuff on its own, though, beautifully bleak fields of midnight drone and regal black metal, dark formless noise and eerie soundtracky ambience, as diverse a mix as the first installment in the series.

     The set opens with a twenty minute long piece titled "En Pasjon" from Nordic noise artists Micromelancoli� & Sindre Bjerga, once again collaborating on a murky, muffled driftscape laced with fragments of industrial clang, deep buzzing drones, and half-glimpsed voices that swirl together into a gorgeously monochrome wash of corroded ambience akin to the sound of ghosts moving through an antique clock shop, then building into a wall of molten black drone. Cali experimental band German Army contribute "People Of Bamboo", a mesmeric haze of tribal drums, distant cries and bursts of electronic noise that circle and shift endlessly throughout their grey-washed soundscape. Northwestern avant black metal/neo-folk ensemble L'Acephale incorporates bits of dialogue and sound from Bergman's Seventh Seal into their epic "Totentanz", opening with languid acoustic guitars and mournful minor key chords, unfurling a moody sprawl of ominous folk across the first half of the track, slowly building into a rumbling wall of guttural piano and anxious feedback that finally explodes in a rush of majestic low-fi black metal fury. That's followed by the band Head Dress, who I'd never heard before; they offer up a three-part saga that drifts down into gorgeously moody depths of cinematic ambience and ominous murk, resembling one of the more staid John Carpenter scores, a slow seething mass of minor key drift and sinister pulses that slowly evolves into a vast wash of blissed-out kosmische shadow. It's amazing stuff that definitely makes me want to hear more from the band. Italy's Spettro Family delivers a similarly cinematic piece of music with "L'ora Del Lupo", one of the most beautiful pieces in this collection; an aching piano melody drifts through a haze of dust motes and ghostly strings, revealing a stunning piece of instrumental moodiness that moves from ghastly graveyard jazz into something that sounds like the prettiest thing that Fabio Frizzi never recorded. And on the final side, the mysterious Night Worship billow out across a vast empty expanse with a fog of nocturnal jazziness, trombones smeared into distant peals, voices dissolving into a haunting choral mist, everything rising in waves of sinister jazz-murk, like the sound of angelic swarms tumbling in slow motion into a distant black hole.

     Limited to two hundred copies.


Track Samples:
Sample : VARIOUS ARTISTS-Frozen In Time II: Music To Accompany The Films Of Ingmar Bergman
Sample : VARIOUS ARTISTS-Frozen In Time II: Music To Accompany The Films Of Ingmar Bergman
Sample : VARIOUS ARTISTS-Frozen In Time II: Music To Accompany The Films Of Ingmar Bergman
Sample : VARIOUS ARTISTS-Frozen In Time II: Music To Accompany The Films Of Ingmar Bergman
Sample : VARIOUS ARTISTS-Frozen In Time II: Music To Accompany The Films Of Ingmar Bergman
Sample : VARIOUS ARTISTS-Frozen In Time II: Music To Accompany The Films Of Ingmar Bergman