About a year ago the multi-talented and multi-instrumentalist Swartadauþuz presented a new album with Bekëth Nexëhmü, one of his most prolific projects. And if he does something, he does it well: this album has a playing time that clocks no less than two full hours, with all tracks divided over 2 CD’s or 3 vinyl LP’s. If you thought that was all, this new record is the first of a series of four albums that would see the light of day in the upcoming months. By the time I am writing this, three of those already surfaced and we are eagerly awaiting for that fourth one. But, first thing first: this album, with a title so long that it lives up to its playing time.
The big question is whether we should really regard this as a new album, basically we are listening to yet another compilation of re-recorded tracks. Everyone who is keeping an eye on Swartadauþuz’ musical career knows that he is capable of reusing tracks multiple times and a good part of his musical legacy consists of compilation albums. On ‘De Fornas Likgaldrar’ there is basically only one new track and that is a nearly twenty-minutes clocking Ambient track, all other songs have been featured on various demos in one form or another (with one song being cut in half, going from a whopping 40 minute track to the still staggering duration of 20 minutes).
The big difference between those earlier incarnation of the songs is the recording quality. You could argue that the initial purpose of demos is to actually ‘demo’ a track, if you follow that ideology, then it all makes a lot more sense. These properly recorded tracks are doing a lot more justice to the compositions. While still sounding raw, they do not nearly sound as Lo-Fi as in their earlier stage, making for a brighter ambience, especially in the way the drums sound – giving it a sharper punch and a more firm beat. The deeply melodic yet melancholic touch is still very much there, in fact, the enhanced production gives the overall atmosphere an even icier ambience.
While the music on offer in general is definitely worth listening to, the overall feeling is just that this is an album that is way too long. With such an unstoppable urge to write and record music it is all the more vital to remain very critical at your own material and you should be willing to discard some of your ideas. I guess that is the downside of today’s technical possibilities to self-record just anything in your own bedroom. But to sit through a two hour album like this, with very little diversity, is quite an exhausting ride, regardless of its initial quality.