Various Artists

Runeology: Recent and Forthcoming Releases from Rune Grammofon

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Runeology is a promotional sampler CD compiled by Rune Grammofon director Rune Kristoffersen and distributed to subscribers of the magazine The Wire with issue number 211 (September 2001). It offers 12 selections from then-current and forthcoming releases on the label. But Kristoffersen actually managed to do a little more than just that. This CD provides an enjoyable, involving listening experience, thanks to a deep sense of programming. It starts softly with Arve Henriksen's "Untitled," an ambient folkloric piece. From there, things slowly escalate in electronic music, reaching a first peak in Svalastog's "Feil Remix," built on either a sample or a figure stolen from Ground Zero's nerve-wracking Consume Red. Tracks from Alog and Deathprod widen the experimental field, while letting the energy level simmer down. Supersilent's "5.3," the longest piece on the CD, then enters. It starts at nothing, delicate, silent, and builds up to a frenetic climax -- the second peak. The last four tracks are mainly ambient, slowly bringing listeners back close to where they began. There is an art of the label sampler, a way to make it sound like a legit creation. Runeology flows at its own pace, while providing a solid proof of the existence of a Rune Grammofon "sound" (and by extension an underground Swedish sound as well), a niche somewhere between ambient techno, experimental electronica, and free improv.

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