Kristoffer Oustad – Filth Haven CD Malignant Records 2015
Kristoffer Oustad of the duo based projects Kristoffer Nyströms Orkester and V:28 has recently moved into solo territory with ‘Filth Haven’, although I am only familiar with Kristoffer Nyströms Orkester’s album ‘Overlook Hotel’ as a comparative benchmark(given I am aware of V:28 by name only).
Regardless, the opening album piece ‘Elberton 1979’ is a strong composition using booming brass horns (of hell) to evoke a martial industrial tinged dark ambient tone. This is quickly backed up with ‘Anti-clockwise Rotation’; a hallucinationary tinged, subdued rhythmic industrial meets dark ambient piece and within the context of these first two tracks it demonstrates Kristoffer to be skilled in writing dark musical compositions within the general ‘CMI sound’. The third offering then comes in the form of the amazing 9 minute ‘Row Me Over’, being part soundscape and part dark ambience. With a backing of outdoor field recordings (forest sounds, creaking oars, croaking crows etc.), these blend with desolate and melancholic sub-orchestral synth drones and low level microtonal cracking metallic textures for excellent tonal impact. This piece represents a ‘sonic tapestry’ of the highest order and specifically reminds of the desolate bleakness of raison d’etre’s classic album ‘within the depths of silence and phormations’. ‘Liquidator’ features as another industrial tinged dark ambient track, with rumbling echoed elements, noninvasive sweeping textures and muted semi-orchestral drones to create a track with a general soundscape sprawl. Late album track ‘The Sun Maker’ is slightly more forceful with its blend of various creaking and rhythmic tones with octave shifting dour sub-orchestral elements and violin synth pads to evoke an melancholic edge, and then steps up again on the final track ‘The Arch’ with a looped and churning sub-militant industrial structure, which is heavily process with bass reverb and undercurrent of creaking metallic elements.
Seemingly stepping out of the shadows of his other collaborative projects, Kristoffer Oustad will no doubt establish his solo prominence through this excellent industrial/ dark ambient album. Likewise with ‘Filth Haven’ being quintessentially ‘nordic’ and bleak in feel, it is a more than suitable continuation of the legacy set down by the CMI (and related) troop.