Lulin is an intriguing left turn for Swedish duo Gidge, whose last appearance on our site was in the electronic section. This time they’ve returned with a 24-minute film and 43-minute score, interrelated but not identical.
The film in fact contains very little music, although its short bursts are effective. The most apparent musical segments are the opening mantra and a dark pair of drones, while the longest-lasting sounds in the film are the ticking of a clock and the turning of a door handle. On the album, the mantra is moved much deeper in the mix, while a host of other effects are introduced.
On the surface, the film is about a man who notices something mysterious at the edge of the woods around his secluded house. When he investigates, unnatural events occur. Below the surface, the film may be about transformation, substitution, or the perils of curiosity. The album considers the protagonist’s state of mind, using various methods to break the silence: crackling electronics, restrained piano, subtle drones. The project was inspired by “a noise on the roof and a creaking in the walls”, and creates a sense of creeping dread. Sure, that thing on the roof may be a squirrel, and the scratching in the walls may be mice; but what if they’re not?
While watching the film, one remains tense through the silent, seemingly inactive periods, waiting for sound and movement. The album goes easier on the listener, sprawling yet denser. Percussion appears late in “Hon”, while the old folk song that plays on the radio in the film launches “Byn”, followed by even darker drums. One has to go back to the film to ascertain that such sounds were not used there; but they fit, as the album suggests the film by adding aural drama in place of visual. “Byn” is so dramatic that it could have been a score by itself.
As a joint production between Gidge, arts platform Norr and film company Lampray, Lulin offers a different approach to the concept of “album.” These Swedish friends have combined their talents to produce something unique, with neither piece being a reflection or offshoot of the other. Lulin is a rich release enhanced by its multiple facets. Watch the film, play the soundtrack, debate the ending ~ it’s all in good fun. Just keep that candle lit and the fireplace stoked. (Richard Allen)