Tone 37 - Nana April Jun "The Ontology of Noise"

5 Tracks - CD - 36:40


Tracklist

1. The One Substance
2. Process Philosophy
3. Space-Time Continuum
4. Semantic Shift
5. Sun Wind Darkness Eye


Reviews

Touching Extremes (Italy):

Even before perusing the cover and the press release I had instinctively associated the materials heard in The Ontology Of Noise to names such as Carl Michael Von Hausswolff, Leif Elggren and Kent Tankred; in fact, Annika Von Hausswolff is thanked by the composer, a Swedish himself (born as Christofer Lämgren) who adopts various monikers including, of course, Nana April Jun. Another term of comparison for these soundscapes might be KTL, if only for the stretching occlusive resonances and prohibitory reverberations obtained through computerized means exclusively, without inputs from actual instruments. NAJ calls these tracks “single streams which change intuitively”, associating parts of them with natural phenomena. There’s a truth to those words: take for example “Space – Time Continuum”, literally sounding like a sandstorm corroborated by some kind of hollow echo in the background. You should not look for definitive affirmations in the 36 minutes plus of this sternly impressive disc, though: the aural matter is malleable and inflexible at one and the same time, prepotency and mysterious poetry alternated in a knowledgeable manipulation of mainly toneless, overcast gradations which seem to announce explosions of brutality that never materialize entirely. The final “Sun Wind Darkness Eye” leaves us in the company of a mechanical sort of fast-paced heartbeat, as to remind that a man sits behind these bleak scenarios, whose cathartic potential is indubitable, at least until the whole ends abruptly. I’ll pretend to forget that the record “researches the dark associations of post-black metal”. Being more explicit, who cares?

Sun Hammer Pounding

The Year in Ambient 2009:

Touch also released a full-length by Nana April Jun – a nom de plume of visual and sound artist Christofer Lämgren – the challenging The Ontology of Noise. This is a pretty unique release in the world of ambient as it was based almost entirely around digital colored noise without really constituting a “noise” album per se. Far from the blatant assaults of Merzbow, Peter Rehberg or John Weise, Lämgren was more interested in exploring not only the more natural occurrences of noise, but on a conceptual level the implications of “post-black metal,” something that happened to be, independently of Nana April Jun, another of my micro-fascinations of 2009. The misanthropic, desperate and hopeless sentiment that penetrates black metal and the impossibly heavy feeling it invokes, the thematic throwback to Norway’s Viking past in music and imagery: all of this fills me with a sense of mystery that is at the same time pervaded with a vague familiarity. Even though I cannot sympathize with the strong anti-religious motifs and certain racial ideologies held by some of the musicians, there is some part of my psyche that is drawn to the dark, shadowy characteristics of the music and the timeless qualities it carries. Perhaps the same goes for Lämgren (he is after all from Sweden, a major hub of black metal); though many music writers missed it, the lo-fi, noisy and oppressive guitar-driven atmospherics of Burzum’s magnum opus Filosofem cited as a major point of departure is to me easily apparent in his record (one can almost hear bits of “Erblicket Die Töchter Des Firmaments” in “The One Substance”), and begs further artists to explore in this dark sub-genre.

The Ontology of Noise sets itself apart in a few other ways as well. First, Lämgren composed the album entirely digitally, without the use of one traditional instrument. This in itself is not so remarkable – after all, the music Touch releases is generally “computer music” – but what is unique is the fact that multi-tracking was kept to a minimum, allowing each wave of noise and each swelling tone to manifest spontaneously from the composer’s intuition. This free-form approach requires an unwavering discipline, as modern editing software allows the control-obsessed perfectionist to have precise control over the most miniscule of details. To compose – or improvise – an album of such rich conceptual content and such interesting musical ideas is quite a feat. Again, Touch has maintained its high standard of recruiting artists with unique visions and releasing their work with a similarly high level of discretion.

Junkmedia (USA):

I asked Christofer Lämgren—the man responsible for Nana April Jun—to clarify the title of his album a couple of days ago. He hasn't answered yet but I suspect that he would answer in a reserved and humble fashion that, "No, this isn't the ontology of noise, I just thought it sounded like a nice name for the album." Even if that were not the case, it's better not to spend too much time thinking about how this offering might contribute to a more complete ontological understanding of "noise." Frankly, that's too analytical for this meandering collection of striking run-on sentences sadly cut short. Instead, let us contemplate the noise of Nana April Jun.

Much of the "instrumentation" on Ontology of Noise seems to be inspired by electronic machinery humming thoughtlessly in the silent night like the slight pierce of a muted television behind closed doors or the static hum of a light bulb high up in a street lamp. Indeed, Ontology of Noise is a purely digital exercise lacking the use of even one traditional instrument. The orchestration of these white artifacts of noise is brilliantly conceived and sometimes even frightening in its coordination of the sounds and shapes of mechanical equipment.

"The one substance" opens the album slowly, a minor revolution evolving into a homage to "the dark associations of post-black metal," as the liner notes suggest. The mechanization of noise is slowly massaged with a increasingly slight application of pressure into a resemblance of an electric guitar blaring at regular audible intervals, and just as soon as we seem to be getting somewhere, the song ends. "Process philosophy" plays a similar trick, as the layering of a drone upon the wails of a computer malfunctioning or perhaps a lost satellite connection is shut off unexpectedly at the seven minute mark. These abrupt finishes are jolting, to say the least.

"Space-time continuum" seems to have an inkling of trauma induced by jarring conclusions that send ocean waves full of static lapping through the speakers. Subtle pricks of digital needles approach the periphery of the washed-out soundscape but are intently engulfed in the pure mass of shape emanating from the ocean of noise. Nana April Jun shows an astute perspicacity for the spatial relationship between sounds and objects. It seems implicit that each cacophonic emanation possesses certain physical properties that bear consideration in arrangement so as to prevent unsightly collisions between aural masses. A natural yet unpredictable progression is always within grasp, and Nana April Jun does well to reach those plateaus.

"Semantic shift" drifts longingly and stops almost offensively, just past the three minute mark. It is at this point that one must wonder, "Is Nana April Jun a tease?" Closing with "Sun wind darkness eye," Ontology of Noise collapses onto itself, pulling electricity directly from the air until igniting the beating heart of electronica. And this pulsing pulses until the bitter, arbitrary end.

With the exception of the middle track, “Space-time Continuum,” all of the songs onThe Ontology of Noise seem to end at random. The structure and development of each song tends to suggest a grand, over arching ambition. Indeed, something called The Ontology of Noise would inevitably strive to achieve great feats. Unfortunately, the brevity and abrupt endings to many of the songs limits the degree to which Nana April Jun is successful in this endeavor leaving us instead with run-on sentences that are sadly chopped in half. [Jason Spidl]

Disquiet (USA):

Listen in quick succession at least twice through — not just to, but through — the relatively brief (just over three minutes) track “The One Substance” off The Ontology of Noise (MP3), released earlier this year on the record label Touch. It’s an exemplary opportunity to hear how quickly a series of repeated listens can make even the simplest of noises come to life. At first, the track, composed and performed by Nana April Jun, may come across very much as just one of those soft-to-loud studies in dynamics: the ear responds to the shift from quietude to overwhelming volume in a way that emphasizes the distinctions between the two, and masks the detail in either end of the spectrum.

The piece opens with quiet static that slowly takes on a lush feel. A small sliver of high-pitched sound comes to the fore, followed by another rising element, this time a ring of undulation that sets in motion several iterations of waves upon waves, before settling down for a moment. Then comes a hearty bellows of white noise, something like the histrionic drama of some classic prog-rock song (Nana April Jun has posited Ontology of Noise as a kind of consideration of black metal), albeit played entirely in a palette of hisses.

Well, that’s not quite what it sounds like the first time ’round. At first it’s just haze, then wave form, then static. Only in time and with attention does the variation within the track make itself present, if not entirely self-evident.

