Two totemic Norwegian artists bombard and fizz the senses with a powerful invocation of metal and noise energies on a new album for Stephen O’Malley’s radical Ideologic Organ imprint.
The thrilling complex of ’Higgs Boson’ furthers Runhild Gammelsæter & Lasse Marhaug’s fascination with the field of physics following 2014’s ‘Quantum Entanglement’ with Milwaukee’s uncompromising Utech Records. Gammelsæter, a one-time vocalist for O’Malley & Greg Anderson’s legendary pre-Sunn 0))) band, Thorr’s Hammer, and regular contributor to O’Malley’s subsequent projects, is also a professional biologist with a PhD in cell physiology. Marhaug is the prolific, multifarious figurehead of Scandinavian experimental music who surely needs little introduction on these pages. The duo collapse a spectrum of non-musical influences into an immensely compelling sound that, as their LP’s title suggests, strives to confirm the meta- and physical presence of the universe thru opposing forces, and the unquantifiable, uncertain energies produced therein.
Gammelsæter’s vocals are evidently a big attraction on ‘Higg’s Boson’, naturally drawing on 30 years of extended works to project a range of unearthly inflections and affective tonal colour unmistakably forged in the belly of radical metal. As her relatively short but perfectly realised catalogue with Thorr’s Hammer, Khlyst, Sunn 0))) (notably ‘Gates of Ballard’!), proves, few can match her might.
Summoning structural concepts from the Japanese experimental cinema of Toshio Matsumoto, french comic book futurism of Phillippe Druillet and Jean Moebius Giraud, and landscape photography of Fay Godwin, Kåre Kivijärvi, and Tamiko Nishimura, Marhaug, in turn, galvanises the personalities of Gammelsæter’s voice to extraordinary degrees, conjugating their mutual spirits in vast, electro-acoustic and illusively noumenal space with frankly shit-the-bed results comparable with everyone from Diamanda Galas’ tempered rage to the catharsis of Carcass and Rachmaninov’s choral arrangements.
A genuinely unsettling summoning of dark energy.