Boomkat Product Review:
The quietly visceral grip of ’Epistasis’ forms the keenly awaited follow-up to Maria W Horn’s ‘Kontrapoetik’, one of the most striking LPs of 2018. Rising to acclaim in recent years as part of a wave of artists exploring organ music in proximity to electro-acoustic techniques (namely her Hästköttskandalen bandmates Ellen Arkbro and Kali Malone), Sweden’s Maria W Horn has distinguished her compositions with a refined taste for black metal and minimalism.
On her follow-up to 'Kontrapoetik', Maria strips it all right back to keys and electronics in ‘Epistasis’ with haunting results that get right under the skin with a slow burning grasp of dramaturgy and precise tintinnabulation that leaves us mesmerised. Working with a 9-piece ensemble of strings and organ, Maria draws specifically on the sound and harmonic structures of early ‘90s doom and blvck metal in her majestic title track, where she pairs live string quartet with an electronically adapted counterpart to stately, anthemic effect, while ‘Konvektion’ takes a more low-key route to higher frequencies directly inspired by Arvo Pärt, leaving a glistening ringing in the ears as the result of two organists meeting in mid-air, neatly described by her label as “[combining] the subtle gravity of Phill Niblick’s work with the theatricality of Anna von Hausswolff’s organ pieces.”
The other half of the album is taken by two parts of ‘Interlocked Cycles’, which perhaps see the biggest shift from her previous records. Between the nightfall-on-the-plateau feel of Part 1’s pairing of keys and tidal subbass oscillations, and the midnight fugue of Part 2, which sounds like a corpse-painted Sarah Davachi piece, Maria hauntingly plays her part in evolving the emergent scenius of new, minimalist composition.