Nana April Jun is a pseudonym of Christofer Lämgren, who is based in Malmö, Sweden. More on Jun/Lämgren at nanaapriljun.com. [Marc Weidenbaum]

Paris Transatlantic (France):

"The Ontology of Noise researches the dark associations of post-black metal," states the brief liner note bluntly, before announcing proudly that "no traditional instruments were used [..] and all technologies are digital in their application." Well, it is on Touch, so it's not as if I was expecting an album of unaccompanied banjo music or something. A little clarification is in order: 1) Nana April Jun is the nom de scène (nom de plume? nom de souris?) of Christofer Lämgren, who hails from Gothenburg, Sweden, which might explain the fondness for metal. (Funny, I thought Gothenburg was more associated with death metal than black metal.. and what is post-black metal? Not that it matters, because I've never understood the attraction of either to be honest.) 2) My online dictionary defines ontology as 'the branch of metaphysics that studies the nature of existence or being as such", but it's also widely used in computer science (have a read at this over your cornflakes: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ontology_(computer_science)). 3) Despite the pretentious album title this is one of the most convincing and beautifully executed albums to come my way all year. Lämgren's ear for detail is as good as his feel for overall shape. It's grey, cold and austere (like Gothenburg, actually) and certainly on a par with the best offerings of Francisco López and Mika Vainio, both of whom are namechecked on the Touch website. The closing track, "Sun Wind Darkness Eye", is particularly masterly, building impressively before slipping into Gas-like pulse. Forget the black metal association (especially the album Lämgren himself mentions; Burzum's Filosofem, which is simply fucking awful) and check out one of the most accomplished releases of electronic music this year. [DW]

Popmatters (USA):

Gothenburg, Sweden-based artist, Nana April Jun, is the alias of Christofer Lämgren, an art world renaissance man and editor at Swedish art magazine YKKY, as well as a noteworthy visual artist. Ontology of Noise is his debut recording, and it fits comfortably among his minimalist peers on the Touch label. The album explores manipulation of digital sources that create single-layered dark, static landscapes that have more in common with everyday sounds and atmospheres, than processed noises. But this could quite possibly be the statement Lämgren is trying to make. Ontology is the branch of metaphysics dealing with the nature of being, and these explorations in sound have an immense amount of commentary on our current states of being. The way we operate is constantly in a state of flux due to the advancements in technology that are made every year. We are constantly finding ways to imitate what we did once by hand with technology. Ontology of Noise is a valid representation of that, replacing the sounds that exist in our human nature with a digital illustration in its absolute purest form. [John Bohannon]

Decibel Magazine (US):

Touch is a boutique label from England that specializes in ambient and experimental music. One of its recent releases, Nana April Jun’s The Ontology of Noise, would be typical of the label’s output were it not for the liner notes. According to Nana April Jun’s Christofer Lämgren, the purpose of the album is to research “the dark associations of post-black metal.” This will likely set off many a BS detector. But, meaninglessness aside, the quote —along with the PR kicker, “Fans of Burzum’s Filosofem take note” — raises a reasonable question. If atmosphere is all that distinguishes black metal from other types of metal, then why can’t you make black metal that’s nothing but atmosphere?

Lämgren doesn´t seem to be claiming the mantle of black metal artist. Otherwise, why would he refer to the music as "post-black metal"? But he is working in a darker fringe than most of the folks on the Touch roster. Even Lawrence English's 2008 concept album about fog, Kiri No Oto, has a much lighter touch (no pun intended) than The Ontology of Noise. And about the title - noise fans probably shouldn´t take note. Aside from a few moments of Ryoji Ikeda-style headfuck, there's really nothing here that's as spicy as a noisenik might expect. Is this a dishonest release? Not really. It´s just situated between black metal and the kind of white noise that helps you fall asleep. For some that's noise. For others it´s bliss. 8/10

Brainwashed (USA):

Christofer Lambgren's premire full length release under the guise of the Nana April Jun persona "researches the dark associations of post-black metal," and references the Burzum album Filosofem, which revolutionized the genre by including an extended inwardly reflective keyboard piece. Using purely digital means Nana April Jun has created a sound world that gives a sense of having succumb to the numb isolation of a person who has long been institutionalized, not unlike the patron saint of black metal himself, Varg Vikernes.

As the songs are purely digital creations it is tempting to try and imagine what analogous forms the sounds might correspond to in the natural world. The study of correspondences between various categories and classifications of being is considered an art form among alchemists, and themes of alchemy, metamorphosis and perception form a perennial thread spun through the course of the album. For Nana April Jun the studio has become a laboratory where the principles of art and science that make up the Great Work can be tested and applied, and by bringing the scientific method to bear he underpins the five pieces with a quality of clinical detachment.

“The One Substance” is one of the shortest songs on the disc, making it a more simple matter to notice the acute changes in dynamics and sonority that occur over the course of its three+ minutes. An oscillating beam of supercharged particles radiates out from the opening silence as microscopic loops of tight knit feedback swim back and forth between the speakers before gradually fading to a low whine. Digital signals are then transformed into menacing open chord guitar strums that leave me feeling jarred. These chords repeat, gradually fading over a resonant abyss. “Space-Time Continuum” evokes the howling wind of the arctic north. Heavy gales of rain are heard splattering across the pavement; waves crash on a rocky beach at high tide. At least that is what my brain imposes on these auditory abstractions. This song is very soothing and meditative, and well placed as the bookends on either side are unnerving. “Sun Wind Darkness Eye” starts with a low rumble augmented by a slow fizz of white noise. Together these two sounds swirl around each other as if they were vapors bubbling up from an alembic. When the low-end bass thumps arrive, I am driven into a trance state through the process of entrainment, and the other sounds are buried in its wake.

With noise as a focal point for philosophical inquiry, this album finds its perfect home on the Touch label. This won’t be something I keep in my player for weeks on end yet I will come back to it when a mood conducive for the darker side of solitary introspection is required. [Justin Patrick]

Fact (UK) mentions the album in a feature on the release of Varg Vikernes here

Aquarius (USA):

It's probably no surprise that we were intrigued when we first heard about this disc, after all the press release claims that it "researches the dark associations of post-black metal". And they go on to recommend it to fans of Burzum's masterpiece Filosofem! However, it must be the ambient aspects of Filosofem they're referencing, as you'll find no true frosty guitar buzz here, instead this is a purely digital, all-electronic album released by the UK's ever-reliable, experimental Touch label, home to the likes of Fennesz, Philip Jeck, BJNilsen, Chris Watson, and others. Intriguing, eh?

Of course, if we hadn't read that press release, we might never have related this to anything black metal at all, but we'd still like it. It's a very pleasant and varied dronological document, suggestive of field recordings, even though all these sounds are abstract ones, mostly realized inside a computer. There's passages that seem like buzzing insect swarms ("Process Philosophy"), or lashings of wind and rain ("Space-Time Continuum"), or Tibetan temple bells ("Semantic Shift"), or the gentle swaying of leaves and branches in a breeze ("Sun Wind Darkness Eye"). That particular track goes on to generate a mysterious low, soft hum, eventually accompanied by a beating electronic pulse, like much of the minimal techno we enjoy...

It's all quite evocative and lovely, although now that we think about it, some of these sounds could also be, like, cold winds blowing across frozen fjords, or sinister rumblings heard inside a subterranean crypt... And who knows, perhaps Nana April Jun (aka Christofer Lamgren), who hails from Sweden, wears corpsepaint whilst working with his digital tools. Probably not, though, since the majority of the text we read pertaining to this release was on the academic side of things. And although discussions of subjects like "the ontology of noise" and other psuedo-intellectual concepts can be a mite pretentious, regardless of that, all the whooshing, hissing, droning here is very good listening indeed.

Boomkat (UK):

Nana April Jun is a pseudonym of Swedish visual artist and composer Christofer Lamgren, who devised this album as a vehicle for exploring all-digital noise timbres as continuous, evolving streams. Significantly, Lamgren avoids multitracking and conventional principles of arrangement, instead favouring a kind of 'noise solo' approach. At times the sounds on the album mimic naturally occurring phenomena, and during 'Sun Wind Darkness Eye' you'd swear to hearing the rush of air currents, while certain phases of 'Process Philosophy' suggest traffic in motion. The Ontology Of Noise is certainly one of the more cerebral and contemplative entries into the genre, side-stepping the more frenzied, energetic extremities that tend to come hand-in-hand with extreme electronics. You might compare the particular brand of primal, uncompromising signal transformations on show here to the more abstract works of Mika Vainio, or perhaps Francisco Lopez, and the quality on show here certainly matches the standards of work committed by those two artists.

NonPop (Germany):

CHRISTOFER LÄMGREN liebt skandinavischen Black Metal. Das überrascht auf den ersten Blick, da er selbst ausschließlich elektronische Soundfrickeleien produziert. LÄMGREN ist einer der vielen, auf der ganzen Welt wie Pilze aus dem Boden schießenden jungen Multimedia-Künstler, deren Output in der Regel aus einer Mischung von elektronischen Klängen, Fotos, Videos und Text besteht, nicht immer alles gleichzeitig natürlich. Der 34jährige Schwede lebt in Göteborg und arbeitet dort unter anderem als Herausgeber des Kunstmagazins YKKY, einer übergroßen Zeitschrift im A3-Format, die sich in der kommenden, dritten Ausgabe zum Beispiel ARVO PÄRT widmet. Unter dem Pseudonym JEANNE IKEDA hat er schon einige Noisestücke veröffentlicht, wohl in Anlehnung an den japanischen Klangkünstler RYOJI IKEDA, um den sich YKKY #3 ebenfalls kümmert.

