Papir

IIII

Written by: BV on 06/02/2014 19:26:25

Now isn’t this great? We’re only a mere month into 2014 and I already get the treat of revisiting one of my absolute favorite bands from the past year. Having handpicked Papir’s third effort, “III”, to be on my top 20 list of best 2013 albums it is, quite naturally, very great indeed that they have already decided to follow up on that splendid effort with the aptly titled fourth effort – “IIII”. However, as fond as I am of Papir, I must admit to having had initial doubts as to whether or not they would be able to live up to the level of skill displayed on their previous effort, on an album released so soon after.

Fear not though - as the first lush notes of “IIII.I” ring through my headphones it immediately gives off a soothing sensation. It’s a sense of familiar, yet surprising comfort. - The feeling of knowing exactly what to expect even though you can’t possibly have a clue about it beforehand. The trio gradually transforms from the mellowest of soundscapes into brief eruptions of unadulterated instrumental bliss on a track that is as unearthly as it is spellbinding. The infectious drumming of Christoffer Brøchmann is, as per usual, the definitive driving force of the band with guitarist Nicklas Sørensen creating ambient, albeit occasionally jazzy sonic textures that are layered gently on top of the persistent, driving bass-lines of Christian Becher. “IIII.I” occasionally borders on some quite heavy territory that isn’t all that associable with Papir – this, however, just shows that they are indeed evolving, grasping at sonic concepts not entirely familiar, yet not at all unlinked to their signature sounds.

Picking up from the rambunctious ending heaviness of “IIII.I”, “IIII.II” immediately glides into a nearly post-rock sounding sonic territory with Sørensen’s guitar producing harmonious, almost ethereal textures and melodic figures. The echoing single notes of the guitar are obvious mood makers of the track, however they would not function if Becher and Brøchmann’ bass and drums (respectively) weren’t keeping such a steady minimalist groove going. Sounding massive and sounding frail are often two sides of the same coin – one cannot simply be overlooked and it is truly at those points that the instrumental prowess of Papir genuinely shines through as they have mastered the ambient soundscape without ever really watering it down to a feeble, easily overlooked piece of music. “IIII.II” is, quite probably, the highpoint of the album due to its seamless transition from melancholic, droning post-rock over to an upbeat reimagining of classic kraut-rock blended with some righteously heavy riffs.

The magnificent 20+ minute journey of “IIII.III” is as intangible as it is direct – constantly bordering on something you can comprehend whilst coming off as seemingly untouchable. It is the defining stroke of musicianship on this album and although both “IIII.I” and “IIII.II” are both widely more accessible, “IIII.III” will probably stand as the technical highpoint of the album that might be overlooked by non-musicians or people that generally don’t feel the craving for 20+ minute sonic escapades, whilst it pleases those yearning for technical prowess.

Reaching the inevitable conclusion, I can’t even begin to imagine how Papir have managed to follow-up on “III” already – let alone face the fact that “IIII” is probably their greatest achievement yet. In spite of my fear, or rather speculation that tracks like “IIII.III” will most likely be far too much for most people to handle, I can’t possibly see myself rating this album lower than “III”. If anything it would be rated higher, as it has been providing me with a soundtrack for every morning since I got my hands on the album a month ago – and I haven’t even begun to grow tired of it yet.

9

Download: IIII.I, IIII.II
For the fans of: Electric Moon, Causa Sui, Psicomagia
Listen: Facebook

Release date 11.02.2014
El Paraiso Records


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