is one of the various projects under whose monicker the portentous und
hyperactive musician and compositor Hjörtur releases his music. Alfar
is the Icelandic word for Elfs, also known as aelf, alf, alp, aulf,
elb, elve and norns. The tales about them vary with time and geography,
but in the beginning it was believed that they were originally the spirits
of the dead who brought fertility to living humans. Over the centuries
the stories evolved: 3 kinds of elves developed: light elves, beautiful
celestial beings who live above the ground, dark elves, ugly evil spirits
living underground, and intermediate elves who live in hills, beautiful
but melancholic creatures. All elves make beautiful music, which humans
may sometimes hear if they are wandering at night; the elves dance in
circles in meadows, living rings of extragreen grass. Only if you stand
in this circle can you see the elves.
Not too distant from his trademark, this is the fourth album by the
Iceland born artist, preceding the other 6 he's gonna release in the
next 6 years after deciding in the year 2000 of making 10 albums during
the next 10 years. It starts very well with a good entwining between
programming and vocals in "Take off Your Shoes"; if
this song had come out 15 years ago I'd've cried out a miracle but even
nowadays it works out effectively.
"I Was Born by the River" is a fairy tale narrated
with electro Pop sounds; shame for the childish backup vocals. "I
Am" flows sweetly and pleasantly, and things go even better
with "Don't Miss the School Bus, Girl", another electro
Pop track; interesting and pulsating, it reminds me of the Art of Noise.
If you're sick with the usual records played a hundred times on Christmas
holidays, then you should fish "Seniorita"; it'd have
been more groovy if it hadn't mantained the same pattern from beginning
to end, though, whereas "Running out of Time" is easy
and repetitive but attracts attention more and immediately, as well
as the Rock/Goth/Pop "Yes, This Is the Way", maybe
the best composition ever written by Hjörtur.
A weird base in the way of Ghosts of the Canal opens "Silence";
or if you don't know the band think of a hyperslowed version of Cypress
Hill under a cocktail of acids and sedatives; quite nice the twisted
solos of the synth.
"Alek Junek", a worthy example of experimental EBM,
is followed by another sensational track of avant-garde electronic music,
"Bumbumba"; finally, "The Corner of Yesterday",
moves slowly and really seems from another time, especially thanks to
broken hypnotizing vocals..
Besides a couple of additional vocalists, Alfarspace is a one-man band
in every respect; a refined and powerful recording don't make me forget
that 3 songs are all but irresistible, yet the remaining 8 are worth
MARKUS GANZHERRLICH - 20th January 2006