Der Name NANA APRIL JUN ist neu und "The Ontology Of Noise" somit ein Debüt mit einem viele Erwartungen weckenden Titel. Eine Ontologie, eine Seinslehre des Noise soll es sein. Etwas flapsiger formuliert: Mal zeigen, was Noise so alles leisten kann. Die selbst gewählte Versuchsanordnung von LÄMGREN lautet, dass sich alles elektronisch Erzeugte auf diesem Album atmosphärisch so nah wie möglich an Black Metal bewegen soll. Zum einen wird das über die Simulation eines Instruments erreicht: Viele Sounds steigern sich zur Kakophonie, die wie das kreischende Blatt einer Kreissäge tatsächlich an den zerstörerischen Sound von Black Metal-Gitarren erinnern kann. Zum anderen bekommt die Naturnähe und -liebe, die gerade viele skandinavische Black Metal-Musiker prägt, ihren Raum.

Zum Auftakt schafft dunkles Rauschen eine unheimliche, gleichförmige Grundstimmung, die nach ungefähr zwei Minuten von einer ersten Kreissäge zerrissen wird. Diese düstere, zerrende Wand schält sich im Verlauf der CD immer wieder aus all den Geräuschen und ähnelt in verschiedenen Variationen, etwa als Drone, tatsächlich verblüffend einer E-Gitarre. Im Großen und Ganzen weist "Ontology..." keine Arrangements, keine Strukturen auf. Ein Strom aus Rauschen fließt mit dezenten Veränderungen durch einen Tunnel voller Leere, nur unterbrochen vom fiesen Sägeblatt oder diversen Rückkopplungen. Das dritte Stück ist offenbar der Natur gewidmet, sehr organische Sounds ahmen Wind und Regen nach, die Einsamkeit großer, abweisender Wälder stellt sich ein. Zum Ausruhen dröhnt einige Minuten lang der angenehme Ton eines Glockenschlages, bevor im großen Finale ganze Rauschbündel in Wellen anrollen.

"The Ontology Of Noise" ist durchaus interessant - wenn man die knapp 37 Minuten Geräusch als Experiment betrachtet und nach Momenten sucht, die eine Nähe zum Black Metal schaffen. Davon gibt es einige, und wie klar sich aus dem Noise phasenweise eine verzerrte Gitarre formt, überrascht immer wieder. [Michael We]

VITAL (Netherlands):

'The Ontology Of Noise' researches the dark associations of post-black metal', which made me think this album is not for me. But its on Touch, so I better give it a spin. Christofer Lamgren, who is the person behind Nana April Jun ('one of his personae'), is a visual artist, composer and art magazine YKKY editor/curator. There is no traditional instruments used here, no arrangements of layers, but a single stream of sound per track. Much like a guitar, Touch says, but then without a guitar. See! That's more like it. Five tracks of these single streams of a sound, with minor but vital changes inside each and every one of them. They are quite fascinating pieces of 'noise' music - not of noise music as we know it. No wall of sound, distortion or feedback, but simple humming of motorized sounds, 'events' somewhere in the field. It puts the notion of 'noise' upside down again, and that's what makes this quite an enjoyable CD. Not because what is pressed on the CD is that great, or never been heard before, au contraire, but because it makes the listener re-think his notion about noise, what it is and what it can be. As such Touch has succeeded again to surprise us with this entirely new noise artist. [FdW]

The Wire (UK):

Sonic Seducer (Germany):

FACT (UK):

/.../ "But I'm digging a few metal, or metal-related records that are similarly greyscale. Grey Metal, not Black Metal. Most interesting is Scandinavian composer Christofer Lämgren, aka Nana April Jun's The Ontology of Noise - because of its links to the past; the idea of ghosts existing in the music. It's on veteran UK label Touch, and as with a lot of the stuff they put out, it's as much an aural investigation as it is an album of songs. From the liner notes: "The Ontology of Noise explores the filmic qualities of noise - the image-creating mechanisms that arise almost hallucinogenically from subtle variations of frequences. By using a special set of digital mastering and filtering techniques, the recordings often sound very much like the sounds of nature; wind in trees and water. The Ontology of Noise opens up an audial perception for these sounds of nature and ask questions about their ontology... ref: Burzum's Filosofem"

It's not explicitly stated there, but I love the idea of the continued presence of Burzum's records - which were greyscale (or maybe in some cases, okay, sepia) as fuck - existing in this album. I think I'm much more into the idea of a haunted presence in this music than I am its hallucinogenic qualities - I don't think I've ever hallucinated in greyscale, but to me there's no colour in The Ontology of Noise. So maybe me and Nana April are disagreed on this. I like the juxtaposition of nature - something usually associated with deep colour - and greyscale, because that's something that definitely occurs in Burzum's albums - look at the cover for Aske".

AMG (US):

Ontology: the branch of metaphysics that studies the nature of existence -- quote the dictionary. "{The Ontology of Noise} explores the filmic qualities of noise - the image-creating mechanisms that arise almost hallucinogenically from subtle variations of frequences" -- quote the liner notes. Add to this particular choice of album title and to the short but academic-sounding liner notes track titles like "Process Philosophy", "Semantic Shift" and "Space-Time Continuum" and what you get comes close to a lecture, a lecture on "the dark associations of post-black metal," if we are to believe the liner notes, again. Nana April Jun is a moniker used by one Christofer Lämgren. His first CD for Touch is an interesting foray into ambient noise, but you definitely have to ignore the critical apparatus it comes wrapped into. Don't get fooled by the "post-black metal" tag either, and don't try to tie the music to the concepts, because it doesn't really work. The Ontology of Noise may very well have been a Ph.D. thesis project, which would make it a piece of conceptual art, but it can easily be approached as sound art or ambient noise music, akin to the works of Francisco López, BJ Nilsen, Z'Ev, or Guus Jensen. The album lasts a little over 35 minutes and, within that duration, offers five abstract textural pieces. Some, like "Sun Wind Darkness Eye" play on subtle shifts in a static setting, while others (like the opener "The One Substance" and "Process Philosphy") are more dynamic. Sound materials seem bare (one soure per track, perhaps) but extenseively treated to let their inner cycles come to the fore. It's nothing particularly new by 2009, but it makes a convincing first effort. [François Couture]

Dark Entries (BE):

In onze afdeling 'Spéciallekes' bieden we u vandaag graag deze Nana April June aan. Onder deze naam gaat de zweed Christofer Lämgren op zoek naar de essentie van geluid, meer bepaald de essentie van een goede drone. Als ik schrijf essentie bedoel ik wel degelijk Essentie. Hier wordt niet in laagjes gewerkt en er worden geen ingenieuze truukjes gebruikt. Met zijn digitale apparatuur creëert de zweed composities die stuk voor stuk vertrekken van één basisdrone, waar dan heel subtiel met gevarieerd wordt door de frequenties stelselmatig aan te passen. Hoewel digitaal heeft het proces bijna iets organisch. Denk aan 'Soliloquy for Lilith' van Nurse With Wound.

Net als 'Heated' van Jana Winderen, ook toevallig verschenen op Touch Records, is dit album in staat om uw perceptie over geluid en muziek te veranderen. Te beluisteren als één geheel en bij voorkeur via de hoofdtelefoon. Indien geen hoofdtelefoon beschikbaar het beste te beluisteren zonder werkende vaatwassers, droogkasten of wasmachines in de buurt. Het te luid zetten van dit album kan uw relatie en het gehoor van uw huisdier ernstige en blijvende schade berokkenen. [Jan Denolet]

Blow Up (Italy):

Earlabs (Netherlands):

RATED: 8 / 10

Noise that refers to 90's black metal music? Not what I would say after hearing the newest addition to the Touch roster.

When I read a reference to "enfant terrible" Burzum I always start listening with skeptics to music. This main figure form the Norwegian Black Metal scene has been in prison because of murder for quite some years now. Beside this he has some strange ideas about racial issues. If we look at his musical legacy you should think of dark moody metal. Loud distorted guitars with melancholic synthesizer melodies combined with fast drums and dirty screams are the ingredients of his work, sometimes oozing everything into one huge drone/wall of noise, which might have to do with the recording quality. I never really got into his music because of forced drive behind it. The music doesn't seem to come naturally and is surrounded by an air that breathes simplicity and nihilism; insincerity.

With this in mind we now turn to this new release on Touch by Swedish musician Nana April Jun (aka Christopher Lämgren). The Ontology Of Noise is an album which should research the dark associations of post-black metal is an album focusing on the evolution in noise. Almost no layering and no arrangements were used in the process of creation. Rather, we hear noisy soundscapes finding their own way.
The Ontology Of Noise shows a characteristic development in the sound structures. As if the sounds are living their own life. Progressions follow a natural path without force as if no human action had interfered during the process. For example a piece like Space - Time Continuum is as if you are standing in a severe blizzard.
Nana April Jun managed to make this album really organic, while it being made from only synthetic generated sounds. Because of this the release has a lot to offer.

To me the reference to Burzum is a mystery that I can't really place. There is nothing forced about this album and I can't say this is a bad thing to me. Yet another fine addition to the Touch catalogue. [Sietse van Erve]

ae (Germany):

Totgesagte leben länger, und das gilt auch u.a. für Dark Ambient-Experten a la Thomas Köner. Stilistisch bereichert sich Nana April Jun nämlich am körnig/schleifig/kiesigen Klang so mancher Mille Plateaux Veröffentlichung Köners, allerdings klanglich viel zu schütter und farblos, um den Konzeptkünstler Köner das Wasser zu reichen.

