• ULVER – FLOWERS OF EVIL

    Ulver – Flowers of Evil (Vinyl LP | Black)
    Label: House Of Mythology – HOM 023 LP
    Format: Vinyl, LP, Black
    Country: Germany
    Released: 2020
    Style: Electronic

    Pre-order! Official release on: 2020-08-28.

    In the midst of the forest, the floor is littered with monstrous heads and mythical figures, frozen in torturous combat or threatened by wild beasts. A dragon fights a dog and a wolf. A lion sinks its teeth into the fire-breathing monster’s chest.

    This sacred grove, near Bomarzo in Lazio, Italy, reveals the nightmare vision of Vicino Orsini, a sixteenth century nobleman. It’s a forest of symbols, suggesting a civilisation overrun by the beasts, demons and monsters of the primordial world. Soon after Orsini’s death, trees began to close in on these many peculiar beings, and green moss would eventually seize them. Slowly, nature finished what he had started.

    Flowers of Evil, the new studio album from Ulver, finds the wolf pack exploring the fear and wonder of mankind’s fall from redemption. Visions similar to those of Orsini come to mind, as untamed life abounds:

    THEY SPREAD
    TWIST AND TURN
    IN THE KILLING FIELDS

    The threads of haunted places and images entwine. Have Ulver discovered new pastures under the sun? Or scoured the ruins of their own moonlit past? The truth is, they’re closer to their previous purlieu than perhaps ever before.

    “Doom dance”, someone dubbed their last studio album, the critically acclaimed, Impala Award-winning The Assassination of Julius Caesar (2017). Flowers of Evil comes across as an unfeigned progression along the course set by that album, revealing a band moving deeper into beats and grooves, hooks and choruses, synths and guitars, yet sounding more stripped back, making room for the distinctive detail. Once again Michael Rendall (The Orb) and legendary producer Martin “Youth” Glover have taken crystalline care of the mix.

    As Caesar demonstrated, Ulver haven’t abandoned any of their obsessions, worries or nightmares as they enter the gilded palace of pop. “One last dance / in this burning church”, Kristoffer Rygg announces on the album’s opening track, featuring old friend Christian Fennesz on guitar and electronics. It sees them locked inside their Hall of Mirrors. A slow build brings the music to the album’s pulsing theme:

    WE ARE WOLVES
    UNDER THE MOON
    THIS IS OUR SONG
    WE HAVE LOVED
    AND WE HAVE LOST
    WE ARE READY TO GO

    With Flowers of Evil Ulver have fled a burning Rome, only to confront further crime and corruption. ‘Russian Doll’, the album’s first single, moves determinedly through the night, with a story of unfolding tragedy and misery. ‘Machine Guns and Peacock Feathers’ brings fiery end-time imagery – “barrels are burning / great art will be destroyed” – with a disco beat and flashy ’80s synths. Dismal cries resound on ‘Hour of the Wolf’; echoing Bergman’s classic film, the song is dedicated to the hour between night and dawn, “when most people die, when sleep is deepest, when nightmares are most real”. ‘Apocalypse 1993’ reveals Ulver at their catchiest, its bounding-goat groove running hand in hand with a grand chorus depicting the catastrophic events at Waco, Texas, during the winter of that year – the very same winter that saw the birth of Ulver’s first incarnation. From that thorny undergrowth, this is what they have become: an eclectic, many-headed beast, chanting the ecstasies of the spirit and the senses.

    Flowers of Evil unfolds with the shattering second single, ‘Little Boy’. A mysterious beat moves the track towards its thunderous climax, and here Michael J. York’s ominous pipes melt into the softer, moodier ‘Nostalgia’, a ’70s soul shuffle, and the heart-breaking Talk Talk-esque balladry of ‘A Thousand Cuts’. Finally, the wolves are back in the palace of excess, waltzing the night away. Yet around them, the wilderness rises, triumphant; “grass will grow over your cities”, as the Bible says.

