Michael Idehall - No Mans Land
Released 2016 by Ant-ZenAlbum of the Year #12 2016
The land surface became one of the most valuable resources in the contemporary world. Each part of it which is fit for the regular and comfort life became divided somehow between different social groups of people, and there is almost no space on our planet that exists out of any country’s authority. But lest forget, there are single exceptions from the well established order and one of them has a definition of "No man's land". When I've heard this expression for the first time, I imagined some corner of untouched nature, an oasis of pleasure, a paradise on Earth. But in reality, this expression means something much, much worse, something completely opposite. No man's land is a product of mistrust and human stupidity, no man's land is full of fear and uncertainty, no man's land exists somewhere out of time continuum, in the places where all the nightmares come true, where the life itself receives a completely different value as the term was originally used to define a contested territory or a dumping ground for refuse between fiefdoms. A frozen, forgotten land indeed.
No man's land becomes the theme of the new conceptual album of Sweden resident Michael Idehall which was able to examine the very guts of this deadly place and implement his knowledge in one solid piece of an obscure electronic music. Michael Idehall is a composer, sound artist, painter, and author living and working in Gothenburg; he defines his musical manipulations as "seancetronica" - a genre based on traditional dark industrial in combination with experimental electronics, tight rhythmic settings and intensely vocalized song structures. However, this approach paid itself big time!
Michael's "No Man’s Land" is a steel necklace which is crafted with fourteen bullets of the largest caliber. Having almost seventy minutes running length, this record contains a lot of sonic power wrapped in poisonous melodies. Mid-tempo electronics flow fluently out of my speakers spreading the heavy rhythm all around my room. A pulsating beat becomes a trademark of the whole album; it appears to be deep and obscure in some compositions like 'Deep Code' or 'Yoni' as if there is some kind of a mechanical heart which beats together with the chanting voice of an author himself, and sometimes it blasts with a harsh techno-oriented rhythm like in 'Nightmare'. Another feature which is significant to No Man’s Land is it’s complete minimalism, but if you are shrewd enough, you will be able to recognize a sufficiently elaborated and complex structure made of different layers. This kind of a structure reminds me of the products that usually arrive from Galakthorro label, but in the case of Michael the sound is much less dirty, more electronically processed. But of course, without any doubt the main element of the album is Michael’s vocals. His creepy voice, slowly crawling behind the heavy distortion, penetrates every corner of my soul causing it an irreversible heavy damage.
I won't hide that I was really surprised by this record. I don’t believe that I would have paid attention to it if the guys from Ant-Zen did not drop a package in my mailbox. There are so many albums out there recently and not too much time to hear them all, but I don’t regret even one minute that I spent listening to this pearl. The feeling that I am listening to the one of the best electronic experimental albums of this year grows just bigger and bigger with each spin of my CD player while 'Nightmare', 'Walkabout' and 'Angel Of Fear' become total highlights and complete killer compositions that I cannot stop running back and forth. I believe that this record should be the "must-have" item to all those that are into dark minimalistic electronics.
Jun 19 2016
Writer and contributor on Brutal Resonance
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