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KRENG + SVARTE GREINER - The Night Hag

Format: CD
Label & Cat.Number: Slaapwel Records slaapwel xvi
Release Year: 2021
Note: nocturnal drone-muzak in the truest sense: inspired by the phenomenum of "Sleep Paralysis" KRENG and SVARTE GREINER created this eerie one tracker that slowly occupies your mind... and body - "Your body becomes a prison, a padded cell. It is the ultimate personal lockdown scenario.." - great return for KRENG on his first collab with the man behind the MIASMAH label; ed. of 300 copies, handfolded package with stitched cover, plus inlay card, mastering: IAN HAWGOOD
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Context is crucial. Quiet, flowing music full of space is usually associated with a state of tranquillity. It lowers the heart-rate and controls the breathing. It is only one of many ways in which music can have physical consequences. But once you decide to include an element of impending danger, or an unpredictable element, silence is no longer a refuge, but becomes an audible threat. The masters of suspense and terror, whether they are directors or composers, are fully aware of this: nothing scares you as much as an ominous silence that might be disrupted.

You can easily apply this to The Night Hag. Listen without any preconceptions (perhaps only possible if you didnt read anything about this release, these notes included, in advance) and this slowly evolving composition suggests a wholesome listening experience, with organic transformations and glowing harmonies. At least, until halfway, when some eerier sounds pop up and a certain kind of unease reveals itself. So far, so good. Then I suggest you listen again, preferably with decent headphones, with the knowledge that The Night Hag was inspired by the concept of sleep paralysis.

This is a state that occurs while you find yourself in the transitional stage of waking up or falling asleep. You are fully conscious, but you cant move. It has happened to both these musicians and to many other people. And it can be terrifying, as the physical impotence often comes with hallucinations (hence the title). Krengs harmonised piano sustain sounds that were run through Svarte Greiners miasmachine, are no longer abstract waves forming a patiently moving mass of sound, but ingredients of a minimalist mini-symphony of terror, the few discernible piano touches almost functioning as hypnic jerks sucking you towards the void.

Just lie down for a second and try to imagine you are able to hear, see and smell, but you cant speak or move. Your body becomes a prison, a padded cell. It is the ultimate personal lockdown scenario. For The Night Hag, it turns a vague disquiet into a 33-minute nightmare that is as subtle as it is paralysing. Or, as a true sonic adventurer might exclaim: Sleep well. In hell.

Good night.

Guy Peters

Album name: The Night Hag
Artist: Kreng + Svarte Greiner
Catalog number: Slaapwel xvi

Edition: 300 copies

Music by Kreng + Svarte Greiner
Kreng: piano
Svarte Greiner: miasmachine

Artwork: Christopher Michael Hefner
Design: ORDNER
Mastering: Ian Hawgood
Liner notes: Guy Peters


https://slaapwel.bandcamp.com