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Michael Idehall

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

Michael Idehall ‎* Deep Code Sol (cd 2015)

All material has been reviewed before, but this of Idehall is so good that I want to bring it under your attention again now that Ant-Zen put both Beläten tapes on one very nicely packaged cd.

The “Sol” tape has been rereleased before with two extra tracks. These are (unfortunately) not included on this Ant-Zen release. The cd starts with the 2014 tape “Deep Code” and then follows the 2012 tape “Sol”. Idehall also makes ritualistic soundscapes which are too minimalistic for my taste, but the music he recorded for Beläten is about the best music I have heard in quite a while. The sound is somewhere between the “angstpop” sound of other Beläten releases and more ritualistic music. Idehall uses his voice a lot, making an impression like that of the earlier material of Coph Nia; dark, chanting, haunting: brilliant!

Should you have missed the Beläten tapes, the Bandcamp versions or the “Sol” rerelease on cd, make sure to get this beautiful version of Ant-Zen.

Links: Michael Idehall, Ant-Zen

Michael Idehall ‎* Svartkonster (mc 2014)

The ‘new’ Idehall is less interesting than the two earlier releases. This could be because Discogs may have only listed “Sol”, “Deep Code” and “Svartkonster”, but the material for this last release may not be the last recorded. According to Beläten: “Awhile back Idehall premiered a bunch of new tracks at Repartiseraren. We can now offer these, as well as a handful or remixes of older material for digital purchase.” Besides the Bandcamp release, there are also 23 physical copies.

“Svartkonster” is more noisy and more industrial than the sound that I knew of Idehall. Other tracks are more ambient and by the use of vocals they remind me somewhat of Coph Nia. Things get interesting when the more ritualistic approach bubbles up. If this material indeed predates “Sol”, this is a nice archival release showing the development of this extremely interesting project. If the material is from between “Sol” and “Deep Code” it is a still enjoyable release, but still the least of the three.

Since Idehall’s music is some of the best that I heard of late, I suggest you to just get “Svartkonster” because even while the other releaes are better, “Svartkonster” is still very good!

Links: Michael Idehall, Beläten

Michael Idehall * Sol (extended) (cd 2014)

The first version of this album was a tape on Beläten. Two years after the initial release the album is slightly extended and rereleased by a sublabel of Cat’s Heaven / VUZ Records. The package is not great. A photocopied A5 booklet with the cd pasted in.

The extension are two tracks put before the original release. The opening track now is a slightly monotous, ritualistic soundscape of 9:29 minutes. The other new tracks is a great and dark piece of noisy ritual music. Then follow the tracks of the wonderfull debut of Idehall. Sometimes somewhat ambient, at other times more industrial or angstpop and always nicely dark. Idehall’s voice definately sets the sound of this project.

Truely a great release. The second release is even better, but when you, like me, missed the physical debut, here is your chance to get it on cd. Be quick though, there are only 111 copies.

Links: Michael Idehall, Bastet Recordings

Michael Idehall‎ * Deep Code (mc 2014)

“Deep Code” is Idehall’s second album, the debut was also released on Beläten. “Deep Code” is close to a masterpiece! There are tracks that can match the best tracks on Galakthorrö! Idehall’s style is not entirely comparable to ‘the Galakthorrö sound’, but he would fit very well within the roster. Idehall makes something that I would describe as “angstpop”. Slow, dark, industrial; not entirely unlikely some tracks of Herz Jühning. In some tracks Idehall sings which makes a wonderfull combination between dark electronics and his voice.
The sound is not too easy to describe, but the comparison I keep making works upto a certain degree. Make sure to listen to the tracks on the label’s Bandcamp. When I write this, there seem to be physical copies available, otherwise you can always buy a download.
The latest release of Beläten has 7 masterpieces and one not-too-good track. Get it!
Links: Michael Idehall, Beläten