Sometimes you just find something you know you’re going to like before you’ve even heard it, but you’re not quite sure what you’re going to like about it. A Belgian dude doing ambient about Iceland is one quite obvious such thing. You know that’s gonna be great before you even read the rest of the review, but it could be great in so many ways.
From the graphics surrounding Vættur’s Einbúinn one immediately comes to expect that this will be pure dark ambient. It’s an all-but-black-and-white image of a fjell by a fjord (they probably don’t have fjells nor fjords on Iceland, but I can’t really be bothered with geological details right now), and a few simple but good looking fonts to round it out. The bandcamp tags promises “dungeon synth” and “atmospheric”.
To call this dungeon synth would be a stretch, but nor is it dark ambient of the variety we mistakenly assumed would commence. Rather, this is pretty well constructed, often piano-driven, ambient in a more general sense. The whole deal is somewhat cinematic (think “British TV-series about the Victorian era – heavy on the women”), but also comes close to a more pop structured Chopin, with extra synths added for good measure. The concept which inspired the album – “the nature and folklore of Iceland” – mainly comes across in the form of Icelandic song titles, sparse and quite well executed vocals, and some sampled winds. Then again, if I were to listen to this on a boat slowly gliding down the Icelandic coastline, I think that view might change quite radically.
For three bucks this is a steal. If I knew what type of label does dramatic piano music with a dark ambient touch and aesthetic style, I’d contact them right away and urge them to sign Vættur.