VARIOUS ARTISTS: Twenty Centuries Of Stony Sleep (Rune Grammofon)

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Posted on Oct 19th 2010 12:57 am

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Various Artists: Twenty Centuries Of Stony Sleep

VARIOUS ARTISTS
Twenty Centuries Of Stony Sleep
RCD2100
Rune Grammofon 2010
13 Tracks. 75mins24secs

Amazon UK: CD US: CD | LP Norman Records: CD | LP

Twelve years on from Supersilent’s monumental triple CD debut release, Rune Grammofon have reached a new milestone with this, their hundredth release. Twenty Centuries Of Stony Sleep collects thirteen tracks, twelve of which exclusive to this album, from quite a wide cross-section of the label’s roster, ranging from long-serving acts (Alog, Scorch Trio, Supersilent, Ultralyd, In The Country, Deathprod or Maja Ratjke) to more recent joiners (Espen Eriksen Trio, Puma, Bushman’s Revenge or new signing Jenny Hval).

There are few record labels who have developed such a strong and consistent aesthetic as Rune Grammofon, not only visually, there is not one release which hasn’t had the Kim Hiorthøy treatment, but also through its catalogue, which, in the case of Rune Grammofon stretches from abstract jazz, traditional Scandinavian folk to ambient electronic music and from ethereal pop to avant-garde classical to heavy metal, always with a strong exploratory angle at its core.

Unlike the two Money Will Ruin Everything retrospectives or Until Human Voices Wake Us And We Drown, the collection published to celebrate the label’s fiftieth release, which all intended to offer a comprehensive, if not by any stretch of the imagination exhaustive, round up of the label’s activity in the years leading to their respective publication, Twenty Centuries Of Stony Sleep is more akin to a snapshot of the current roster and of the music that Rune Grammofon continues to champion. There are some notable absentees here (Arve Henriksen, Susanna & The Magical Orchestra, Phonophani, Scorch Trio, Humcrush), dropped in favour of artists who, for the most part, are fairly recent addition to the RG stable.

Considering some of the utterly angular and challenging music released on the label over the years, the mood is overall rather subdued here. There is the wonderfully melodic and rich piano-led jazz of In The Country (Slow Down) and Espen Eriksen Trio (Ambitions), the equally evocative  and delicate pop tendencies of Hilde Marie Kjersem (That Day In The Shower) or Rockettothesky‘s Jenny Hval, who delivers here one of the standout moments of the record with the magnificent Golden Locks, the atmospheric escapades of Ultralyd (Salinity And Brine), Puma (3 A.M. Moth) and Supersilent (7.1), the avant rock effervescence of The Low Frequency In Stereo (Aux Club) or Bushman’s Revenge (Barbara). There are however some more radical moments, from the heavily distorted and abrasive short opening Alog contribution (My Card Is 7), and the complex and playful Discipline Of Undiscipline from Stian Westerhus, to Maja Ratkje’s uncompromising Breathe, for which she miaows and purrs over very effective textural drones, built it seems primarily from processed vocals.

The album, released on CD and double LP, is also due to be made available as a special edition box set, limited to only 100 copies, which will include both the CD and double LP, plus a live recording of Supersilent, captured in Paris in 2000, and a special 12” record with two locked grooves from an unknown artist. With Twenty Centuries Of Stony Sleep, Rune Grammofon offer once again a compelling collection of experimental music which while focussing on just a handful of artists and remaining for the most part a surprisingly tamed record, is as essential as any of their releases.

4.7/5

Rune Grammofon
Amazon UK: CD US: CD | LP Norman Records: CD | LP

VARIOUS ARTISTS

Twenty Centuries Of Stony Sleep

RCD2100

Rune Grammofon 2010
13 Tracks. –mins—secs

Filed in Albums | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Comments (1)

One Response to “VARIOUS ARTISTS: Twenty Centuries Of Stony Sleep (Rune Grammofon)”

  1. [...] an earthy bass drum and airy guitar motifs, the haunting Golden Locks, first aired on the excellent Twenty Centuries Of Stony Sleep at the end of last year, to the beautiful pastoral expenses of How Gentle, A Silver Fox and the [...]