Man verstehe es nicht falsch: Ich schätze Köners Klangkraft sehr, aber hier wirkt alles trotz steriler Materie sehr farblos, öde und bisweilen recht ereignislos. Die Zeiten des Isolationismus innerhalb der zeitgenössischen Musik sind schon recht lange vorbei.

Die gesamte CD beeinhaltet ein Thema, Noise in verschiedenen Varianten, sei es als Schnittmenge pansonischer Knisterschnittmenge oder verhallenem Rauschen in resonanzhaltigen Räumen. Und da ist das Problem: Die zeitliche Länge manches Stückes macht es hier fast wieder schwer, über die tatsächlichen Einfälle und kreativen Ideen dieser ’Ontologie' zu schreiben. Da wird über den einen oder anderen gut abgepassten Kunstgriff zu schnell digital hinweggewischt.

Weniger ist manchmal mehr, auch wenn das feldaufnahmenlastige Endstück mit abstraktem Passfilterdub ganz schön schmissig daherkommt. Eins muss man Touch jedoch lassen: Wozencrofts Grafiken sind stete unzukommentierende Begleiter ihres Trägers. [Thorsten Soltau]

Octopus (France):

C'est en explorant les qualités filmiques du son, dans une proposition exclusivement digitale mais où transparaît néanmoins une vitalité organique assez surprenante, que Christofer Lämgrem alias Nana April Jun développe le long fil hallucinogène que constitue cet Ontology of Noise. Ici, peu de constructions, ni d'arrangements, juste un flux continu et immersif dans lequel on pénètre comme un témoin privilégié. Malgré les variations fréquentes, d'intensité, de fréquences, l'impact physique et l'unicité sonique résolue du spectre sonore offert à nos oreilles demeure, inébranlable presque. Pourtant dans l'intensité du vertige, des détails capiteux se manifestent : une double lecture sonore, avec le second plan spatialisé et presque léger sur "Space-time continuum" ; un scénario presque environnementaliste sur "Sun wind darkness eye", qui évoquerait davantage les prises directes dans la tempête ou en pleine mer de BJ Nielsen. Un nouvel exemple en tout cas de l'isolationnisme créatif des scandinaves à ranger derrière les Burzum et autres CM Von Hausswolf. [Laurent Catala]

Mot dérivant du grec, l'ontologie est - pour faire bref - la philosophie de l'être en tant qu'être, par opposition à l'être de l'âme, l'être du monde ou l'être de Dieu. Associée dans notre cas au bruit, elle recherche les sombres associations du post black metal. Complètement numériques, les variantes qui composent le disque n'utilisent aucun instrument au sens traditionnel du terme et nous offrent un voyage abstrait entre le clair et le l'obscur, entre le naturel et l'artificiel. Et s'ils posent mille questions sur les rapports entre le bruit et la musique, il n'offre hélas pas le moindre début de commencement de réponse et cet abandon laisse pantois. [Fabrice Vanoverberg]

Prefixmag (USA):

Nana April Jun (a.k.a. Christopher Lamgren) is another one of those single artists (in this case, also a visual artist and art mag editor) who makes dense, challenging music that most bands can’t approximate. Eschewing traditional instruments for digital soundscapes, The Ontology of Noise spirals across five extended tracks, streaming through shades of light and dark, sometimes approaching full-on noise, sometimes low and pulsing ambient.

“Space-Time Continuum” builds slowly, its burst of noise inevitable but welcome. “Semantic Shift” is much colder, its pulse never leaving, its drone evoking a vacuum that grows more and more stifling. The finale, “Sun Wind Darkness Eye,” is meant as a summation, though “Space-Time” seems to deliver that. Still, it is a powerful track in which static waves orchestrate the fluctuations in sound, ending in a deliberate and constant pulse. It has traces of black metal, krautrock and Acid Mothers, but it sounds new.

The Ontology of Noise mixes and matches genres harsh and gentle to make its own statement. Nana April Jun is, like many of his Scandinavian musical contemporaries, aware of the power of noise, silence and drone. {Mike Wood]

Orkus (Germany):

Ruis (Belgium):

D-Side (France):

Sound of Music (Sweden):

Nana April Jun är bildkonstnären och komponisten Christofer Lämgren från Göteborg. Vad jag förstår är "The Ontology of Noise" hans debut, utgiven på Touch. Kaxig titel, respektingivande bolag. Ontologi är som bekant den filosofiska termen för läran om varandets väsen, ett anspråk som sopar mattan med det mesta i genren. Eller är det bara ord?

Lämgren skriver i konvolutet att han velat utforska "the dark associations of post-black metal". Svulstigt, onekligen. Jan Wozencroft, Touchs förstedesigner, har i vart fall lagat ihop ett vansinnigt vackert omslag, på framsidan en slags gråsvart kula mot gråsvart botten och på baksidan en gråsvartviolett ros. Dov klang. Bedövande. Men paketeringen får mig mer att tänka på Biosphere än det norska solo-black metalprojektet Burzum - vars anförare Varg Vikernes, mer känd som Count Grishnackh, enligt ryktena snart frisläppt efter sexton år i fängelse för kyrkobränningar och mord på Mayhems gitarrist. Lämgren refererar till Burzums "Filosofem", men han kunde lika gärna ha kopplat upp matrisen mot Oren Ambarchi eller Mika Vainio. Med sentida black metal har det inget att göra.

Det ska mycket till innan Touch-bossen Mike Harding släpper en skiva som ljudmässigt inte låter fantastiskt. Och visst låter det bra. Lämgren har arbetat helt digitalt, utan akustiska instrument, och har nogsamt undvikit vanliga sätt att arrangera ljuden i lager och nivåer. Det är väldigt återhållsamt, mer soundscapes än noise, organiskt snarare än syntetiskt. En låt som "Space-Time Continuum" placerar lyssnaren i ett oväder, det är tio minuter av vindar, regn, väntan på blixten, mörker. "The One Substance" gör nedslag i några olika noisekontextuella ljudfält utan progression eller riktning. Avslutande "Sun Wind Darkness Eye" är ett långt oväder på väg att bryta ut, men inget häftigare händer än att bruset upphör och en rak, dunkande baston styr ut låten över randen. Det är inte stor ljudkonst, men rätt egensinnigt.

"The Ontology of Noise" är en kontemplativ skiva. Välljudande, mörk, behaglig. Dark ambient, om du frågar mig. Inte dark metal och inte noise. Bra ändå. Men rätt ska vara rätt. [Sven Rånlund]

The Gap (Germany):

Popnews (France):

NANA APRIL JUN - The Ontology Of NoiseDans une industrie du disque qui est, paraît-il, en pleine crise, nombreux sont les labels qui, hélas, voient leur avenir sous des cieux plutôt sombres. Pourtant certains paraissent inébranlables dans la foi qui les anime, à sortir, vaille que vaille, des ¦uvres fortes, sans concession et reconnaissables entre mille.

Touch fait partie de ceux-là, le label de Jon Wozencroft continuant depuis plus de vingt-cinq ans à sortir, avec une régularité forçant le respect, des disques de musiques électroniques pour le moins exigeants, certains diront invendables, très souvent excellents.

L'album "The Ontology of Noise" du Suédois Christofer Lämgren, le musicien qui se cache derrière ce pseudo un peu farfelu, est d'une fidélité sans faille aux principes rigoristes de Touch et mérite donc qu'on s'y attarde.

D'autant plus, quand un album ambitionne de faire une ontologie du bruit (rappelons que l'ontologie est l'étude des propriétés générales de ce qui existe, dit comme cela c'est un peu rebutantŠ) avec en référence "Filosofem" l'album mythique de Burzum, LE groupe ultime de black metal. Avouez qu'il y a de quoi éveiller la curiosité, et là, certains diront que ce n'est plus rebutant mais carrément effrayant !

Avec une telle accroche la première écoute s'avère plutôt surprenante, l'univers sonore développé par Christofer Lämgren étant très éloigné des assauts satanistes ou des morceaux électroniques dark-ambient que compte "Filosofem". Evidement, en bon chroniqueur j'ai réécouté mes albums de Burzum ("Hli©£skjálf" et "Det Som Engang Var" en plus de "Filosofem", ce qui ma foi était assez plaisant) et la connexion entre les deux univers ne m'a pas paru évidente.

Il n'est pas question de rythme, encore moins de mélodie, mais d'une plongée dans la matière même du son en tant que signal : le bruit. Les cinq plages de "The Ontology of Noise" déroulent un souffle digital austère, sur lequel des effets appliqués par strates donnent au son une puissance organique, quasiment physique, réellement impressionnante.

