Michael Idehall

Michael Idehall – Recapitulation (2021)

Even though I follow Idehall on different platforms, all these nifty algorithms did not bring “Recapitulation” to my attention. It was actually because I noticed a ‘profile’ picture on Spotify that I did not recognise that I noticed a new release.

I guess it happens more often that I do not hear of a new Idehall. The present title suggests a looking back at previous releases, but to my surprise there are several tracks that do not sound familiar. Indeed all tracks have been released before. On “Marax” for example, but also on releases that I missed such as “Blood Poison” and “Crowned Fool”.

“Recapitulation” opens with the slightly martial industrial sounding “Bull King” (from “Marax”). Most of the other tracks are in the more dirty, yet ritualistic, industrial side of Idehall. Sometimes somewhat noisy, sometimes leaning a bit towards techno. All tracks are nicely dark and mostly with Idehall’s repetitive vocals. The album is again pretty damn good.

So not only labels cannot keep up with Idehall (see my “War Magic” review), but I myself have to find a way to not have to find a new release by accident.

In any case, I do not know if “Recapitulation” is only available on Spotify, but also through other channels, but it is again highly recommended.

Link: Michael Idehall

Michael Idehall – War Magic (2021)

Hello! It has been a terrible year for everyone so let’s just move on. Here is my latest full-length album. I hope you enjoy it

These were the words with which I received a promo of “War Magic”. Idehall already had some more dirty, industrial tracks and the frustration that appear in these words suggest that “War Magic” would be such a release. Indeed it it!

“War Magic” is not as noisy as Idehall can get, but the approach is more industrial than on some of his other albums. Rhythmic hums give an industrial feel. Idehall’s repetitive lyrics and drumming the ritual feel that we know this project for. Ad some extra noises and you have an idea of the sound of “War Magic”. Some tracks are more ambient, but not as soundscapish as some of Idehall’s releases.

“War Magic” is excellent, it has great tracks such as “High Honeycomb Way” which is a wonderful darkly ritual industrial track. Most other tracks can also be described as ritual industrial, but more to the ambient side.

Now comes the weird part. “War Magic” has not yet been officially released! There are other “self released” releases listed in Discogs. That is not because Idehall likes to record music and send it around, but because he apparently works faster than labels can manage. I cannot imagine that there are no labels out there that would love to release material of the unique and productive Michael Idehall. Perhaps we could help with that spreading the word?

Link: Michael Idehall

Michael Idehall – Marax (2019)

Discogs.com

A digital release for selected people, but since the release is listed on Discogs, its existence is hardly a secret, so I will just let you know that I am very pleased with this release!

I have said it numerous times, Idehall releases soundscapes and more ritual industrial albums. There was just one of these soundscapes on Belzebez, which is (as was to be expected) not my thing. On “Marax” however, Idehall takes a couple of noisy steps in his ritualistic industrial style and the result is great! Vocals, repetitive rhythms, repetitive texts and then layered with distorted sounds giving some tracks a noisy feel, perhaps even more than in some previous tracks with this approach.

“Marax” is only 27 minutes, and as I said, a digital only release with a limited distribution, but I sure hope that this direction will find its way to a regularly released full-length. Become a patreon for your copy, click the link below.

Link: Michael Idehall

Michael Idehall ‎– Aion Reborn (mc 2018)

This is not Michael Idehall’s first tape on Raubbau. Here we have a 41 minute tape which regarding style holds the middle between the more soundscapish and the more ritualistic style of Idehall.

I have said something similar about several previous releases, so I just might accept that this is Idehall’s style.

That said, I really like the analogously humming opening soundscape. After this follow tracks which often have the more rhythm-driven style and usually with vocals, but not as dirty as on “No Man’s Land” and not as ‘pompous’ as on “Deep Code”. The tracks are fairly dark and minimalist. Very good to read by!

