Tvpla – Mountain of the Opposer CD Malignant Records 2016
Tvlpa are a purposefully ‘mysterious’ Gothenburg group who surfaced in 2014 and features an unnamed collective of members. With 7 digital releases under their belt already, ‘Mountain of the Opposer’ is Tvpla’s debut album on a physical format, complete with a ‘manifesto’ included on the 6 panel digi-pack. Containing elements of an early industrial & ritual ambient sound, this album contains an amorphous sound and mood which I can’t quite seem to put my finger on regarding either its immediate linage or inspiration. A wide variety of sonic styles and approaches are covered over the 9 tracks and 58 minutes, and although certainly composed, there feels to be a looseness to the execution, meaning I am not sure if there was a degree of improvisation in the playing and recording process.
Broadly speaking the tone of album is framed around pulsating atonal textures, distortion infused drones and garbled proclamations which coalesce into analogue toned soundscapes. Some pieces are very much ritual and ambient in scope, while other ratchet up a spitting, distortion infused shuddering industrial edge. Likewise given that each track functions as a standalone piece which displays its own sound and mood, ‘Mountain of the Opposer’ is an album which functions as a collection of tracks, rather than all material being part of an interlinking longer piece.
Having been actively listening to ambient/ industrial etc. music for 20+ years, there is a degree of expectation of what an album will deliver, before even hearing it. Pleasingly this album has bucked this trend and caught me by surprise given it has been an odd album to get my head around. Case in point is with the ‘Mountain Sermon’ is a bizarre album standout, with its central grinding looped synth melody, and echoed vocal proclamations, sounding something akin to a 70’s psychedelic satanic synth workout. Alternately album closer ‘Descent and Rebirth’ is perhaps the most straight forward piece of the lot, and given its ritual chimes, singing bowls and ambient droning aesthetic, meaning it would not be out of place on the Aural Hypnox roster.
Given its eccentricity in sound differentiates it from pretty much anything else I have heard recently ‘Mountain of the Opposer’ represents a positively divergent album, which not many albums can claim in an overly saturated industrial/ ambient underground.