From start to finish, minimalistic development and soundscape construction abound in Spurv‘s latest release, Myra. As a newcomer, I found myself enjoying this music as accompaniment to other activities, and it seemed to strongly evoke the vibes of a modern film score. But there are plenty of moments in Myra that set it apart as a standalone record. The band is obviously deliberate in their decisions to prolong the shaping of a given track and, indeed, the entire album, which speaks to their efforts and accomplishment here.
Spurv is a four-piece instrumental post/atmospheric rock band from Oslo, Norway. The band has been actively performing, recording, and promoting themselves since 2011; Myra is their third studio album. One of the immediate differences here is the increased number of tracks, though, given the length of the previous tracks and the consistent continuity of this album, it does not make much of a difference from a purely musical perspective. However, more tracks can inform listening, provide more meaning for extended musical passages, and make the entire album easier to digest.
The band introduces the album with “Et Løfte I Fall,” a 43-second opening track consisting of water flowing and ambient/white noise that serves as a lead-in to the first full-length track, “Og Ny Skog Bæres Frem.” Again, the decision to separate this track does little aurally but can guide the listener to interpret the song complex with greater depth.
The stasis of the opening track is interrupted by an intervening ‘horn call’ at the outset of “Og Ny Skog Bæres Frem,” which forms a Hans-Zimmer-like long minor third as a main theme of the track. The entrance of the drums is quite remarkable; while they are not particularly complex in large metrical organization, the internal rhythmic pattern alternates between a triple and duple feel. This moment (even if in isolation) shows the band’s affinity for progressive approaches to post rock. The grooves are on par with some of TesseracT‘s recent work, especially in the ‘big’ unison tone in the guitars and bass. Overall, the two-track complex serves as a strong opener to the album, though I might add that it contributes to a front-heavy structure to the album as a whole.
The next noteworthy track for me is “Den Gamles Stemme Brister,” which, like “Og Ny Skog Bæres Frem,” is paired with a “noise” track that provides an ambitiously long introduction. Having listened to the album straight through, I paid no attention to the track change as the transition was seamless. This complex is much longer (13:10 total length) and reflects their style from the previous album Skarntyde. The introduction provides the harmonic progression that is then realized in the guitar riff at the onset of the second song of the pair. Around 2:30, the harmony settles into a very slow VII-i progression, a very appropriate backdrop for building the ensuing framework of supporting riffs. At the four minute mark, the drum beat comes to fruition which both reinforces the guitar riffs and projects the length of the remaining five minutes of the song.
As I mentioned previously, this music is well suited to support the telling of a story. The gradual build in texture and harmonic progression provides some powerful moments for the patient listener. I must admit, this is not always me. I lose focus with too much repetition (or too little activity); but this is likely a matter of personal taste. Thanks to Spurv for producing quite an enjoyable record.
Notable Tracks: “Og Ny Skog Bæres Frem”; “Fre Dypet Under Stenen”; “Den Gamles Stemme Brister”
FFO: TesseracT, Coldbones, Trna