Dulvitund is the one man ambient/electronic project of Þórir Óskar Björnsson. Reported themes include the human condition and crippling depression. In this way, there is a black metal spirit flowing through these otherwise relatively chill tunes. The 2015 debut álbum, Lífsins þungu spor was well-recieved and saw the project play live at Eistnaflug and Norðanpaunk. Now, under the banner of Dissociated Records, we see the release of and new EP, Huldar Slóðir. While this short release is acting as somewhat of a stop-gap before the next LP planned for 2017, this 30+ minutes of music is no B-side filler.
"Minningar Um Þjáningar" (Memories of the Suffering) drifts in slowly and delicately like silk in the wind. The simple arrangement focuses on on echoing synth tones and angelic ambience. There is a progressive elements with subtle layers being added bit by bit, from the inclusion of electronic beats to shifts in the melody. But a single idea courses through the veins of each song, making the trip highly hypnotic. This particular track has a very icy feel to it. It reminds me of something you would hear on a snow-themed level on Sega Genesis.
"Huldar Slóðir" (Hidden Paths) maintains the cold aesthetic, but the increased focus on beat draws my comparisons to early Skinny Puppy and cEvin Key tracks. It is the longest of the three songs, but never ceases to hold my attention. Whereas the opener had a more peaceful vibe, something about this arrangement creates tension. There is something ominous in the melody, as if something is going to happen and we just don't know when. Finally, "Kvöl" (Torment) closes out the EP as the most creepy of them all. From a conceptual standpoint, it is as if we worked our way from the heavens, to earth, and now to some sort of purgatory deep below ground. This one ends up sounding more like a Silent Hill or Twin Peaks track.
Whether you are into ambient or electronic music at all, I think you'll find something to like in Huldar Slóðir. It's a delightfully atmospheric journey that is highly engrossing. Dulvitund has a strong handle on telling a story without any words, and creating a dark descent without any distortion, blastbeats, or screaming. While I often will listen to a release like this only long enough to write up the description, I found myself putting this one on at work several times. See what you think for yourself with the full stream below.