Derrière ce rideau bruitiste qui peut, au premier abord, sembler vain se cache une somme étonnante de constructions assez subtiles, entrelacs de fréquences générant une lointaine pulsation, modulation du flux sonore spatialisant l'écoute, qui donnent une oeuvre au figuralisme inattendu.

Finalement, l'univers de "The Ontology of Noise" est bien plus proche de ceux de B.J. Nilsen, avec lequel il partage le même onirisme glacé, et du duo Pan Sonic, dans cette façon de pénétrer au plus profond du signal sonore, que celui du groupe du sulfureux Varg Vikernes.

Avec une approche ultra minimale, marque de fabrique des musiques électroniques scandinaves, Christofer Lämgren réussit un album très personnel qui sous un aspect assez radical s'écoute finalement avec une relative facilité, à croire que le musicien a tout fait pour se tenir à distance d'une approche théorico-musicale douloureuse qu'un tel titre pouvait laisser craindre. Tant mieux, même si quelques grincheux lui reprocheront de brouiller le propos.

Encore une fois Touch nous offre un disque hors norme mais totalement en phase avec le concept de musique électronique naturaliste développé par le label. [Cyril Lacaud]

Music Metal (Poland):

Nana April Jun to projekt muzyczny młodego szwedzkiego technika dźwiękowego Christofera Lämgrena parającego się także sztukami wizualnymi. "The Ontology Of Noise" jest dotychczas jego jedynym oficjalnie nagranym albumem studyjnym. Płyta została wydana przez niezwykle zasłużoną angielską wytwórnię Touch słynącą z rozwoju, promocji i propagowania wysoce wyspecjalizownej muzyki innowatywnej. W jej bogatym i obszernym katalogu wydawniczym znajdziemy same tuzy reprezentujące świat dźwiękowej awangardy wyznaczającej nowe trendy i kierunki w muzyce eksperymentalnej. Już sam fakt wypuszczenia przez stajnię Touch materiału
zgromadzonego na "The Ontology Of Noise" jest wystarczającą rekomendacją dla bliższego zapoznania się z dziełem Nana April Jun.

Jak sugeruje nam nazwa tytułu tego wydawnictwa mamy do czynienia ze skomplikowaną, wysublimowaną, wyrafinowaną oraz specyficznie ujętą substancją dźwiękową na którą składają się: ontologia (metafizyka) i hałas; stanowią one w swoich istotach niezwykle intrygujące, ekscytujące i enigmatyczne połączenie. Naukowe doświadczenia filozofii eksplorujące złożony system myślowy działu ontologii zajmującego się badaniem problematyki związanej z zagadnieniami bytu, istnienia, czasu, przedmiotu i własności, zostały przetransportowane oraz zaadaptowane w cyfrowym kontenerze akustycznym. Nana April Jun dokonuje za pomocą dźwięków starannej laboratoryjnej interpretacji i analizy pojęć metafizycznych. Te terminy oraz definicje z kategorii filozoficznych odciskają się wyraźnie w świadomości słuchacza nie pozwalając nawet na chwilę o sobie zapomnieć i dręczą oraz drążą w niepokojący sposób umysł odbiorcy zostawiając go opuszczonego z niekończącymi się znakami zapytania na które sam musi znaleźć odpowiedzi. Christofer Lämgren koncepcyjnie i sonicznie fragmentuje z laserową precyzją na drobne plasterki jaźń słuchacza roztrzaskując ją na niewiadome. Filozofia jest nieodłącznym elementem tego konceptualnego albumu, dlatego dosyć trudno jest od niej abstrahować do kontekstu czysto sonicznego. Koncentrując się jednak wyłącznie na elektronicznych emisjach dźwiękowych nasza percepcja słuchowa będzie precyzyjnie wiercona i trawiona przez cybernetyczne, gęste, potężne, przepastne, obfite, magmowe, wielopiętrowe i nawarstwiające się struktury dark ambientowe transformujące się w minimalistyczne mikrohałasy. Należy też wyraźnie zaznaczyć, że mamy do czynienia z muzyką digitalną i nie uświadczymy żadnych klasycznych instrumentów. Eksperymentalna architektura dźwiękowa jest bardzo zgrabnie oraz umiejętnie wzbogacona przez komponenty złożone z dronów, szmerów, przytłumień, trzasków, szumów, pogłosów, echa, skwierczeń, pulsacji, efektów kołysania oraz cyfrowej imitacji ciężkich przesterowanych gitar elektrycznych. Dokoptowane są też niskie tony i basy, które operują w bardzo wyważony sposób. Pośród tej labiryntowej sieci wielopoziomowych warstw i fałd dźwiękowych wychwycimy też maszynowy, dudniący beat, który jest czymś na wzór bicia technologicznego, robotycznego serca (genialny utwór "Sun Wind Darkness Eye"). Synestetycznie konstrukcje akustyczne nasuwają skojarzenia z barwą głęboko nasyconej czerni. Ten czarny kolor zalewajacy i atakujący uszy jest osadzony w zaprojektowanej trójwymiarowo matrycy przeplatanej plastycznie cieniutkimi, delikatnymi i przerywanymi białymi liniami, nićmi lub drgającymi strunami, które komponują się w porozciągane abstrakcyjne formy i obiekty geometryczne. Klimat towarzyszący dźwiękom rejestrowanym przez aparat słuchowy jest mroczny, ponury, posępny i zagadkowy: wywołuje omamowe wrażenie samotnego poruszania się po omacku w ciasnym, sterylnym i przeźroczystym międzygalaktycznym tunelu, który skąpany jest w kompletnych kosmicznych ciemnościach. Ta ciężka surrealistyczna atmosfera może też powodować paranoidalne reakcje związane z sugestywnym poczuciem znajdowania się w samym centrum czarnej dziury, która zagina czasoprzestrzeń, łakomie pożera wszelkie światło i bezlitośnie zgniata słuchacza. Mnogość zaimplementowanych rozwiązań na tym materiale jest taka, że wyniszczające psychicznie stany klaustrofobiczne ustępują miejsca rozbudowanym oceanicznym przestrzeniom w których można utonąć, topiąc się w ich bezdennych czeluściach; zresztą niektóre cyfrowe dźwięki bardzo trafnie naśladują brzmienie wód oceanicznych. Płyta oddziaływuje na słuchacza z miażdżacą intensywnością i może powodować tymczasowe reaktywne zaburzenia psychiczne. Całość materiału muzycznego zarejestrowanego na "The Ontology Of Noise" jest perfekcyjnie dopracowana z iście chirurgiczną precyzją. Jednym zdaniem: potężne, mroczne, tajemnicze i pasjonujące filozoficzno-astronomiczne wydawnictwo zerojedynkowe. Gorąco polecam koneserom dźwiękowych eksperymentów. 10/10

Trust (Germany):

Liability (France):

Qu'est-ce qu'une ontologie ? Si vous travaillez dans l'informatique ce terme vous dit probablement quelque chose. Pour les autres, sachez que c'est, pour faire simple et court, « l'étude des propriétés générales de ce qui existe ». Le Suédois Christofer Lämgren, qui apparait ici sous le nom de Nana April Jun, s'est mis en tête d'en faire une autour du bruit et plus particulièrement sur les associations du post-black métal (je ne savais même pas que cela existait). Pour ce faire Nana April Jun s'est nourri de l'album légendaire Filosfem de Burzum, projet bien connu des fondus de black métal et dont son géniteur, Varg Vikernes, défraya la chronique dans les 90's pour ses penchants néo-nazis, le meutre d'Euronymous de la formation Mayhem et sa participation présumée à des incendies d'églises. Emprisonné, Vikernes est, dès lors, passé dans la légende (il a été condamné a 21 ans de prison mais en a effectué que 16 et a été récemment libéré) non pas pour ses idées mais pour son approche musicale qui mettra en lumière les fondements même du black métal. Qu'on ne se méprenne pas. The Ontology Of Noise n'est pas un disque à la gloire de Vikernes mais plutôt un travail sonore dont Filosofem a servi de référence.

