Sven Laux and Daniela Orvin – The Writings


E-bows, hiss and caves. Harmonics and distant choral drones. Swelling and filtering – but this record isn’t a ‘stick on some nice ambient while I get the aromatherapy oils out.’

The distant crashing of waves arrives in the guise of pink noise, entering and departing the field. This static disassociates the record from a new-age massage room and sets the course for something with more gravitas with penetrating classical moments.

Ten minutes in and I’m comfortably visualising a series of 4k sequences around Arctic circle vistas, and that’s a good thing. Some of the upper register can be a bit bright at times but it’s a very minor gripe.

Mechanical sequences of a factory – all steam engines, and whirring SFX work (or processed field recordings) conspire to make – for this reviewer – a visualisation of where clouds are made and packaged in boxes!

In the next track, those boxes have been opened, and the strings are generally lush and well considered – and the sound is not unlike the nostalgic warmth that the Waldorf Streichfett synth produces (google it). Daniela’s restrained piano work is about the gaps between the notes and I’m keen to know how the dialogue went between the two artists.

Next, some lovely organ chord progressions with a memories of a Tannoy announcement. Static from a shellac record crackles not unlike a Leyland Kirby record. This is a lovely moment on the piece. It’s like a requiem to a lost Mars rover.

Then, it all goes momentarily John Carpenter and it’s a nice shift. Really nice. Quite a complex moment of off-script associations. We are now in Nordic crime territory.

The Writings track sees the pair explore planetary surfaces (and interior alignments) in an expedition Shackleton would be proud of. It’s pretty much a strings and delicate piano call-and-response here, but it brings back earlier refrains, echoing the start of the CD.

There’s a kind of climax towards the end of the disc of shrill strings and synth pads – which, it has to be said are handled really well (but watch that top end!), before the album draws to a soft warm close. It reminded me of the soundtrack to the film Baraka a little as music faded.

Out on Dronarivum [DR 59] April 12th 2019