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Valentine - Juno
MP3 EP 2012 | Silber 124
5 tracks, 5 minutes
: Press Release
: Digital Booklet
absence of light
absence of light (reprise)
In only five brief minutes Northern Valentine manages to create a particularly memorable nightmare. Things here rumble pretty heavily. Even the lightest moments contain a deep profound sadness. Happy listening this isn’t. What ‘Juno’ does is create a perfectly interlocking series of songs. More than a few times it is impossible to determine exactly where the last song ended and the first one began. Northern Valentine typically excels at creating these kinds of moods but the time limitation helps them to remain intensely focused.
‘Absence of Light’ begins with a series of acoustic guitars. Known typically for being emotive devices Northern Valentine tries to hold back their rage. The music sounds nearly violent. Out in the back the sound expands into a giant space unknown. It moves towards the horizon, hovers there for a little bit, and is gone. From there a series of smaller interludes help enormously. ‘-crawling-‘ takes only 10 seconds but manages to do a good job introducing the ominous ‘Juno’. ‘Juno’ enjoys hovering around menacingly while high register screams accompany. How it ends is with everything that came before easily summarized with the same pinging guitars that introduced the collection alongside the deeper drones.
The length helps. The sound is strong. Everything comes together on these songs. At no point do they feel ‘tossed-off’ in any fashion. Rather they are carefully sculpted to the greatest extent. For five minutes Northern Valentine creates unsettling landscapes that appear far larger than the playing time suggests.
~ Beach Sloth
US band NORTHERN VALENTINE have been around since the late 1990′s and from their base in Philadelphia they have released a number of albums over the years with music based on ambient soundscapes and drones. “Juno” is an EP that dates back to 2012, and was released on US label Silber Records as a part of an experimental series of EPs made under the condition 5 songs in 5 minutes.
Creating 5 actual songs in 5 minutes is a task that, for the most part, appears to be a challenge extremely hard to master. Northern Valentines take on this one is to produce three short songs and two very short drones, the latter to my ears mostly filler material only. But the three actual tracks are splendid creations indeed.
Absence Of Light is based around a simple, compact acoustic guitar motif, treated with a reverb effect that crafts a massive, majestic echo effect. This creates a mood so strong and distinct that you can’t really fathom it from description alone. Juno is a different kettle of fish entirely, a creepy unnerving construction based on a dark drone with lighter toned, frail effects hovering on top. A contrast explored to perfection to create a nightmarish soundscape. Absence Of Light (Reprise) revisits the simple brilliance of this construction, but now with subtly broken down acoustic guitar reflected in the reverbs and with a simple rhythm effect applied.
If you enjoy dark, ambient music of the kind that creates unnerving atmospheres, this five minute long EP by Northern Valentine is well worth checking out. I’m pretty sure that all who have an interest in this type of material will find the experience a rewarding one.
~ Olav Martin Bjørnsen, House of Prog