Sad Wolves a Good Album Doth Make

One of my favorite Ulver albums has to be their 2002 Lyckantropen soundtrack (Lycanthrope in Norsk?). I remember this came out when I was in high school, back when it was really important that you listened to cooler music than the next self-conscious guy/guyette. Now I don’t want to be one of those people sitting around and talking about how Ulver’s cooler than the cucumber in Fonzie’s pocket (what?), but I will say that I bought the DVD of the movie (which isn’t very good) just for the brief interview with Garm and Tore (Ulver, you idiots) on it. I also hoped that such a slick soundtrack would accompany a bomb-ass moving picture.

Of course, the music is the best feature of the movie. The actual movie is a short film about the beast in man, or something like that. Fascinating stuff I guess, especially for those people that think they’re a beast trapped in a man’s body (this is honestly quite a large portion of heavy metal musicians). I think these ideas are something Ulver is interested in, and their first three albums are all about that jazz. Par example, Nattens Madrigal, their third, has wolf in every song title. Ulver is also Norsk for wolf.

Really, with Ulver, most of their albums are fantastic so it becomes more a matter of which albums you do not listen to very often. I will say that I do not ever open the booklet and read the liner notes (nor peruse the pictures) to their awesome 2000 album, Perdition City. And FYI: the joke is not on me, guys! I have your number down.

The whole Lyckantropen album is just variations using inversions on three chords. And the music is so fucking sad. This album has the aura of an Elliott Smith album but is really excellent background music at the same time. It uses those tones that are real prevalent in “post-rock” or Apple/iPod/VW commercials and indie-electronic music, but with really good, sad composition. I showed this to my grandfather once and he asked me why the hell they don’t just play this in elevators. Assuming he wasn’t insulting the music, I guess it’s because building owners don’t want their elevator users to get all contemplative about shit while they’re riding up a few floors. It’s bad for capitalism. Bad feng shui.

The last two tracks change the pace with some Aphex Twin-esque musical action/references. I’m not such a hot tamale for that kind of thing (sounds like Michael Bay meets Tarantino put to electronic music) and it does smell like they’re saying “look what else I can do!”, but the whole album is really excellent. If you’re a bi-polar person, I would not recommend it, as it’s distinctly melancholy music. But it’s also very nice, very beautiful. Their minimalist film scores are all decent, but of the three they’ve done I think Lyckantropen is where they were the most inspired and kept it the freshest, despite the album being so sparsely decorated.

So buy this joint. Everybody knows you’re trying to vicariously live a depressing life through the music you listen to. And all you high schoolers take note. This album is worth more teenage cool points than are on a kool-aid packet.

www.jester-records.com – Hear samples and buy Lyckantropen

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~ by chaosrexmachinae on July 20, 2007.

One Response to “Sad Wolves a Good Album Doth Make”

  1. […] of all time. They’ve gone back to the emotional resonance found in the strongest moments from Lyckantropen Themes and Svidd Neger, two of their film soundtracks which are perhaps my favorite post-metal Ulver […]

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