Jonatan Nilsson and Ludvig Stolterman, the members of Gidge grew up together in Umeå, a small city in Sweden. Their ambient electronic music is clearly inspired by the woody and snowy landscapes surrounding them. Sweet and rough, melancholic and full of hope at the same time, their music is clearly graphical. Their new album fits this description too, and it could be seen as the continuation of a long journey in which they started to take three years ago with their previous release ‘Autumn Bells’ (2014). We are, once more plunged into a desolate moor. Yet, with ‘LNLNN’ it’s as if we went from autumn to winter : In ‘Autumn Bells’, the melancholia often led to an explosion of feelings, an almost festive impression. ‘LNLNN’ is calmer, very meditative while giving a feeling that is at the same time quite distressing and at times darker.
To the beats sampled from struck wood, the organic feel, the duo have added more metallic sounds that gives an overall industrial feel. Ludvig says he has been inspired by the strange noises that frightened him while living alone in the old baker’s cabin on his mother’s farm.
The idea for ‘LNLNN’ comes from the improvement of another project they carried out with friends from school in Umeå. ‘Lulin’ (2016) is a joint creation of Gidge, film production company Lampray and arts platform Norr : « a project where film and music are separated, yet strongly connected » (atomnation.bandcamp.com). While playing ‘Lulin’ live, the band started filling the atmospheric sounds with these new beats and textures, and gave birth to their album. In the openning track ‘Eyes Open’, we can even hear bits of the samples used on the last track of ‘Lulin’.
Like in ‘Autumn Bells’, there is again a lot of depth to this album but there is no more clear disparity between the background and the foreground. That makes it fluid, mysterious and mystic. In fact, in the track ‘Elegy pat II’ the strings sound like disembodied shouts, like ghosts.
‘Midra’ is a stand out track. It has the peculiarity of being composed of a mix of magical prayer like vocals and saturated guitars. The result is something unique , it’s like a trance, it’s tiring in the best possible way.
The only disappointing aspect to the album is that the tracks feel they could have been listed in a more articulated way. It gives radically different feelings from one track to the next, which at times can feel slightly dis-jointed. ‘White Curtains’ is almost terrifying, ‘Lit’ is trippier with its percussion – but maybe in a strange way that’s the albums charm.
The journey continues, the album is still very progressive. The last track, ‘Hope’ comes like a deliverance to the struggle in which we were driven with its sad but weirdly reassuring vocals. Gidge has managed to offer us a fascinating new experience while keeping some of the charm from their previous releases .