Ici tout est traité de manière digitale ce qui place naturellement ce disque dans le giron du label Touch. Filosofem est un album particulier dans la scène black puisque celui-ci est l'un des premier à user de morceaux littéralement ambiant. The Ontology Of Noise reprend cette option en incluant des formes rythmiques abstraites, lentes et étirées. Contrairement à ce que l'on aurait pu penser, ce disque ne suit pas une ligne bruitiste mais bien une veine plus brumeuse et électroniquement sombre. D'après les notes de l'album, Christofer Lämgren a voulu explorer « les qualités filmiques du bruit » et ce dans une orientation « hallucinatoire » basé sur des « variations de fréquences ». La description est assez fidèle à ce que l'on entend. On rajoutera simplement le caractère assez froid de cet album mais qui pose des ambiances plus que saisissantes. En soit The Ontology Of Noise est un peu plus qu'un disque d'ambiant expérimental. Il remet en perspective une musique qui parait, encore aujourd'hui, comme contre-versée, lui offre un nouveau visage avec une approche dépouillée de ses penchants idéologiques. Ce n'est sans doute pas si mal. [Fabien]

Paris Transatlantic (France):

"The Ontology of Noise researches the dark associations of post-black metal," states the brief liner note bluntly, before announcing proudly that "no traditional instruments were used [..] and all technologies are digital in their application." Well, it is on Touch, so it's not as if I was expecting an album of unaccompanied banjo music or something. A little clarification is in order: 1) Nana April Jun is the nom de scène (nom de plume? nom de souris?) of Christofer Lämgren, who hails from Gothenburg, Sweden, which might explain the fondness for metal. (Funny, I thought Gothenburg was more associated with death metal than black metal.. and what is post-black metal? Not that it matters, because I've never understood the attraction of either to be honest.) 2) My online dictionary defines ontology as 'the branch of metaphysics that studies the nature of existence or being as such", but it's also widely used in computer science (have a read at this over your cornflakes). 3) Despite the pretentious album title this is one of the most convincing and beautifully executed albums to come my way all year. Lämgren's ear for detail is as good as his feel for overall shape. It's grey, cold and austere (like Gothenburg, actually) and certainly on a par with the best offerings of Francisco López and Mika Vainio, both of whom are namechecked on the Touch website. The closing track, "Sun Wind Darkness Eye", is particularly masterly, building impressively before slipping into Gas-like pulse. Forget the black metal association (especially the album Lämgren himself mentions; Burzum's Filosofem, which is simply fucking awful) and check out one of the most accomplished releases of electronic music this year. [Dan Warburton]

Ritual (Italy):

Rupture (USA):

I’m a sucker for all this Black-Metalmeets- computer-music stuff, and here are
two recent takes on this meme: KTL IV processes distorted guitars though Max/
MSP as usual, but Jim O’Rourke’s production gives the mix a more organic feel than on the previous KTL releases and the second, long track ‘Paratrooper’ builds up a slow grinding pulse reminiscent of early Swans, but overall a bit less inspired than their first two releases and unlikely to make any new converts. Nana April Jun goes for a purely digital approach – morphing single layers of noise and field recordings into something approaching the buzzsaw guitar sound of church-burning Norwegian nutter Burzum, but with an effect far more similar to the more recent ambient/noise work of Pan Sonic – recommended.

Adverse Effect (blog):

Five pieces by Swedish visual artist, composer and art magazine editor Christofer Lamgren intended to explore the "dark associations of post-black metal" via an entirely digital medium that employs no traditional instruments. As such, we are left with an array of cascading tones, frequencies and timbres that aim for a hallucinatory high yet aren't quite well-formed enough to achieve this. Like so much of this type of listening experience, the result is too cold or detached and aloof. The filmic realms it aspires to are perhaps hinted at on the final cut which, as the title 'Sun Wind Darkness Eye' suggests, at least evokes a slightly warmer and more natural sound. Ultimately something of a misfiring, I feel, for the usually reliable Touch. [Richard Johnson]

Skug (Germany):

Da haben wir’s: Nicht nur den Beweis dafür, dass Metal und Electronica als das »neue«, mittlerweile breitenwirksame Ding verhandelt werden, sondern auch, dass diskursive Stolperfallen gerne mal genommen werden. Der schwedische Komponist Christofer Lämgren nennt sein Werk hochtrabend »Ontology«, und weil sich Touch, ansonsten ein Label mit jahrelanger Stilsicherheit, da wohl etwas zu profilieren sucht, muss diese CD her. Ist schon gutes Zeugs, kann man nichts sagen, die massiven Drone-Wälle sind vorbildlich und sauber aufgezogen, Elektronik-Lärm ist so getuned, als wenn er von Gitarren käme. Aber für die Liner-Notes einen Textausschnitt vom norwegischen Kirchenzündler Burzum aus seiner Platte »Filosofem« zu nehmen und das Ganze noch »post«-Black Metal zu nennen? Es ist nachvollziehbar, dass es für diese ewiggestrige Möchtegern-Fascho-Dumpfbirne erstaunlich war, dass digitale Musik wie organische Prozesse klingen können, aber welche Relevanz hat seine »Erkenntnis« für Lämgren? Das riecht so was von schwer nach Ausverkauf mit den bösen skandinavischen Metallern. Oder ist es schlichtes Nicht-Checken? Nochmals, wir reden hier immerhin von Touch. Jaja, und im Nachhinein heißt’s dann: War eh alles nicht so ernst gemeint? Wozu dann das Ganze? Ein musikalisch durchaus überzeugendes Album, als Gedankenmodell leider eine Niederlage. Da bleibe ich lieber bei Sunn O))), Merzbow oder Drumcorps, denn die wissen, was sie tun.

À Découvrir Absolutement (France):

Nana April Jun est l’un des pseudonymes de Christofer Lämgren, artiste numérique et compositeur de 35 ans basé à Gothenburg en Suéde. Il est également le rédacteur en chef du magazine d’art YKKY.

Dans ce 1er album publié sur l’excellentissime label anglais Touch, le propos de Nana April Jun est d’explorer l’univers sombre du post-black metal à travers l’utilisation exclusive de machines numériques. Pas un seul instrument traditionnel, mais essentiellement des nappes de fréquences qui se superposent et évoluent lentement pour former un langage abstrait qui passe alternativement de l’ombre à la lumière, du naturel à l’artificiel, jusqu’à rappeler parfois le son d’une guitare électrique.

C’est un voyage cinétique et cinématographique que nous propose ici Nana April Jun à travers le judicieux agencement de fréquences simples et sculptées avec un sens esthétique et une approche de la temporalité d’une rigueur et d’une perfection proches de l’absolu.

Pourtant résolument numérique et artificiel dans les outils mis en œuvre, le résultat final semble éminemment organique et crée le doute lorsque l’on croit entendre des bruissements de feuilles d’arbres ou encore des bruits d’eau, interrogeant par là même l’auditeur sur la nature réelle de ces sons naturels.

Pour ce qui est du terme « noise » qui est utilisé dans le titre, on est bien loin de l’approche d’un Merzbow ou d’un Zbigniew Karkowski. Ici, tout est dans la retenue et la sérénité, voire même la douceur. On se rapprocherait plus de l’univers d’un Daniel Menche (à ses débuts) qui aurait collaboré avec B.J. Nilsen.

Une belle expérience sonore qui devrait séduire même les oreilles les plus néophytes en matière de musique expérimentale, ou, quand le bruit devient contemplatif!

SKAŅU MEŽS (Latvia):

Britu leibls „Touch” vienmēr ir piedāvājis eksperimentālajā vidē īpaši nozīmīgus (pat hrestomātiskus) un delikātus ierakstus. Arī šis disks nav izņēmums. „Nana April Jun” ir zviedru vizuālā mākslinieka Christofer Lämgren pseidonīms. „The Ontology of Noise” ir viņa debijas ieraksts, kas pilnā mērā var tikt uzskatīts par ļoti veiksmīgu un daudzsološu skici grandiozam projektam. „Nana April Jun” ir visnotaļ atmosfēriska būtne – viņa minimālās, gandrīz vienslāņainās skaņu ainas apspēlē trokšņa esamību subtilā formā, piedāvājot kompozīcijas, kas pateicoties īpašai māsterēšanas un filtrēšanas tehnikai, vairāk līdzinās vides skaņām nekā elektroniski ģenerētiem trokšņiem.

Skaņdarbu abstraktās, pašinertās plūsmas mainās intuitīvi. Pirmais gabals „The One Substance” sākas ar elektriski griezīgu strāvas lauku, ārkārtīgi organiski un pat nemanāmi attīroties līdz tievam signālam, kas visai negaidīti noslēdzas ar pauzētiem Christian Fennesz tipa biezu, melanholisku plātņu šņākoņas uzslāņojumiem. Šai kompozīcijai akūti nepieciešams turpinājums! Citādi tā ir nepiedodami strupa. Otrais gabals „Process Philosophy” atgādina urbāna tuneļa vai ātrvilciena traukšanās skaņu, pusē nomainoties uz modulētu augstsprieguma sīkoņu. Trešā, vismonotonākā kompozīcija „Space-Time Continuum” līdzinās vēja šalkām ar skaļumā un stiprumā mainīgiem uzplūdiem un atplūdiem. Ceturtā „Semantic Shift” – vēss tonis ar periodiskiem traucējumu pilieniem, kas kā ūdenslāšu plunkšķi neilgi atbalsojoties saviļņo toņa virsmu. Savukārt pēdējais, visdramaturģiskākais un arī visgarākais (12:44) gabals „Sun Wind Darkness Eye” iesākas ar netieši pulsējošu dūkoņu, atgādinot mazliet spiedīgo Jacob Kirkegaard ierakstīto zemes dzīļu skanējumu. Kompozīcija lēnām izplešas ar ūdenskrituma skaņai līdzīgu masu, pakāpeniski pieaugot gan intensitātē, gan skaļumā, līdz noslēdzas ar pastāvīgās pulsācijas plūstošu pārtapšanu taisnā, mazliet atlecoši klakšķošā bassbungas ritmā…kurš gan būtu gaidījis šādu konkrētību!?