Links: Michael Idehall, Raubbau

Michael Idehall ‎– Prophecies Of The Storm (2018)

When I reviewed “Machine Spirit Transmission” earlier this month, I said that an album on Ant-Zen was forthcoming. Well, here it is! That other album has Idehall’s wonderful dark ritualistic style, but also the more soundscapish side of the project that is not entirely my thing. “Prophecies Of The Storm” opens somewhat uncommon, a bit IDM-ish. That is not too strange though, since Idehall used to make IDM-like music and elements of this style can be found in his music every now and then. The opening track goes over in a more recognisable approach, but not too typical and pretty damn good. The second track is even greater. It is again a developed Idehall track with the known elements of Michael’s voice, a defining rhythm and repetition, but the details on the background and the noisy tones in this track make it another great one.

“Prophecies Of The Storm” contains but small surprises. It is a logical development of Idehall’s style that I like most. The repetitive lyrics are there, the simple yet effective rhythms, together giving a ritualistic feel to the relatively soft industrial. Even though I find Idehall’s music quite unique, my girlfriend asked if I was playing Coph Nia. The link is not too weird. Both projects come from Sweden and have an occultist / ritualistic approach to industrial music. Coph Nia mostly leans towards the dark ambient side (but with industrial elements) and Idehall to a more rhythmical approach with ambient elements (and soundscapes in ‘the other style’), but both projects have clearly different sounds.

The newest album is not as dark in sound as the opening tracks of “Machine Spirit Transmissions”, but perhaps it is fairer to say that “Prophecies Of The Storm” sounds dark in another way. It is another great album and this time there are no tracks in the style that I like less. So, if you like albums suc as “Deep Code”, “Sol” and (to a slightly lesser extend) “Solar Symmetries”, you will not go bad with Idehall’s latest.

Links: Michael Idehall, Ant-Zen

Michael Idehall ‎- Machine Spirit Transmission (mc 2017)

So how could I miss the latest Idehall until he informed me about it himself? “Machine Spirit Transmission” is a tape on Raubbau, but it is also available on Spotify and I believe I noticed it there, but forgot to listen to it (or something)… And when I look at Discogs, there are more releases that I missed!

Now Idehall is a bit ‘difficult’ to me. He has great ritualistic industrial tracks in a unique style that I love, but also more soundscapish tracks / albums that do not really ‘work for me’. When I put on this release, I expected it to be of the soundscapish type and that I only skipped through and forgot about it. This is not true though. Not entirely at least.

The album opens with a dark and noisy “Opening” with Idehall’s voice. It is obviously Idehall, but slightly different. Then we go to the great “Ma Kra Oum Ka Bra Nha” which also appears to be Idehall in a somewhat more industrial mood. “Power Mantra” is a very good, somewhat more typical track with a slow rhythm and vocals. Then one more great track and then the style starts to change. “The Singing Of Machines” is a dark and slightly noisy soundscape, not bad at all. After this come more ambient tracks which are somewhat dark, not all that bad, but not too interesting to me either. Particularly the 17 minute closing track is not really my cup of tea.

So about half of this album is great and the other half is descent or alright.

There is an album forthcoming on Ant-Zen by the way.

Links: Michael Idehall, Raubbau

Michael Idehall * Solar Symmetries (2016)

This album showed up in my Deezer “hear this”. It appeared to be a remix album and now I see that there is no physical version of this release. That is not too bad, because even though “Solar Symmetries” is nice, it is not a ‘must-buy’.

Remixes by known and new (to me) projects, a couple of doubles in chosen tracks and usually the remixes come nowhere near the original versions, a few exceptions notwithstanding, the tracks of Hadewych and Alvar.

