(New Album Review) øjeRum- Stilhedens Strømmen I Fuglenes Blod

Since 2007, Denmark’s Paw Grabowski has used his project øjeRum to explore inner space (the name “øjeRum” is a portmanteau of the Danish words for “eye” and “room”) through an eclectic mixture of delicate acoustic finger-picking and ghostly electric swells. He seems equally comfortable working in the vein of introspective ballads (check Fraværsminder) as he does with ethereal electro-acoustic ambient sounds like last year’s He Remembers There Were Gardens, an alternate soundtrack to one of Chris Marker’s films– what unites the separate threads of all his diverse work is that its aesthetic is all drawn from one self-contained world of monochrome mental imagery. Stilhedens Strømmen I Fuglenes Blod (“The Flow Of Silence In The Birds’ Blood”), a self-released half-hour instrumental track from September (sold-out, but soon to be made available for purchase again through Tomentosa Records), might be the best starting point one could have for the sonic world of øjeRum.

There’s a kind of a spiritual, even religious association that comes up in one’s mind when faced with decayed black and white film. One picks up on these associations especially in European and Japanese Art-House cinema, in which it’s the tissue of projected ancient tales and modern dreams. In a way it makes perfect sense that Grabowski is also a visual artist whose speciality happens to be handcut collages of gray-scale and sepia-toned imagery, because the emotional affect of his music is so strongly evocative in a dream-like way– gossamer sonic details compound to create faded scenes of shadowy forests. The slow arpeggios from the acoustic guitar endlessly repeating, muted field-recordings, rustles in the dark, distant bells…all these elements come straight out of an austere pastoral vision along the lines of a scene from Vampyr by Carl Dreyer. The beauty of decay– diffused to form a landscape. You’ll have to tune into this one if you are into field recording, drone folk, and the European side of minimal sounds, in the company of Andrew Chalk and Vikki Jackman.

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