Boomkat Product Review:
Two totemic Norwegian artists bombard and fizz the senses with a powerful invocation of radical metal and noise energies on their 2nd album for Stephen O’Malley’s ever reliable Ideologic Organ.
The thrilling complex of ’Higgs Boson’ furthers Runhild Gammelsæter & Lasse Marhaug’s fascination with the field of physics following 2014’s ‘Quantum Entanglement’ with Milwaukee’s uncompromising Utech Records. Gammelsæter, a one-time vocalist for O’Malley & Greg Anderson’s legendary pre-Sunn 0))) band, Thorr’s Hammer, and regular contributor to O’Malley’s subsequent projects, is also a professional biologist with a PhD in cell physiology. Marhaug is the prolific, multifarious figurehead of Scandinavian experimental music who surely needs little introduction on these pages. Their compound duo is a special arrangement, collapsing a spectrum of non-musical influence into an immensely compelling sound that, as their LP’s title suggests, strives to confirm the meta- and physical presence of the universe thru opposing forces, and its unquantifiable, uncertain energies produced therein.
Gammelsæter’s vocals are evidently a big attraction on ‘Higg’s Boson’, naturally drawing on 30 years of extended works to project a range of unearthly inflections and affective tonal colour unmistakably forged in the belly of radical metal. As her relatively short but perfectly realised catalogue with Thorr’s Hammer, Khlyst, Sunn 0))) (notably ‘Gates of Ballard’!), proves, few can match her might, but Marhaug is bold and capable enough here.
Summoning structural concepts from Japanese experimental cinema of Toshio Matsumoto, french comic book futurism of Phillippe Druillet and Jean Moebius Giraud, and landscape photography of Fay Godwin, Kåre Kivijärvi, and Tamiko Nishimura, he galvanises the split personalities of Gammelsæter’s vox to extraordinary degrees, conjugating their mutual spirits in vast, electro-acoustic and illusively noumenal space with frankly shit-the-bed results comparable with everyone from Diamanda Galas’ tempered rage to the catharsis of Carcass and Rachmaninov’s choral arrangements.