Followers of witch house project ∆AIMON need no convincing that its male counterpart contains an aberrant knack for creating nearly unclassifiable, complex dimensions of hypnotizing occult electronica. Brant Showers, usually aided by his wife in the aforementioned sobriquet, meticulously descends alone through blackened layers of love, loss, and death in his first outing under a moniker that rouses an equal level of curiosity. Refusing to be viewed as a mere extension of his previous efforts, SØLVE intersperses occult noises, fragmented industrial, unnerving drone, and emotive classical instrumentation amid direful rhythms in this intoxicating, melancholic debut.
“Svovel” wastes no time conjuring gothic imagery – lurking shadows, squawking ravens, clock towers, satanic rituals – all increasingly consuming the listener as each texture unravels in its elaborate, grayish despair-doused world. Tortured gasps slink through curtains of murky drone, eerie distortion, and ritualistic pounds in the surreal, claustrophobic “Salt.” Although stripped of the apposing vocals that usually accompany most of his creations, Showers still manages to masterfully weave a distinct mood with its myriad of imagery into every track, intensifying its ominous soundscapes with virtually each passing second. The story concludes with the typical yet pleasing “Kvikksølv,” evocative of a medieval inspired execution setting with its subtle roiling serpentine noise layers and solemn clanks underscoring the urgency of piano and violin arrangements; it’s truly breathtaking at times, especially when the hazy cacophony engulfs the latter part of the track.
While understandably falling within the predictable thematic confines that dark ambient music inevitably does, Brant Showers’ precocious SØLVE is already placed well outside of the sea of emerging likeminded acts with his tenebrous, absorbing realms that augur only better things to come. Quality over quantity definitely seems to work for this skilled musician, as the 20 minutes of Svovel | Salt | Kvikksølv proves to be a haunting outing that should not slip under any dark ambient lover’s radar.