    Tracklist:
    1. One Last Dance
    2. Russian Doll
    3. Machine Guns and Peacock Feathers
    4. Hour of the Wolf
    5. Apocalypse 1993
    6. Little Boy
    7. Nostalgia
    8. A Thousand Cuts

  • Ulver ‎– The Assassination Of Julius Caesar


    Label: House Of Mythology ‎– HOM 010
    Format: CD, Album
    Country: UK
    Released: 07 Apr 2017
    Style: Synth-pop, Synthwave, Krautrock, Experimental

    31 AUGUST 1997 was one of the hottest nights in Paris that year. Just after midnight a black Mercedes Benz rushes through the dark streets with a horde of ravenous paparazzi on tow. In the Pont de l’Alma tunnel the car swerves into a roof-supporting pillar and in the echo of the metallic roar dies Diana, the Princess of Wales. The world has lost one of its greatest icons and the morbidity of popular culture hits a new high. The story is strangely resonant with the myth of the Greek goddess Artemis (Roman: Diana) and the hunter Actaeon, who, after having seen the goddess bathing naked, is turned into a stag and torn to pieces by his own hunting hounds. This picture opens Ulver’s 13th album, The Assassination of Julius Caesar.

    Such historical quantum leaps often occur in Ulver’s musical universe, which has never been bound by any physical law. And the band’s unruly play with myth, history and popular culture has never been more manifest than now. From the assassination attempt against Pope John Paul II on one day in May 1981, to the queer, black house with the address 6114 California Street, San Francisco, better known as the headquarters of Anton LaVey’s Church of Satan – Ulver moves seamlessly through time and space, and manages, in their own strange ways, to create a coherent tableau with a deeply personal backdrop. “I want to tell you something / about the grace of faded things,” as it goes in the song “Southern Gothic”.

    Those familiar with this stubborn pack of wolves from Oslo will not be surprised that they also this time round are shifting shape. Never afraid of challenging or redefining current musical conventions, Ulver has now enacted what they are calling “their pop album”. You don’t have to worry about vexing radio humdrum or pastel ear candy though – Talk Talk and Music Machine are pop music as good as any in the universe of Ulver. A universe where “pop” is more a mark of distinction, denoting immediacy and possible body movement. Factory Records and Welcome to the Pleasuredome. The Assassination of Julius Caesar is an album the band has been longing to do for many years, to delve into the music of their childhood, along with the now fading memories and drifting clouds of romance.

    After the (to them) surprising success of last year’s hybrid ATGCLVLSSCAP, released on the recently established House of Mythology, the way was eventually cleared for a full status studio album from Ulver. Not since Shadows of the Sun, now ten years of age, has the band worked under such clearly defined criteria, staying true to an aesthetics. Such music is never easily conceived, but Ulver’s unyielding ethos of following their instincts has again showed them the way. Fear of repetition and standstill is just as instinctive in the mind of this group as hunger is for their counterparts in nature.

    The core crew behind this album is Kristoffer Rygg, Jørn H. Sværen and Tore Ylwizaker, in company with Ole Alexander Halstensgård, who has also been an important contributor to earlier albums. As usual, there are prominent guests, the renowned experimental guitarist Stian Westerhus puts his personal signature on several tracks, the same goes for associated members Anders Møller and Daniel O’Sullivan. Legendary Hawkwind shaman Nik Turner adds his sax to “Rolling Stone”.

    The Assassination of Julius Caesar is mixed by Martin “Youth” Glover, known from bands such as Killing Joke and The Fireman (with Paul McCartney), plus producer of The Verve’s “Bitter Sweet Symphony” and many other major players. The result is epic and wide-scoped as a historical drama, without ever mollycoddling the listener.

    “What have I done to leave you here,” asks vocalist and primus motor Kristoffer Rygg on the last track, “Coming Home”. Since Ulver was formed a quarter of a century ago, their musical odyssey has taken them round the world in many shapes. This year will see them perform in select places with a new spectacular live production. And even if Ulver might have brought home the game with their most ambitious and majestic work thus far, rest assured that the wolves will keep on following you through the night.

    – Ando Woltmann

    Buy: 13,99 € http://gh-records.com/1515-ulver-the-assassination-of-julius-caesar.html

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