Athana / Andreasen – “Tapes From Slowland”

coverArtist: Athana / Andreasen (@)
Title: Tapes From Slowland
Format: CD
Label: West Audio Music
Rated: *****
Almost after two years from “Invisible Colors”, Alf Terje Hana and his project Athana are back with a new musical adventures. This time, for the album “Tapes From Slowland”, Alf teamed up with Guttorm Andreasen, who’s presenting himself on his website this way: “is one of Norway’s most experienced and versatile journalists. He has worked as a program and journalist in radio and television since 1985 and has the country’s widest record collection! Guttorm Andreasen is a popular lecturer, conference and stage interviewer, musician, DJ and cultural organizer”. The collaboration grew up with the time after several gigs they did together, so at a certain point they decided to take a bunch of guitars, pedals, effect boxes, different iPads and synthesizers and spending some time at the Rifferiet, Alf’s own studio, to experiment with sounds and atmospheres. Experimentation is the key and I think that “Tapes From Slowland” is one of the most noisy and experimental albums that Athana ever did. With the previous albums I was used to hear Fripp influences here and there along with free jazz, fusion, a bit of prog and stuff like that. On the seven new tracks the guitar is still sounding like coming from David Sylvian’s ambient album but everything that’s around is different and it’s noisy. The opening “Plastic Ivy” starts quietly with distant slow guitar arpeggios and little by little it grows including synth noise sweeps which are coming and going. After a while it gives me the impression of a message coming from space. “Crawling Wall” mix synth, noise, treated metallic sounds and it gets more intense with the time. If you would turn up the volume really much, you would think it could be a new Sunn O))) track. The experimental approach founds its peak with the improvisations on “Broken” where a spacey guitar sound little by little is joined by guitar drones, synth pulses and synth digital sounds. “D With A Stroke” is another tune which improvisation is king and where layers of sounds make it sound like the devil opened a factory and he’s hammering from hell. “Nanula” with its nine minutes is the longest track, along with the opening one and it’s a trip that starts with an ambient guitar just to get more intense and turning into a flow of sonic lava which is getting saturated more and more. When the going gets tough, the tough get noisy…