Links: Michael Idehall, Ant-Zen

Michael Idehall * Retort Redux (12″ 2015)

I heard about this lp, but because I wanted to wait until I had more things to order, I was a bit late to get myself one of the 150 copies. Only when I got the lp I noticed that there is also an lp + cd version (limited to 50 copies)…

The label :retortae: presents the lp as a “greatest hits” “as well as two tracks not available on any physical matter before and one track which is totally new.” Indeed, most tracks can be found on “Sol” and “Deep Code”. Side A closes with a magnificent track called “Saturnalia” that has been previously released on an mp3 compilation called “Ljudkalendern”. That makes the opening track of side B (“Revelation”), the new track. A very good track as well. … There is another track on side B that I did not know, the rather industrial-sounding “You Are Beyond” which would have fitted well on “No Man’s Land”.
Should you be able to lay your hands on the version with the cd, there are five more tracks. Two of them were previously available on the soundscape “Svartkonster”, one on “Sol” (but then remixed) and two tracks are new. Damn! Or would the tracks on the cd all have the soundscape-style?

The sleeve of the lp does not have a whole lot of information. There is a snake on the back that I have had on my arm for a few decades, but for the rest there are just hard-to-read titles and an artistic and minimalistic cover, but the world wide web is able to provide some more information.

“Retort Redux” indeed is some sort of ‘greatest hits’ and the tracks that were new to me are certainly great too. It is an investment for just three tracks though, so I guess this lp is mostly meant for Idehall collectors.

Links: Michael Idehall, :retortae:

Michael Idehall * No Man’s Land (cd 2016)

A new Idehall. Would it be a ritualistic soundscape or more in the vein of “Sol” and “Deep Code”? Since it is released by Ant-Zen (in collaboration with Beläten), who also released the two named releases together on one disc, I had hopes for the latter. This is not entirely true though.

“No Man’s Land” in one way holds the middle between the soundscape style and the other style of Idehall, but it actually presents something new as well, a development of style, because the music is still recognisable as coming from Michael Idehall. The sound is still ritualistic and somewhat dark, but it got more of a dirty, industrial touch with squaks, noises and rhythm. Sometimes the music is downright noisy. This new sound is good too.

The album opens with a ‘noisescape’ type of track, but the second track “Yoni” has more of the “Sol”/”Deep Code” style with Idehall’s mantra-like singing and a repetative rhythm. What follows next sounds a bit like a very dark IDM track with an odd rhythm, a very interesting track. The title track is a bit like the previous, again relatively tranquil. Then follows a bit of a dark space ambient track with a ‘spacey rhythm’ and ‘spacey sounds’. The next track is actually called “Deep Code” and is again a somewhat softer track with echoing voices and a bit of a spacey ambient sound. Next up is the highlight of the album. “Nightmare” is a brilliant industrial and noisey track with a bit more tempo and distorted vocals. The next tracks are mostly industrial ambient type of tracks with the Idehall-style ritualistic darkness. There are two more rhythmical tracks. Compared to the first half, the second seems a bit less dark.

I think this album may appeal to people who like ritualistic dark ambient with an industrial and noisy edge, perhaps it is not unfair to drop the name of Coph Nia who also uses a ritualistic and magical dark ambient style, but the result is different from Idehall though and Coph Nia rarely gets as dirty as Idehall on this album. When you like Idehall’s previous releases, you should certainly listen to this new one. Be warned that it is a little different though. Personally I still prefer “Deep Code”, but I also enjoy this new album quite a bit. It has a couple of great tracks and a bunch of good ones.

Links: Michael Idehall, Ant-Zen, Beläten

Amalthea * s/t (mc 2015)

Amalthea is Michael Idehall and Æther. Beläten released material of both projects and there is a message of Thomas Ekelund to accompany this cassette, but this self-titled tape was released by a label that is new to me (even though they released a tape with Trepaneringsritualen).

Well then. Michael Idehall records both material that I adore and more monotous ritualistic material that I like less. Æther is also a bit too monotous for my ears and yet I read that the split is somewhat noisy. That is not really the case on side A. The two tracks are soundscapes, mostly with an ‘industrial pulse’. The tracks are nicely dark, perhaps not brilliant but nice to listen to.
The two tracks on side B are indeed quite a bit noisier. They still have the slow rhythm, making what I call ‘noisescapes’. These two tracks are the more interesting of this tape to me.

A descent tape for background music. For people who like dark, slightly industrial and ritualistic ambient.

Links: Michael Idehall, Æther