Svarta Stugan’s EP possesses real depth. Best during its darkest moments it straddles the ambient and rock worlds. Environmental noises are used to create truly excellent levels of tension. Moody, drifting, it packs a lot of turns within a small amount of time. To fully take advantage of every twist the way the EP weaves its way around sound is incredible. Long after the songs end they manage to linger deep into the mind. A deep sadness permeates the entire thing, of loss, of longing.
‘Os Sobreviventes’ starts off relatively unassuming with a bone dry guitar twang. Akin to post rock it vibrates alone before tasteful electronic elements filter themselves into the mix. The bloom from this level of loneliness into a fuller picture is incredibly sweet. Everything remains true to the overall tone of the piece. By the end the rage of the song is fully apparent with it apparently losing its original restraint. ‘Re-birth’ takes a less linear approach. For ‘Re-birth’ Svarta Stugan embodies anxiety perfectly. Horns wail. Drums work on mood more than on rhythm. Nothing appears to come together; it is completely free in its neurotic approach.
At the halfway point Svarta Stugan tries to collect itself. ‘Second Attempt’ has the stoic nature of the opening track re-assert itself. The only track with vocals it remains completely calm. How Svarta Stugan breaks this tension is phenomenal and makes ‘Second Attempt’ the highlight of the collection. ‘Slow Slow Slow’ serves as a proper send-off, nicely embodying everything that makes the EP so memorable: the drama, the mood, the build-up of mood, and the eventual cathartic release.
Maxwell August Croy and Sean McCann create a warm web of sound with ‘I’. Throughout the collection there is a sense of continuous movement. Much of this is due to the extreme attention paid to sound texture. Beneath the strings there are souls and their focus shines through with a clarity that is startling. Within the pieces are elements that indicate tenderness. Recording techniques allow the listener to feel closer to the music as if the music was right there, with the creaking instruments bleating their happy hearts out.
A sense of belonging begins ‘Parting Lights (Suite)’ which starts with shimmering bright tones. The energy behind it is rather incredible. For all of the hard work though the song appears to herald a bright spring coming from the death of winter. Eventually it grows hyperactive with an incredibly frantic finale. On ‘Alexandria’ they take a quieter approach akin to classical drone. Sweet it soars with tones akin to an aurora borealis. Volume comes down quite a bit for the slumbering silence of ‘The Inlet Arc’ which rests comfortably. By drifting about it manages to explore new territory, taking everything down from up on high.
‘Column of Mirror’ is almost sorrowful in its static beginnings. Additional attention is required to find the strokes of sound that fall out of the uniform piece. Upon the inclusion of a deep bass texture the thing gains new poignancy. ‘Hollow Pursuits’ finishes the album off with playful plucking as the rest of the sounds settle around.