Title: Syk Asfalt
Format: CD-R ltd. to 100 copies in pro-printed cardboard sleeve
Playing time: 54:31
Release date: April 2007
File under: Electroacoustic / Experimental / Dark Ambient
"Syk Asfalt" begins with the homonymous title track and its grating stones backed up by a disquieting drone and looped segments of more uncertain activities.
"Syk Asfalt" concentrates on grating and gravelling noises, on the finely gritting emissions of boot soles grinding tiny stones and urban debris. What starts out concretely and almost as a sort of selective musique concrete, is slowly lifted into ghostly abstractions, as weightless drones rise up through the gutters and fill the spaces between the molecular noises. Langås is not interested in the kind of accretions he now specialises in, nor does he dissect his gravel sounds into even smaller, sharper and self-sufficient entities. Instead, the raw and hollistic character of the recordings remains and so does the contrast between the "musical" and the "material". Possibly these mostly six to seven minute long pieces are less to be understood as compositions, but rather as snapshots of street scenes, witnessed at some of the most forlorne corners of town. It is almost like watching a Polaroid slowly take on shapes and colours, before it sails away gracefully, floating weightlessly into a pool of mud.
The fact that one can hear footsteps distancing themselves from the action at the end of almost every track intensifies the impression that "Syk Asfalt" wants to "observed" rather than simply "listened to"... What it doesn't provide is an obvious focus. There is only a scant pool of musical objects and none of them seems to want to take center stage, leaving one unsure about whence to direct one's attention.
Also, there is a high degree of openness, which could easily be confused with aimlessness – "Syk Asfalt" never forces itself upon the listener and needs to be discovered. Once you have, you will find new details with each listen on an album of gentle contours, despite its sinister symantics. Just give it some time."
"Syk Asfalt" takes the listener into a strange wet and grey world, where slowly decaying buildings appear out of rancid fog, black spores trails and growths creep over ever surface and the stagnant air is always heavy with dark threat. And it just carries on raining and raining within this world, imagine if Béla Tarr decided to do a grim horror film this is the audio equivalent of it. The album is built around all manner of wet, sodden, crunching, decaying and crumbling sounds, along with underground groaning of rushing water. Trails of grim ambience appearing ever so often to leak out bleak harmonics, but the main focus here is on sound texture and not ambience... Tracks like "Erosion" actually give the feeling that the inside of your head is been slowly eaten and decayed away - the roof of your mouth melting and collapsing into your throat, as your teeth splash out in the grey puddles that surround you."
"...musically Non Ethos is a sort of experimental ambient music that's actually a bit different than Northaunt. Where Northaunt is generally more melodic and chilly sounding, Non Ethos is drony ambiance with glitches, electric buzzes, and various field recordings that are processed into sound. The album is - as you might expect - calm, but at times it gives me the feeling that something more intense and harsh is on the horizon, but things never really reach that point. On the other hand sometimes the drones become a bit better paced and it serves to keep interest. If you're a fan of Hærleif's work or just want another neat ambient release, than I see no reason not to investigate this one..."
"Come per i piiù noti dischi come Northaunt, Langaas in Non Ethos si muove nell'ambito di una dark ambient che nel caso di "Syk Asfalt", costruito per lo più su samples generati da pietre, alterna episodi più sommessi come l'orrorifica "Yellow Light" e "Sleeping Streets", ad altrettanto convincenti e suggestivi frangenti dalle tonalità più cruente, dalla eccellente title track, in cui sembrano in azione mostruose mandibole annichilenti, a "Regn" ed "Erosion", percosse da una pioggia battente. Di gran pregio la progressione inscenata dai diciotto minuti finali di "Isar" che conduce in brume desolate e prive di vita."
"Italian dark ambient/experimental label Afe has been prolific recently, with a series of releases in stunning A5 sleeves and limited pressings. Non Ethos' (a.k.a. Hærleif Langås, now active as Northaunt) "Syk Asfalt" is one such offering, straddling vaguely foreboding atmospherics and more pure sound design and field recordings. The whole exercise is rather minimalist. Natural/mechanical processes matter-of-factly fill the first 15 minutes. The effect is like standing in the doorway of a cottage with a thunderstorm outside and someone vacuuming inside. Not until midway through "Sleeping Streets" does low end enter to signal menace, human intervention. Otherwise, machines buzz quietly; water burbles steadily. "Snow" is the most dynamic composition, overlaying low drones with found voices, glassy textures, and windswept, mutated organs. Neither calming nor agitating, such patient abstraction leaves interpretation up to the listener."