Trīs kompozīcijas no visām piecām nobeigtas aprauti tā vietā, lai tās kaut vai nofeidotu (kā tas ir noticis pirmās un trešās kompozīcijas gadījumā). Varbūt tā ir apzināta autora iecere nevis atklāta nemākulība, taču jebkurā gadījumā tas skan neveikli.

Tāpat arī oficiālajā pieteikumā paustās albuma „tumšās asociācijas ar post-black metālu” tiešām ir tikai asociācijas, lai neteiktu vairāk. Šī frāze būtu drīzāk uztverama kā stilizēta iedvesma no blackmetāla dabascentrisma. Turklāt dziesmas, kā redzams, apveltītas ar mazliet banāliem, skolnieciski fanojošiem vārdu savienojumiem, it kā autors būtu tikko kā uzsācis filozofijas studijas pilnīgi no nulles. Tāpat arī pieteikumā pilnībā atrautā un nepaskaidrotā atsauce tieši uz „Burzum” „Filosofem” albumu ir drīzāk nomināla nekā saturiska ideja. Bet nu štrunts par nosaukumiem – svarīgākais, ka „Nana April Jun” ir ārkārtīgi uzmanīgs un rada audiālu tīrību, blackmetāla domas atjaucot ar balto (trokšņa) krāsu, tādējādi, tā teikt, padarot tās pelēkas, bet vienlaicīgi dziesmās saglabājot (esamības) caurspīdīgumu.

Albums gan pieviļ ekspektācijas, kas raisās no tā grandiozā nosaukuma. Tādēļ jāsaka, ka tas ir par šerpu savam saturam, taču tas, protams, ir interpretācijas jautājums, ko šajā gadījumā saprast ar troksni. Bet, lai nu kā, „The Ontology of Noise” ir izcils ievingrināšanās uzmetums, kas nenoraidāmi pieprasa un paredz savu turpmāko ilgšanu.

Taz (Germany):

DIE ACHSE DER GERÄUSCHE VON TIM CASPAR BOEHME
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Was ist Post-Black Metal? Schwer zu sagen, aber auf Etikettierungen sollte man beim Debütalbum des schwedischen Klangpuristen Nana April Jun alias Christopher Lämgren nicht allzu streng achten. Sonst könnte einen sein bedeutungshubernder Albumtitel "The Ontology of Noise" davon abhalten, die rein digital entstandenen wundersam mutierenden Klangströme voller Assoziationsangebote zu genießen. Im ersten Stück lässt Lämgren eine verzerrte Gitarre noch getragene Töne erzeugen, wenig später meint man, in freier Wildbahn zu stehen, um ganz am Ende auf große Autobahnfahrt zu gehen, ohne einmal an Kraftwerk denken zu müssen. Lämgren geht handelsunüblich vor, da er auf Arrangements und Mehrspurverfahren weitgehend verzichtet und meistens einen einzelnen Klang kontinuierlich bearbeitet. Mit diesem Verfahren erzeugt er fließende Geräusche, in denen so gut wie keine Melodien zu finden sind. Auch, wenn er mit seinen philosophischen Ambitionen gelegentlich übers Ziel hinaus schießt - ein Stücktitel wie "The One Substance" trieft vor pseudoplatonischem Ideengedöns -, hat er doch eines seiner Ziele erreicht: Die filmischen Qualitäten von Geräuschen, denen er auf seinem Album nachspürt, lassen sich beim Hören wie von selbst entdecken. Ontologische Fragen kommen von selbst. Zuerst sollte man aber einfach zuhören.

Bergens Tidende (Norway):

5/6 – Nana April Jun er et av aliasene til billedkunstner og komponist Christofer Lämgren. Platen forsker på de mørke assosiasjonene post-black metall skaper, og musikken blir kun skapt ved hjelp av digitale teknikker. Her er det snakk om fem reiser gjennom subtilt varierende støylandskaper. De små variasjonene i frekvensene gjør det hele nærmest fi redimensjonalt, og det er lett å bli slukt inn i suggererende mørke landskaper, hvor tid og rom opphører. Herlig også, at Jun unnlater den evige neddempede avslutningen av sporene, og heller kutter brått av. Dette er musikk/støy/landskaper som kan oppleves av hvem som helst som ikke forventer seg hard metall. Her er det bare å ta seg tid til å lytte og gi seg hen og følge med strukturene som åpenbarer seg. Sporene varierer stort i både fokus på frekvensområder og lengde, og når bensinen er tom er det bare å takke for turen. [Stephan Meidell]

The Sound Projector (UK):

From Touch, The Ontology Of Noise (TOUCH TONE 37) by Nana April Jun is a most intriguing collection of very texturised, processed and powerful droning electronic noise created by a gloomy artistic Swede in Gothenburg, a locale that’s currently home to all that’s best in oppressive post-industrial noise. The sleeve note over-intellectualises the music somewhat, bringing in references to ‘abstract language’, the sounds of nature, and ’single streams which change intuitively’. Even the track titles get in on this pseudo-academic act, with names like ‘Semantic Shift’ and ‘Process Philosophy’. However, the underlying strategy behind this release is something to do with a deep study of Black Metal, and supposedly providing a sort of hypertextual aural commentary on everything from Burzum to Gnaw Their Tongues. Needless to remark that The Ontology Of Noise doesn’t manifest quite the same degree of violence or pure hate of most Black Metal records, but it has been bred from the same strain of dark, introspective brooding, continuing the advancement of insight into that aspect of human psychology. As humans, we may not be at our best when we’re entertaining dark thoughts of revenge, loathing, or murder, but the Black Metal genre – and this CD – are doing something to help us understand and explore this condition. (Or else simply wallow in it.) Wozencroft’s suffused and blackened cover images are exceedingly fitting for this release. [Ed Pinsent]

and

Musique Machine (UK):

Oh! digital noise artists! How often have you been the subject of ridicule, of loathing, of hate, of threatening mails and dog doo on your doorstep? Laptop musicians, do you not bear this burden? And do you deserve it? Well.

The digitalization of society is ever plowing forth, to the pleasure of many and to the grief of, well, probably just as many others. Some marvel at free porn and films and music and get off on yet another net label, while others are disgruntled over pirates, pirates, pirates and those musicians whose music only exists in some digital realm. I have no intention of choosing sides, let alone settling the matter once and for all, but a little consensus – that would be nice.

The idea that the use of a computer inherently cheapens the product seems a remnant of the pre-digital age, and while that needn’t justify the use of a computer by default, neither does it mean that computers cannot have an added value and elevate a work. While there is arguably less quality control nowadays (since putting together a release can be a virtually costless venture), the expanded set-up of the contemporary artist can work wonders; laptop Wunderkids can produce their wondrous masterpieces – and they can be heard.

On The Ontology of Noise, Swedish visual artist and sound artist ‘ has put his faith in digital means, producing a record which – if I may believe the press release – is entirely void of analog means and traditional instrumentation. Moreover, it is to serve a higher purpose, as The Ontology of Noise (as per its title) is not so much an album as an exploration of the dynamics, textures, timbres of, simply, noise. To that end, Lämgren has stripped the album of traditional (musical) elements, abandoning composition and arrangement for the simplicity of a juxtaposition of sounds, which fade in and out and flow forth endlessly.

Almost miraculously, the fairly static and rigid approach occasionally yields almost beautiful results. At its best moments, the album is highly evocative, and its soundscapes conjure up things beyond sound alone; landscapes, seascapes, what-not-scapes: the sounds are highly visual in character, and are occasionally strikingly reminiscent of natural sounds – the sweeping streams of white noise rush by like gusts of winds; soft clicks and glitches are mistaken for distant footsteps. The sound palette is diverse, rich, ranging from barely audible hums to loud atonal fuzz and everything in between, from so reminiscent of nature to so clearly digitally processed - to even ambiguous, intangible.

However, The Ontology of Noise is not without flaws. My main gripe with album that it, in its attempt to remove all interference from the sound essential, sometimes becomes a venture all too impersonal; the virtual absence of conscious arrangement and layering, combined with the inherently simplistic character of the textures, makes it an exercise in sound that is almost futile. And while it can be evocative, it never becomes personal; it calls up images, but they are, too, like the sound, static, appearing before you as ridden of any distinct characteristic, of any humanity. Therein lies the main weakness of the record: while it is certainly hallucinatory, the effects wear off quick, and it fails to truly get under your skin. Instead, it briefly drowns you in a sea of gray, drags you along a monochrome landscape, and something irks you, and it is the artificiality, and suddenly you find yourself pondering the pros and cons of laptop artists once again.

