Album of the Week: Varg – Nordic Flora series Pt.3 – Gore Tex City

Brooding, ghostly atmospheres, born from the darkest corners of artistic mind, and extending into corporeal constitutes Varg’s latest LP on Northern Electronics, and the third in a series of Ambient-Techno works under the Nordic Flora title. An enigmatic series of works that plays on the ambiguity of the artist behind it, it’s also the most “honest work” to date according to the artist, if you were to believe the statement as part of the eccentric social media presence that surrounds the artist and distracts the media. Behind all the posturing and diversions of instagram however is a serious artistic intent and an extensive discography, that has established a very unlikely artist in the extended Techno gene-pool.

At its core Nordic Flora series Pt.2 – Gore Tex City is an ambient album, but hiding between the opaque layers of that genre is something far less restraining and certainly more pronounced than what the genre tends to represent. There’s that initial draw of slow moving, repetitive parts creating a sense of security for the listener, a safe space which is then abandoned immediately as you enter the world beyond it. There’s an impatience that lurks everywhere in Varg’s music. He appears hardly content with anything as he flits from one moment to the next, either through percussion, vocals, noise or just a feeling he communicates through his sound design. The album itself comes across as restless too with tracks like “I hope you are still there” moving closer to the fringes of Techno, than pure ambient pieces like the title track. Varg’s mastery of creating a sonic space draws on a dichotomy of elements that give the LP its unique presence, never resting on one specific voice, but a chorus of voices that informs everything that is the LP.

Even the kitsch or the obvious deserves and warrants a space in his music, with those vocoder R&B peppered tracks like “Red Line” and “Blue Line”making the case for a pop sensibility from the artist. Even the title of the album Gore-tex, alludes to something less than trendy, a whimsical but not mindless addition, and you do get the sense that Varg has spent a lot of effort in bringing all these elements on the album together. It makes this a most varied work of a mosaic artist, and what could have easily been a high-brow ambient- or intimidating Techno work is one of the most extroverted and wholly accessible electronic music works out there, and one of the highlights of this year so far.