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pjusk - Sart
You might not have come across the name Pjusk before, I can't say that it rang very many bells in my head either - but the Norwegian duo did pop up on 12k's very lovely Blueprint compilation not so long ago. With their careful blend of Biosphere-influenced electronics and subtle processed field recordings their tracks were a real highlight, and now they've treated us to this full-length vision. Building on their early promise, it becomes evident within minutes that there's something afoot in the worryingly oil-rich land of Norway. From their early days of raping, pillaging and spreading red hair around England they've moved into surprisingly avant garde territory, and in recent years have pretty much conquered the world of Badalamenti-inspired atmospheric electronics. Maybe this was all started by the man Biosphere, but with help from Deaf Center and Erik Skodvin's Miasmah label Norway has quickly become the centre of a growing scene, a scene which Pjusk are more than happy to muscle in on. Taking cues from Deaf Center's murky acoustic doom, Pjusk manage to keep the hazy atmospherics intact while never quite sinking into total darkness. Indeed there's a lightness and an optimism rarely found on these kind of records, something which almost gives me the same warm glow as listening to 12k's finest moment, 'Frame' by Shuttle 358. With throbbing waves of emotion-drenched electronics it's easy to forget you're listening to an electronic album at all and the whole idea that this could be computer music goes out of the window altogether. 'Sart' reminds me of a time when I originally fell in love with electronic music actually, and although electronic albums have been thin on the ground in the last few years, hearing this album gives me back the confidence that it can still be done right every once in a while. Blending electronic and acoustic sounds masterfully, and showing an admirable restraint you are slowly and surely drawn into Pjusk's breezy seaside land, the narrative is assured and deep, with motifs making themselves clear in a dense fog of vinyl crackle and tape hiss that you would be forgiven for thinking emanated from an artfully intense Scandinavian film playing in the room next door (maybe Insomnia?), all that's missing is dialogue. 'Sart' is an album which truly stands out for me, and will no doubt incite the sound of jaws dropping for the rest of the year - any fans of good quality atmospheric music would be absolutely bonkers to miss out on it. Sublime.