Ljerke is a live project that uses the Frisian landscape for inspiration. With artists from the Netherlands (Romke Kleefstra, Jan Kleefstra, Sytze Pruiksma and video artist Marco Douma) and Norway (Alexander Rishaug, Hilde Marie Holsen and Michael Duch), as well as Icelandic video artist Haraldur Karlsson, the international collaboration is a behemoth when it comes to numbers, but musically, the result is a constricted sound full of cold design and blackened sunshine.
The project has been daubed with poetry, spoken word and film, and in the live and improvised music, slightly ominous textures and frigid electronics gather for midnight communion. Some tracks, like ‘Waarbekkasin’, move from dissonance to light. The darkened air slowly clears, moving from a swirling, smoky aftermath to something brighter.
The music itself is an eerie whisper, gracing the tips of protruding cliffs and passing over the final stretch of the North Sea; dislocated, skittering sounds, lightly salted by an even lighter, abrasive kind of grit, pass from one side to the other, becoming stronger with every passing second.
It’s an off-road, shadow-fuelled experience, but it’s never too dissonant or jarring. There’s a harmonious side to the music as a bleak light occasionally glints through it; in tune with an out-of-tune environment. Its stark, experimental flavour makes for honest music.
A rough texture pervades the album and grates against the skin, like the chilled bark of a tree’s manifesting skeleton. This far north, bones are quick to freeze, thanks in part to the whipped assault of a raw sea wind. This is an authentic album with plenty of body as well as a pretty decent punch. Actually, the heaving, lengthy and rumbling drones are reminiscent of the decibel-shredding Sunn O))), replacing an overdosed distortion spikier than Sonic the Hedgehog with a titanic, thick and dark cello that somehow matches the overdrive for sheer intensity and even beats it when it comes to natural flow. Ljerke provide music for the shadows.