Boomkat Product Review:
In the last year or so the Miasmah label (run and curated by Deaf Center's Erik Skodvin) has become one of the most respected, well loved and bestselling labels offering up the kind of home listening so popular with so many of you. The catalogue has been pristine - with releases from Greg Haines and Rafael Anton Irisarri in particular encapsulating that indefinable magic that happens when modern classical sensibilities are filtered through the hands and ears of producers with a wider experimental horizon. But it's this latest album from Norway's Tommy Jansen (aka Elegi) that stands out as the label's most startling, original and breathtaking release to date. Jansen spends his time wreck-diving - a pursuit which involves deep-sea diving into shipwrecks, exploring the forgotten graveyards of another time. The album's title 'Sistereis' even refers to this pursuit; it is the word for a ship's final voyage before it sinks and this haunted, waterlogged theme is transferred beautifully into the music itself. I'm sure you've all dunked your head under water when swimming before, and listened to the sounds of the surrounding area as they filter through litres and litres of chlorinated liquid; this muffled, bubbling mystery is apparent throughout 'Sistereis', the whole album coming across like a radio transmission from beneath the sea. In fact, the album could easily be the follow-up to Svarte Greiner's absolutely epic 'Knive', an album which set the bar for the steadily growing 'acoustic doom' movement, and where 'Knive' was akin to a murderous venture into the dark woods, 'Sistereis' is a similarly bloody sub-aquatic voyage. It could be almost puerile to mention the words 'cinematic' or name-drop Angelo Badalamenti yet again, but it's never been more appropriate; Tommy Jansen creates a damp and half-seen world of his own with tempered electronics, decaying accordion sounds, deep resonating cellos and layer upon layer of collected field recordings (many taken from his deep sea explorations). It's almost like listening to the ancient ghosts of Viking long-boats, lost Victorian cruise-liners or swarthy Pirate ships, replete with rattling chains and creaking bows, yet this isn't a purely dark and depressing experience, there are glimmers of light and hope between the scratches and scrapes, a sense that this is a record which reveres history rather than being frightened of it. 'Sistereis' is another crucial part of the steadily expanding Miasmah catalogue, and proof that the label is quickly becoming one of the most essential on the planet - prepare yourself for a foggy trip into mysterious climes, it's one you won't regret taking, even if you never return! Essential purchase.