Split – Ole Torjus & Himstregims

Split is the first release from Norwegian electronica mini label Unn Records and, as the title suggests, is a split record showcasing label founders Ole Torjus and Himstregims. The general style of the music is a very atmospheric, yet glitchy brand of electronica, not dissimilar to the work of Icelandic group mum, or the matmos produced music from Bjork’s 2001 album Vespertine.

The album opens with Ole Torjus’s Pa Badet, which plays nicely with a glitching of the melody line and background ambiences, and has a lovely crisp, yet slightly off kilter beat, but unfortunately doesn’t quite ever hit the stride that it appears to be building towards. This is remedied almost immediately by Himstregims, who brings more structure and development into the mix with his first track Pu Dekaf. The subtle melody that slowly fluctuates between a clean music box tone and an overdriven synth really holds the mood of the piece together well above the skittering glitchy beat.

Ole Torjus is back for track 3, 51 Bussen, and shows a much better level of composition and structure than his first effort, marrying the promising glitches and stilted beats with a far more structured piece of music that ebbs and flows nicely throughout.
Get Better is wonderfully simplified piece, with a gorgeous reverb soaked lead sound that is the stand out element of the track, over a very restrained clicking rhythm track. The glitching in this track is far more toned down, and that definitely helps the overall structure of the piece to sound more focused. The same can be said of Pavla which focuses more on the gritty bass that rises and falls in a very organic way.

The skipping glitchy elements of Ole Torjus return in Ga, but a simple shaker and later bass drum part really tie the track together into a far more focused and listenable effort than he achieved with the equally glitchy, but less accomplishedPa Badet. There is plenty of ability on show, and this track shows where Ole Torjus can go with his music in the future as he develops as a musician.Ziggyziggyzag is a playful return to the music box sound of pu dukaf, which is stripped back structurally, but works as a nice transition between Ga andTingeltangel, a far more ambient track with a nice warm drifting sound, punctuated with sporadic spatterings of rhythmic elements.

The final track Lotst, the only track in which both artists team up, was a surprise as it is the only vocally led track on the album. There is a great deal of promise in the song, but it unfortunately feels a little disjointed, and the vocal never really clicks with the underlying track. A more solid, regular beat would probably suit this style of songwriting better, specifically in the chorus, but, like in the rest of the album, I can see a good future for these two musicians even though they have not quite reached their potential on this release.

Delightfully the album, available to download in a variety of formats (including lossless!), is packaged with a collection of artwork to supplement the music, alongside a PDF file explaining the stories and thought processes behind the music. A lot of care has obviously gone into the release of this album, and one can only hope that this will continue through further releases.




About Steve Hancock

Steve is the host of the Cosmic Fragments radio show, he is also the creator and main contributor to the Cosmic Fragments website. On the side, he is also a failing musician, dog owner and shabby boyfriend, he does all of this while maintaining a full time job that provides little financial reward.