Multiplying waves of “willfully minimalist” electronics create the core of #002 Animai(i) from Nnord. Pulses, drones, and steadily building walls of noise represent “the breath of the Soul mourning the condition of living creatures enslaved by Man.” Given that, it should come as no surprise that there is a funereal quality running under everything here. It surfaces most notably in the dirge that plays out under the rising hum in “Beehive, the Old Queen is Dead.” Less patient or tolerant listeners may not take well to the way that hum grows into an aggressive buzz—despite being firmly within the parameters of the theme—but listen to the way its tone takes over for the dirge it swallowed. From there, the somber and somewhat surprising sound of a morose piano melody leads into the album’s denouement, “Rien n’est plus puissant qu’une idée dont l’heure est venue” (“Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come,” a quote from Victor Hugo.) After the piano introduction, the piece of turned over to a speech by philanthropist and and animal rights activist Phillip Wollen. Nnord runs a straight drone under it and lets Wollen’s words have the floor. The speech is powerful; how much the drone adds to it is somewhat subjective. To me it’s just there, underscoring the potent message with an extra layer of urgency. The “it’s just there” sense sort of sums up my thoughts on this album. I do like what I’m hearing in the way Nnord layers drones, weaves in textures, and keeps things simple while finding each piece’s emotional center. For example, the ominous vibe of “Bleeding Ocean,” built around a central pillar of a rough bass wave that rises and falls, is almost unnerving as it increases in its biting intensity. An appreciation of minimalism goes a long way here; much of the album could easily be construed as too static although there is always a dynamic vein running through, albeit quite slowly. #002 Animal(i) is not for everyone, but might just have the strength to convert listeners with diverse tastes.
Available from Winter Alternative.