VA: Gothenburg 08
Fang Bomb

Like its distant predecessor Gothenburg 84, the hour-long Gothenburg 08 features previously unreleased work produced by innovative electronic and experimental artists associated with the city. The line-up's certainly promising, with The Skull Defekts, Porn Sword Tobacco, Jasper TX, and Dead Letters Spell Out Dead Words four of the ten contributors. Gothenburg 08 is an album of sonic extremes with some tracks easy on the ears, and others less so. Anders Dahl's engrossing electroacoustic exploration “Strätta, flockblomstriga 4” overlays slow-motion elements of peaceful calm with splintering shards of eardrum-shredding noise, while Joel Brindefalk's “Monitoring My Own Death” offers a four-minute lesson in bruising clatter and combustible noise; needless to say, Porn Sword Tobacco's pretty wonderlands of piano and synthesizer melodies (“Feminin arkitektur,” “Ett jaläger och ett nejläger”) go down considerably easier.

The compilation is almost split evenly between harsh and gentle moments: on the one hand, there's Dead Letters Spell Out Dead Words' “Facelessness Erases Every Trace of Humanity,” where scarred guitars shriek over a pounding base so loudly they almost drown out the chanted vocals, and The Skull Defekts' eight minutes of churning snarl and rumble (“Invocation of Brother Rune Lindblad”); on the other, there's Jasper TX's “And I Close My Eyes,” a lovely ambient orchestral setting of melancholy romanticism, and Sewer Election's “Mot döden,” a dazed, Jeck-styled setting of hiss, vinyl crackle, and muffled loops. Inhabiting a rare middle ground is Viktor Sjöberg & Jonas Lindgren's shimmering drone “Guldheden.” Though some pieces may soften its blow, Gothenburg 08 remains a provocative and uncompromising collection that's designed with the open-minded listener in mind.

August 2008