Strom Noir: Dni Stratili Svoju Farbu

At first glance, it might seem that folktronic, regardless of whatever bucolic baggage the term brings with it, might be the optimal word to describe the music Slovakian artist Emil Matko creates under the Strom Noir name. After all, Matko produced the eight tracks on Dni Stratili Svoju Farbu (Days Lost Their Colours) by drawing upon treated sounds primarily drawn from acoustic guitar and then melding them together with field recordings, hardware synth sounds, and effects pedal treatments. But the album's material is less bucolic and folk-tinged than experimental and ambient, however, with the acoustic guitar merely one element (in the final analysis, a relatively minor one) within a total, multi-hued package. The sonic palette is, in other words, considerably broader and more multi-dimensional than can be captured by a single reductive term, and the album ends up encompassing multiple reference points—industrial, drone, ambient, experimental, kosmische musik—as it makes its way through its fifty-five-minute trip.

During the becalmed title track, reverberant shadings of icy electric guitar and muffled tones arise within an industrial dronescape, and shimmering guitar swirls and ambient washes appear within a number of other settings too. In the melancholy “There's No Such Thing As Death,” outdoors field recording details thread their way in amongst an otherwise gauzy amalgam of acoustic guitar strums and ambient washes, while the pulsating haze of “Das Was Man Sich Vorstellt, Braucht Man Nie Zu Verlieren” highlights Matko's allegiance to the more cosmic end of the spectrum. “All Tomorrows Dreams” makes full, dramatic use of its generous eleven-minute running time to enable its elements to achieve gradual liftoff into an ethereal stratosphere. The music's emphasis on guitar-based soundscaping suggests that Strom Noir's music, which Matko has been creating since 2007, can sit legitimately alongside the kind associated with Jasper TX, Simon Scott, Rafael Anton Irisarri, and James Brewster (aka Mole Harness), and also suggests that upcoming EPs on Rural Colours and taâlem will be worth investigating too.

June 2011