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Croatian Amor & Varg2TM
Body Of Carbon / Fuck Varg Noel Gardner , December 9th, 2019 10:05

A collaboration between Croatian Amor of Copenhagen's Posh Isolation label and Varg2TM (formerly just 'Varg') plus a solo 12" by Varg all on his lonesome please the ears of Noel Gardner

Loke Rahbek, appearing here as Croatian Amor, and Jonas Rönnberg, debuting as Varg2TM – a little more on that shortly – have both built up a sizeable body of work during the bulk of this decade. Existing in the hinterland between club music and noise music, that we can talk about the flourishing of such an aesthetic in Scandinavia has much to do with these artists. Rahbek founded the Posh Isolation label, which despite the depth of its discography (Body Of Carbon is PI’s 229th release in a little over ten years) chiefly focuses on acts from its native Copenhagen; Rönnberg is part of the Stockholm-based Northern Electronics label/collective, indeed probably its best known figure.

The two musicians first pooled resources in 2018 on an ambient-leaning tape titled Body Of Water, but despite the similar titles any conceptual link between the two releases is opaque. The title cut that opens this four-track EP is brash, futurist grime whose main riff and obscene bass tone harks back to classic Terror Danjah, while its overall sound design is as imposingly chrome-plated as more recent emergents like Angel-Ho. ‘God’s Face In The Water’ cuts up grand keyboard riffs and choral vocals, with a synthesised monologue about “years of suffering” and suchlike cementing the mood; both Croatian Amor’s and Varg’s 2019 albums also employed text-to-speech software. ‘Tell Your Tale To The River’ is something there’s a glut of these days – abstract, crunching rhythms and big room trance melodies – but more than serviceable with it, and the closing ‘God’s Face In The Water’ again has no obvious compositional link to its near-namesake, being a standalone slice of billowing, snare-heavy shoegaze techno.

The name Varg2TM has been forced upon Rönnberg following a recent lawsuit from Varg, a Bavarian pagan metal band. (Neither are related to white supremacist vlogger and occasional black metal musician Varg Vikernes, an association the Swede resents but which feels necessary to clarify for an English-speaking audience.) Fuck Varg refers to the dissolution of this part of his production career and the opening of a clean slate. Or perhaps not. This EP, four tracks on a 12-inch with a digi-only remix of its closer by Polish technoid VTSS, sounds suitably pissed-off whatever, down to its mid-00s breakcore style titles.

‘I’ve Spent €3000 On A New Laptop, And This Is What It Sounds Like?’ feels sardonically appropriate for a bout of hesitant mechanical noise-tease presently leavened by a kickdrum-fuelled payoff; you imagine Rönnberg heard the same echoes of Goa trance in ‘Thirst (Dressed In Nothing But UV Paint And Biodegradable Glitter)’ before he settled on calling it that. No idea what ‘This Room Has Many Faces, Many Gods And Many Faces (Dressed In Nothing But Cum And Bedazzled Angel Wings)’ is all about, other than being very good 90s-style expansive tribal techno. And ‘Parasites (Honest Music For Dishonest People)’ brings back our friend the computer voice to intone “fuck the cops … destroy all systems” over messy quasi-junglist rhythms and subbass thwomp. Heck, once winter’s been seen off you might even hear it blasting from your friendly local tekno party rig in the woods at breakfast time.