Hulduefni began his oddysey into minimal dark ambient sounds in 2011 after hearing the soundtrack to the video game Vampire : The Masquerade – Bloodlines. João Simões aka Hulduefni decided to try and record some tracks inspired by various songs he had heard to date, using only an electric guitar and sometimes adding a bass guitar. In March of 2012 João Simões launched his debut album titled, “Deep Darkness”.
He also decided to name his project and went with the almost unpronounceable, Hulduefni. As he personally explains: “I found this name “Hulduefni” which means ‘dark matter’ in Icelandic. Why the name dark matter and why in Icelandic? Dark matter is tied to space, to the mystery while the word “black” has to do with my music. In Icelandic because I wanted a weird name, confusing and even difficult to pronounce, so to speak, but at the same time not too overdone. Even the Icelanders themselves consider their language difficult. And for all these reasons, it is perfect.”
To date Hulduefni has completed 13 releases between singles, Ep’s and albums; we chose to go with his compilation album,“Among The Dead” to fully grasp João Simões’ initiation and progress into this singular musical genre.
From the opener, “Doom”, there is a heavy, quasi-abrasive immediacy to Hulduefni’s very minimal and dark ambient sound which is also accompanied by almost constant – but thoughtfully applied – metamorphosis and progression. Noise-guitar and drone symphonies, together with eerie short melodies can be glimpsed through the minimalistic arrangements.
Often Hulduefni indulges his inclinations towards the sheer beauty of spaces and silence, coupled with electric guitar and bass instrument interludes. There are lengthy, spacious and reverberating passages accented by ethereal recordings which conjure up a physical place, allowing the listener to become more immersed in the sound. This is not an album of customary songs, but rather meanderings and explorations into ambient territory.
The merging of traditional and modern, organic and electronic has been discussed many times over during the past years. Hulduefni continues in this trend, to blur the lines, making an album that incorporates all three and more and yet manages to make merging these apparently contradictory moods and styles, seem natural.
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Right from the start, this is not an easy album to listen to for the average music lover. The songs are not based on pleasurable rhythms or catchy melodies, but rather on sonic design. It’s like an artist sketching a picture with a pencil or in charcoal, only in Hulduefni’s case it’s the guitar that slowly and gently squiggles the images. And the title of each musical piece alludes to the sounds contained within.
“A Rainy Day In Oblivion”, “Melodies From Hell”, “Sounds Of The Deep”, “(Just) Dying”, “!Epic Battle!”, “Into The Abstract Vortex” and “Loosing My Mind” are just some of the titles that describe the dark, modern, edgy, moody and distinctive album full of atmosphere. It’s also non-pretentious and never tries to perpetrate as just another artsy album.
I do not believe listening to snippets or scraps can really capture what this album can do. You need to immerse yourself into the world Hulduefni creates, a sonic palace of bizarre electronic noises and weird drones, a wispy little drumbeat here and there, and bold splashes of guitar lines sprinkled all over. Unlike anything else, and unrelated to anything else, it stands on its own as something worth experiencing and enjoying.
Hulduefni’s compilation album, “Among The Dead” has a flow and a movement using the most minimal, and often dark little sounds, which weave and blend into a tapestry of endlessly surprising and often disturbing beauty.
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