Konntinent ~ Kiruna

Named after the northern-most Swedish city, Kiruna is moody, atmospheric electronica and although many of the tracks are beatless, it’s assuredly not passive ambient music. It’s less chill-out and more like a blast of frozen air from the northern wastes, carrying the voices of trolls on the wind. Perhaps a release date earlier in the year would have been more suitable as it’s currently being listened to in the ACL offices during an unseasonal spike in the temperature; however, such is the power of persuasion in the music that it feels like the room has dropped a few degrees.

Indeed the album as a whole is full of extended explorations into the strength of subliminal suggestion within music. When it’s not chilly, it’s spooky, as if Antony Harrison (for he is Konntinent) composed this cut-off from civilisation and daylight, in a paranoid frame of mind when any creak or rattle spells potential doom. He describes it himself as attempting to capture the terminal darkness of the Arctic and its composition is the result of long nights in the depths of a London winter in January and February 2011 – and whilst not quite as isolated or frozen as Arctic conditions, the phrase ‘too bloody cold to go out’ would be an apt enough way to capture the experience.

For all of its trappings of cold atmosphere and frozen air, Kiruna is a very approachable record, with few tangential turns to disturb or distract from the mood it conjures up. Indeed, distraction is the one thing this album doesn’t need – for it to weave its magic fully, late night listening is recommended. But be warned of its effects – such is its power that you’ll want to grab an extra blanket and sleep with the lights on. (Jeremy Bye)

Available here

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