120 Days – II

January 01, 1970





Five years
after the self-titled debut, 120 Days returns with synth-pulsing,
snare-snapping, endless horizoned grooves. A spate of success after the first
album upped the pressure and nearly tore the Norwegian foursome apart, but the
principals — Jonas Dahl, Arne Kvalvik, Kjetil Ovesen, and Ådne Meisfjord –
gradually found a way to work together again in an idiom that is almost an
engineer’s diagram of hedonistic release, most of the time chilly, cerebral and
dryly beat-driven but prone to sudden, giddy surges in communal energy.


here, is the most pop and accessible tune, a folky murmur braced by subtle,
subterranean pulses of electronic energy. “Dahle Disco,” at the other extreme,
is the most austere, balancing funk’s insistence on the twos and fours with
techno’s abstract, blueprint rendering of dance. This ten-plus minute track,
the longest on the disc, works at a pulsing, metronomic pace, its forward
progress marked by the unvarying thump and thwack of drums. The journey is
brightened by passing scenery, sonic elements that flash past as you move on,
flaring up in a measure or two, then subsiding into rhythmic same-ness. There’s
an interesting three dimensionality to the track as well, as sounds rush up at
you, then suddenly fall away. It’s as if bleats of synthesizer, thumps of
percussion were tennis balls flying in and being whacked away.  


A few of
the tracks – “Spacedoubt”, “Lucid Dreams Part II”, “Sunkissed” – add vocals, a
rough, disheveled element that takes the edge of II‘s extreme cleanliness. “Osaka,”
which closes out the disc, has the most weight and friction, its beats
turbulent with ragged amplification, its synth sounds frayed and blared in
overload, its vocals grainy, husky, entirely human. There’s a dichotomy in II between the hot sensuality of dance
and the chilly purity of electronic sound, but “Osaka” manages to bring these elements
together… without turning lukewarm in the process.



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