Spectrum Confusion is Jarl’s fifth album on Reverse Alignment, following on from 2019’s massive triple CD release Symptoms Variation/ Sensory Deprivation. And once again Karolina Urbaniak has masterfully created the cover artwork, as she’s done for the four earlier Jarl releases, also released by RA.
Spectrum Confusion consists of three long-form pieces showcasing his trademark psychedelic, hypnotic approach, but this time the presence of bubbling and pulsating sounds makes the music sound closer to the electronic experiments of Northern European avant-garde composers in conjunction with more melodic passages harmonically coexisting alongside the abstract elements. Jarl’s music has entered its more mature stage here, and Spectrum Confusion consolidates his reputation as one of the most interesting and original European electronic music composers.
Swedish musician Erik Jarl has been active since the Fall of 1999, principally as Jarl. He was also a member of post-industrial act IRM, of which Erik was one of the founding members. Jarl’s music has been released on several labels through the years, and he has collaborated with acts like Anemone Tube, Envenomist, and Skin Area. Erik Jarl composes his music through a total analogue approach with the use of synthesizers, analogue sequencers, waveform generators, and oscillators, as well as several echo/reverb and delay units.
released October 1, 2021
More and more, the territory for Vital Weekly is that of modern classical music, improvised music and such; the last resort of physical releases, perhaps? I am glad that there is also music from Erik Jarl dropping on my doorstep now and then. Just for the sake of hearing something else, also because I have been quite a fan of his music over the years. After all these years of reviewing his music, I still have not a clear picture of what Jarl does. Maybe I believed he was a man of computer technology for a while, but I think that the modular synthesiser is his instrument of choice in recent times. When I was playing this CD, I used some more volume to drown out the clarinet rehearsals taking place upstairs, and it occurs to me that there is a slightly more cosmic streak to his music this time around. I doubt the volume is a contributing factor to that thought. I had this realisation, and I thought there was a straight line from Conrad Schnitzler's 'non-keyboard electronics' to the world of industrial music. Jarl's sonic paintings are dark and bleak; they are slow and minimal. Yet, it is also music of hope and light. This music is not the dystopian cosmic journey of a spaceship returning to the destroyed earth, but rather, well, such as I hear this, a celebratory trip back home. The spacecraft is in slow motion returning from whatever it was doing in space anyway. The additional reverb sets some of the moods here. It bursts and bubbles along the edges of the massive drones. Maybe because Jarl adds a melodic touch to his electronics, it made me think of that. I took a peek at Vangelis' recent tribute to Juno (the Jupiter moon, not the synthesiser), hailed in the daily, but I feel NASA missed out on Jarl's music for this occasion. His soundtrack would fit Juno much better than Vangelis' orchestral brushes. Alright, next time, Nasa, go to Sweden and talk to Jarl! (FdW)
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This Is Darkness
This is another cracking release from the awesome Reverse Alignment label, featuring the hypnotic electronic experimentation that we’ve come to expect from Jarl. Here, his otherworldly mosaics of sound take the listener on a journey into the realms of psychedelic electronica, while staying close to the underlying dark ambient / drone ambient influences and elements. With each play rewarding the listener with something new to uncover in the unfolding audio soundscape, this is simply outstanding.
Spectrum Confusion Part 1- 3
Recorded in Norrköping Östergötland Sweden
April- July 2021 by Erik Jarl
Music by Erik Jarl
Edited by Reverse Alignment
Mastered by Raffaele Pezzella (Sonologyst)
Artwork and layout by Karolina Urbaniak
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