Remember this Windows screensaver, back when you still needed screensavers, that was basically a 3D labyrinth, kind of like the Wolfenstein game, except you couldn’t do anything as it ran by itself, and there were no guns and Nazis, and it never ended? The Ontology of Noise inevitably reminds me of this. It explores and explores, moves on at a steady pace forever and ever, and it seems promising, and exciting, and thrilling, and you can’t wait to see what’s around that corner, and the next, but eventually you realize that there are not going to be any Nazis and that you won’t be able to blow anyone’s brains out, and what’s on offer is, eventually, all too much the same. It’s a sort of small existential realization of futility, but it is only small, and it exists only in its own realm, and you press any key and run c:/wolfenstein.bat and before the realization even begins to sink in, it’s gone, too slight to leave an impression that lasts. The Ontology of Noise is like that, and though its intention is there, and it is clear and, at a level, admirable, it does not impress beyond its 36:39, and that is sad. Slightly sad.

S & V (Russia):

Rockdelux (Spain):

Noizine (web):

Nana April Jun is the moniker of swedish visual artist Christofer Lämgren, whose first full-length album was released a few months ago by the excellent UK label Touch. As the press release makes clear, The Ontology Of Noise “researches the dark associations of post-black metal” making use of exclusively digital tools. This Black Metal association becomes more clear by the reference of Burzum’s Filosofem.

Well, once you bypass the tongue-in-cheek/sophisticated references and song titles like Process Philosophy, or Semantic Shift, The Ontology Of Noise proves itself to be a quite entertaining album. Although constructed using solely digital techniques and sources, the sounds in it are reminiscent of sounds found in nature, blended with dark digital noise. The opening track, The One Substance, consists of an aggressive – but at the same time attractive – static sound that continuously evolves to become a kind of whirlwind and abruptly, a throbbing digital lament. Process Philosophy revolves around a pulsating drone that slowly fades away to an oscillating tone and a very fine, polished sound. Space/Time Continuum utilizes static and echo to create an evocative soundscape of waves crushing to the shore. Little by little the waves intertwine with an otherworldly clamor, only to become a dark sonic maelstrom. It feels like drifting in a field during a blaze of wind and rain, under the constant hum of a faraway power plant. Semantic Shift throws you into the emptiness and the void; plenty of overtones to cleanse your mind, with only a few minor sonic eruptions in sight… Sun Wind Darkness Eye begins with a bass frequency where a white noise breeze gradually builds up in an electric forest to fade away within an ambient techno bass pulse.

The Ontology Of Noise definitely grasps your attention if you indulge yourself once in a while with artists like Pan Sonic or Francisco López, but somehow it doesn’t reach the standards of these two milestones of electronic music. Maybe it deserves to be treated on its own, as a one-off study in digital-turned-environmental sounds. Truth is, it’s a highly rewarding album in its almost 35 minutes. Play loud.

Nutida Musik (Sweden):

Nana April Jun är ett av bild- och ljudkonstnären Christofer Lämgrens projekt. Han är också känd som en av personerna bakom konsttidskriften YKKY. Cd:n The Ontology of Noise har fem spår som varierar mellan ungefär tre och tolv minuter i längd. De fem spåren är likartade även om de sinsemellan har lite olika karaktärer. Gemensamt för dessa är att det finns mycket musikalisk information även i mycket högt frekvensregister, och då inte bara som övertoner till aktiviteter i lägre register utan självständiga skikt som kittlar skönt i öronen. Trots att det på omslaget står att det i princip inte finns några överlagringar utan att allt är en enda ström av ljud som förändras intuitivt så är resultatet en ganska komplex lyssnarupplevelse där olika klangliga skikt gradvis tonar in och ut i varandra. Det låter som den typ av organiskt transformerande ljudmatta som kan uppstå i ett feedbacksystem.

Nästan allt sker gradvis, det finns få snabba förändringar i ljudbilden och inte heller många transienta, plötsliga ljud. Många klangskikt är brusljud som påminner om naturfenomen av olika slag. I tredje spåret, Space-Time Continuum, frammanas verkligen bilden av vågorna i ett hav på ett mycket illusoriskt vis. Inne i vågorna hör man ibland tonala resonanser. I Process Philosophy är det snarare vinden som växer fram ur vad som från början låter som bruset från en skivspelare. Det är inte utan att man ibland tänker på någon National Geographic-film där öknens oändligt stora, tomma vidder breder ut sig framför ögonen. Det enda spår som innehåller en regelbunden puls är det sista, Sun Wind Darkness Eye. Pulsen träder gradvis fram ur en intensivt brusig basdrone, ett ljud som antyder en himlakropp med enorm gravitation.

På omslaget anges Burzums (Varg Vikernes) album Filosofem (1996) som en explicit referens och skivan sägs vilja undersöka de mörka associationer som är förbundna med ”post-black metal”. En likhet med Filosofem är den nästan övermättade ljudbilden med mycket högfrekvent brus och relativt lite basinformation. På Filosofem har resultatet uppstått genom en extrem lo-fi-produktionsprocess medan det på The Ontology of Noise snarast låter väldigt hi-fi och snyggt, nästan slickt.

Duon Hilo Superdrone är Tony Blomdahl och Fredric Bergström, båda tonsättare verksamma i Göteborg. Cd:n Dog of Mayhem har bara ett spår. I titeln finns som av en händelse också en referens till den tidiga norska black metal-scenen, kanske är det omedvetet. Trots omslagets ironiska attityd förstår man att det är på fullt allvar så snart man hör musiken. Det börjar med lågmälda interferenser i lågt register, klangkroppar av metall sätts i rörelse genom mekanisk vibration. I den tredje minuten breddas klangen och man anar något mörkt och lite hotfullt i bakgrunden. Vad som låter som en processad vevlira kommer in och efter hand byggs en ganska speciell långsamt pulserande klangstod upp med en säregen och välkontrollerad harmonik där fokus på ett välbehagligt sätt vandrar mellan olika skiktningar i klangen.

Även här är det fråga om långsamma klangliga processer utan skarpa övergångar, men klangbilden är generellt dovare och mjukare än på The Ontology of Noise. Vid ungefär åtta minuter kommer små, subliminala och roliga störljud in i ljudbilden. Gradvis förändras de små ljuden och så småningom låter det ungefär som en blandning mellan en närmikad symaskin och en bandvagn. Efter 20 minuter börjar ljudbilden nå en mättnad som fullbordas ungefär tio minuter senare. Bandvagnen har transformerats till något som låter ungefär som Lemmys elbas i introt till Motörheads låt Iron Fist och i bakgrunden hör man stigande orkestrala klanger. Strax efter 30 minuter kulminerar formbågen och man upplever sig stå intill en stor industrifläkt eller vara inne i en bullrig maskinhall på någon fabrik. Man blir faktiskt lite varm i öronen. I slutet sker en ganska snabb nedbyggnad av klangen och den sista minuten bildar en liten coda av stökiga brusljud i mellanregister innan det hela avbryts ganska abrupt.

Dog of Mayhem har en ganska konventionell och förutsägbar formuppbyggnad. Detta kompenseras dock fullt ut av att detaljer i ljudbilden hela tiden är intressanta och underhållande. Med The Ontology of Noise är det tvärt om. Den övergripande formen är mer komplex och spännande, ljudbilden är läcker men efter ett tag blir upplevelsen kanske lite väl friktionsfri.

Gemensamt för båda skivorna är att cd-mediets speltid inte utnyttjas fullt ut; den totala speltiden hamnar på ungefär 30-40 minuter. Jag har alltid uppskattat cd-skivor som inte är knökfulla med musik bara för att det går. Kvalitet framför kvantitet! [Erik Peters]

Nordische Musik (Germany):

Der Grat zwischen Minimalismus und Langeweilerei ist bekanntlich ziemlich schmal. Diese vorliegende Klangsammlung von Nana April Jun (dahinter versteckt sich der Schwede Christoph Lämgren, Jahrgang 1974, Künstler, Musiker und Magazin-Herausgeber) kippt auf diesem Grat ziemlich oft in die falsche Richtung.

Dabei ist der Ansatz gar nicht mal verkehrt: Elektronisch generierte Klänge, die über die Zeit hinweg so subtil verändert werden, dass man als Hörer in die kleinsten Detailwelten tauchen kann. Und gleichzeitig die Auswahl des elektronischen Materials nach dem Kriterium, dass es möglichst nicht danach klingt, sondern nach Wind, Wellen, fernen Tieren. Im Idealfall regt das an, über die eigenen Hörgewohnheiten nachzudenken, die Entstehen von Hörbildern im eigenen Hirn zu hinterfragen und über den Gegensatz Natur - Technik - Kultur nachzugrübeln. Beim Säuseln und Rauschen dieser "Ontologie" stellt sich die Denkmaschine leider viel zu selten auf »On«. Dabei sind die Sounds in sich eigentlich ziemlich schön und gut gemacht - nur reicht das nicht. Damit gute Kunst draus wird, braucht es mehr, als ein klingendes Kontinuum in den Raum zu stellen. [sep]





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