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Tor Lundvall - Last Light

It seems that some of my favourite music this year is coming from New York. First it was Antony and the Johnsons' I Am A Bird Now and then it was Want Two from Rufus Wainwright. To that list I can now add Tor Lundvall. Heaven knows why but I had mistakenly assumed that Tor's releases were rooted in the apocalyptic folk genre. A lazy assumption, I know, due to his associations with World Serpent, and his striking blurred artwork for Sol Invictus and his previous collaboration with Tony Wakeford. I don't think I was ready for the melancholic stillness of Last Light.

There's a stillness within the music on Last Light. Sounds are sparse and blurred. Lundvall's gentle calming voice - which features on a number of tracks - is hazy and relaxing. It could easily have broken the ethereal ambience created by piano, keyboards and samples. He use his painter's vision to ensure that the voice adds another layer to the sombre mood music. Occassionally the only human sounds are a soft sigh. Keyboards are drenched with reverberations, creating a haunting atmosphere bathed in a half-light pitched in the hinterland between sleepiness and wakefulness.

Last Light was inspired by the locale around Lundvall's New Jersey home and the changing light as it affected his bedroom. It may sound incredibly dull yet the ambient hush of Last Light is staggering. If there is a comparison it would be with the electronic compositions of William Basinski. Lundvall's embellishes the music with electronic rhythms and abstract lyrics but the effect is similar. Whether Last Light marks a new direction for Tor Lundvall I'm not sure but this is an invigorating release marrying static ambient music with blurred surreal vision.

Last Light is the inaugural release on Strange Fortune, the US based mail order organisation, and is released in an edition of 955 copies. For more information go to www.strangefortune.com