Contributions from Type and Lampse artists dominate Silva, the debut release from Norwegian-based Miasmah, an mp3 label heretofore committed to releasing free atmospheric electronic music and experimental soundscaping. Given that Miasmah is run by Deaf Center member Erik K. Skodvin, it hardly surprises that Silva features such contributors. Though the contributors comprise a diverse lot, the collection’s overriding tone is one of textural melancholy, the atmospheres the contributors sculpting typically sombre and morose in spirit (apparently Skodvin asked each artist to create ‘theatrical and dark organic music’ in keeping with the album’s intended theme). Consequently, a unified mood permeates, or should I say, haunts the disc.
Type associate Julien Neto oozes spectral dread in “Ninety Four” while Ryan Teague’s “Study for Prepared Violin” is an orchestral dirge, the perfect accompaniment to a funeral procession. Strange winding noises and clicks, presumably produced by a camera or recording device, dominate Gultskra Artikler’s “Mehanik,” distracting one’s attention away from the piano playing and children’s voices that otherwise appear. Dusty pianos also appear in Skodvin’s own piece (under the Svarte Greiner name), the predictably gloom-laden and portentous “Traditional Wood on Trees.” Elsewhere, mournful string and horn tones unfurl gracefully in Greg Haines’ “The Tired Diary (Edit),” and John Twells and Gabriel Morley wax melancholic on their Yasume trip-hop outing “Wakare” (‘Farewell’ in Japanese). Some artists depart from the general style: Resonant’s Library Tapes contributes a noirish piece (“The Scratches on the Window in the Doors of Each Cell”) of minimal piano melodies and scarred guitar roar that has more in common with Godspeed You! Black Emperor than the artists featured here, and, on the brighter tip, Marsen Jules’ “Rainy Days in Milan ” hypnotically billows in Martin Juhls’ opulent orchestral style. Obviously listeners with no appetite for atmospheric melancholia should look elsewhere; Silva will prove thoroughly captivating, on the other hand, to those drawn to electronic music’s sombre side.