Well I did say, when I first set up NMC, that all styles and genres would be welcome and after yesterday’s bright and bubbly Swedish dream pop I can’t think of a better antidote than a bit of ambient/drone music from across the Øresund. Except that ‘Phantasm’ amounts to a lot more than just ‘a bit’. It’s heavy duty, industrial, highly charged and atmospheric noise which you’ll either love or hate, there are no in-betweens.
Amphior (Mathias Hammerstrøm) released the album ‘Another Presence,’ his third, on February 28th and he says of it that the album was made during the long Covid-19 lockdown in 2020, describing it as a strange vacuum of feeling lonely and isolated and that he doesn’t think he’s ever produced anything that feels this ominously otherworldly yet strangely comforting at the same time.
If ‘Phantasm’ is a valid statement of the album as a whole I can see where he’s coming from.
The mumbling background voices early on, seemingly chanting some obscure religious mantra, are suggestive of a Dan Brown book/movie while the more ambient parts immediately conjured up – for me – images of some of the final scenes in 2001 – A Space Odyssey.
Alternatively, imagine yourself on one of those fairground horror movie rides where Michael Myers, Freddie Krueger and Jason Voorhees are waiting for you around every corner.
Or better still, The Tall Man, the main protagonist of the Phantasm series of horror films. Now there’s a coincidence. Or is it?
And that, put simply, is the beauty of what he does. He creates images in your mind through music.
You won’t be tapping your feet to it. Unless you’re shaking so much that you can’t help yourself…
Mathias says his creative flow is fluid and intuitive and that he never knows where he is going or what the end result will be. Of more concern is that he becomes so immersed in his work that there’s “a strange bending effect of time, where it seems to alter a bit.”
That’s all getting a little too heavy for me so pardon me while I give it another listen and see if I end up in a parallel universe.
‘Phantasm’ and ‘Another Presence’ are both out now on Glacial Movements, an Italian record label “specialising in ambient and electronic arctic soundscapes.” He says the album is “Best played with dimmed lights at night.” And with that I’ll say goodnight.
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