Full disclosure II: I am a big fan of intelligent horror and science fiction movies.
This album clearly shows that Kjetil is not only a wizard with the piano, but also a grand master with electronic music.
I am led to believe that Skyggespill is used as a musical Nom de plume given how different Morphing Between Spaces and Phases is compared to his previous albums. Skyggespill literally translated into English means Shadow play - a clever name given the satisfactory sounds in the album. Skyggespill also means the interplay between light and shade on a surface. However, for this review, let's just use the other meaning: A theatre play where carved flat figures are casting shadows on a screen observed by the spectators.
It's a small album - only four tracks. However, size does not matter when it comes to this album. It's really grand if you are into mood setting electronica. When I first heard the opening minutes of album I had immediate associations to Andrei Tarkovsky's 1979 movie Stalker (an exceptionally good movie). I said to myself that this is good - this is Ultimate Headphone Worthy. When I deem something Headphone Worthy - it's my highest designation of quality. For this album I had to crate a new high-end designation: Ultimate Headphone Worthy.
So - if you are not listening to this album with some high quality headphones, you are missing out on a huge number of details in the soundscape. We are talking about ca 30 minutes of pure soundscape bliss. To fully enjoy this album, headphones are a must. I will forgive you if you are using some big bad speakers on 75% volume, where 80% means that your neighbours are calling the local loco-house (or the cops).
This is music that is meant to be played at some decent volume. Maybe not at 75%, but higher than 20%.
Unless you are an stonehearted mongrel, this music should give you some really cool visions when you listen to it. This album demands you full attention - and this is what you must give it. This album is NOT something that you have in the background while washing up, or cleaning your bathroom.
If you do not use 100% of your listening skills to this album, you are doing it a big disservice.
It is simply that good.
Equally important would be using good headphones - the album needs to be listened to without interruptions.
When you start with Morphing Between Spaces, you are greeted with a vision of a stark and barren landscape. If this was a old skool text adventure game (and if you are old enough, you loved these back in the '80s and '90s), the amber text on your screen would say You slowly wake up on the floor of a fog filled stone valley. Suddenly, you hear metallic steps, and out of the fog you see a hybrid between a cyborg-fox. The fox looks at you with a luminous red eye. Not scared enough yet? Just wait until you reach around 4:40 into the track. By then you are lured into believing that this is going to end well - the monster is not going to eat you. HA! Monster is coming at 5:30, and by 6:30 the winds are blowing over your half-eaten corpse.
If you do not like text adventure games - maybe a post-apocalyptic sunrise displaying a nearly mauve-coloured sun due to the radioactive dust that is always present in the dry air, will be a more proper picture.
One thing is for sure - Morphing Between Spaces is not something happy-go-lucky - and thank you very much for that. There is simply too much happy-go-lucky music in the world.
Naming the second track Metahesiophobia is a stroke of genius. It is an excellent appendix to the first track. It also gives us a few seconds of quiescence before venturing on to the next goodie in the bag.
If you look at the album cover, and are from Norway, Gråklang makes absolutely sense. For the Norwegian-impaired reader, Gråklang can be translated into sonorous grey (literally translation is Grey sound or Grey ring). The track really is sonorous, and if you were born before the '90s here in Norway, you are well aware of the rich folklore with regards to trolls, tusser and huldrer. The two latter are not easily translated. Actually - the track is very hulder-ish in it's execution. I am tempted to translate hulder into mischievous wood imp - a creature that will scare the living daylight out of you when you walk through the perfect black woods around 22:30 any day in October. And to add to the ambience, through most of the track we can clearly hear the purl from a nearby brook. I really love that soundscape. Do you get out of the woods? Decide for your self at around 7 minutes out.
Actually - that you really believed that you were saved 3 minutes before the end of track 3 is really not so. In Morphing Between Phases you have been morphed back into the pitch black Pit of Despair. Down in the pit a sonorous wall of sound hits you - at least for 3 minutes. Then the sun comes out. Not the radioactive kind found a few tracks ago, but the kind you will find in your childhood summer vacation memories. Actually, the early summer mornings - just before the sun rises. However, it was all a dream that abruptly ended a few minutes later. You really wake up swimming in your own sweat. And once more you have been morphed into another post apocalyptic world of twisted metal and crushed human skulls.
I simply adore music that produces moving images in my mind's eye. Morphing Between Spaces and Phases does that very well. If you enjoy music that gives you visions, and/or, make your mind wander into interesting corners - this is definitively an album for you. If you are not into mind-bending music - this is THE definitive album that will get you there.
- Skyggespill = Kjetil Husebø: Electronics.
- Composed and produced by: Kjetil Husebø.
- Recorded and mixed by: Kjetil Husebø at GrandisStudio, Oslo.
- Mastered by: Helge Sten at Audio Virus Lab, Oslo.
- Cover design: Lucas Dietrich, Berlin.
- Photo: Kjetil Husebø.
- Label: Optical Substance Productions.