If anyone ever mentions German instrumental bands, Long Distance Calling comes into my mind. Noorvik is a new one on me. “Omission” is their second album. We’re led to expect “dynamic arcs of suspense with progressive song structures … an experimental post-rock attitude”.
Initially calming, “Floating” spreads its wings. I hear a variance of the US band Isis, also Bossk and Rest. This is at the softer end of post rock and is like a story about floating along a river. The instrumentals are delicate. It came as a bit of a surprise to hear the start of “Above”, which is darker. A change on just under 2 minutes leads into a slow acoustic passage. It’s nicely played but needs more concentration than “Floating”. I have no idea what the four band members of Noorvik look like but I can imagine them in a partially lit room paying close attention to their instrumental finery while everyone looks on in silent appreciation. This is a band to sit down to. Coming back to “Above”, there’s a section which reminds me greatly of April Ethereal’s “July Afternoon” before it expands again in its understated post rock way. For me this had a false start, and it has a similarly strange end with a rather pointless burst coming out of nowhere. ‘Hidden” returns us to the dreamy, lazy days of “Floating”. It’s very relaxing. It quietly creeps up and presents a more dramatic face. One thing about these instrumental post rock bands, I find, is that their music often has the aura of a tv drama, but I didn’t find that here. It seems more about mood. Around 6 minutes into “Hidden”, there’s a reflective section like a period of lull but then it widens out as if there is a discovery or a new day has dawned. “Dark” closes the album. It’s initially heavier and edgier than the others but this transformed into the delicate tones of earlier pieces. It’s like a summer evening by the river bank. We are on our own or maybe with someone we know having melancholic thoughts. Tensions rise without any hint of violence. As the drum patters, the guitarist runs up a melody akin to the fluttering of leaves. There’s a dark, haunting sound in the background. All the time it is reflective as “Dark” is beautifully played. The delicacy is disturbed as for the first time as the music becomes harsh and heavy. I couldn’t see the need for this, as it seems out of context with the subtle tones which Noorvik present. All is well in the end though as after this brief and minor storm, the album closes with a soft, sublime and calming section.
On this evidence, Noorvik isn’t a band to cause explosions in any sense, but the delicate tones and touches in their music are there to be appreciated. I enjoyed the ambiance and musicianship of “Omission” and look forward to hearing more rom this band in future.
(7.5/10 Andrew Doherty)