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MP3 Karsten Hamre - Broken Whispers

Dark and bleak atmospheres from the mastermind behind Penitent, Veiled Allusions, Arcane Art and a host of others.

7 MP3 Songs
ELECTRONIC: Ambient, METAL: Dark Ambient/Noise


Karsten Hamre is a very busy person. Through the years, the list of names and titles he''s worked with have increased exponentially-- each band and title an exploration of a sound and ambience that was destined to become solely his own. From the quixotic brilliance of Penitent, to the dark elegance of Veiled Allusions, finally a solo project bearing only his name, and the title, "Broken Whispers".

What I remember most about Hamre''s work is an ambience that always feels nautical to me. There is ever a sense of vast, oceanic space. It is expressed in various ways through his works, but it seems always to be there, seeping through the gothic imagery. This album is no exception. Many of these sounds seem to come from under water, or inner water. They hint at the dark things hidden in our histories, in our religions; in the decayed and rotting backyard pools of post- Apocalypse suburbia.

Here Hamre takes a minimalist approach to his typically lush (albeit delightfully creepy) soundscapes. The result reminds me of works such as Geir Jenssen''s "Biosphere", with bits of Lustmord and K.K. Null thrown in for both ominous rhythm and outer darkness. Unlike with some previous works, there are no poems, no words, no hints, no clues in the album art. Only simple, majestic, black and white cemetery photos.

This recording is beautiful and frightening. It calls to mind landscapes of utter destruction and despair-- much like those we never seem to see on our news any more, from New Orleans, or Mississippi, or Falluja. The journey through 51 minutes is sobering. At the same time, the sadness moves under a veil of asylum; an isolation by hiddenness. A silent observer. Broken Whispers.

I definitely recommend this album, with the caveat that if you require happy endings or respites of light with your darkness, you should not enter here. To fall into these sounds is to abandon all hope. If these indeed are sounds built around field recordings, (and they are,) I shudder to envision the field.

February 22, 2006
By Ginnie Moon
10 of 10

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