Skurken: Gilsbakki - The Reykjavik Grapevine

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Skurken: Gilsbakki

Atli Bollason

Published October 21, 2011

Skurken has proudly upheld the name of IDM or electronica (or whatever you want to call that brand of music) for over a decade. In an era governed by guitar-based music this has surely been a struggle, but Skurken has trudged along and long time fans will receive ‘Gilsbakki’ warmly. Furthermore, the moment for acquiring a new batch just might have arrived.
His latest offering contains thirteen dense compositions, most of which are pretty upbeat and move fast between chords and moods. Glitch is kept at a minimum, and poppier moods prevail. At times, the tracks are almost too colourful, and one would prefer a subtler approach and further development of atmospheres over the unbroken string of trebly notes and triads, which aren’t Skurken’s strongest features. Take for example ‘Kannski,’ a pleasant enough track, well produced, but the melodies reek of midi sequencing and múm.
But then there are beautifully constructed moments: the cathartic climax of ‘Bistisbo’ and the rave-like synths and DnB rhythms of ‘Arnþrúður’ are clever, the 303/acid elements that pop up in a handful of tracks are very original in this context, and Skurken’s appropriation of synthesizers that evoke the hazy world of Boards of Canada is masterful, introducing a ray of sunshine into their often melancholy take on nostalgia. Thankfully, such moments are widely to be found, leaving ‘Gilsbakki’ at times on par with work by luminaries such as Plaid, (Chris) Clark and Ulrich Schnauss.


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