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coverpic flag Norway - Full Moon 82 - 06/14/03

Famlende Forsøk
One Night I Had A Frightful Dream, A Tribute To H.P. Lovecraft (1890-1937)
September Gurls Records / Crawling Chaos/SHiT Tapes

Famlende Forsøk's first cassette album way back in 1984 included a track called Chtulhu. The band's fascination for the American horror etc. writer Howard Phillips Lovecraft was profound even then and not too long after there were rumours of a Lovecraft project. At a festival in 1990 they presented an entire Lovecraft show, surrounded by paintings of strange, ancient and horrible creatures dimly lit by flickering candlelight. I expected the Lovecraft album to follow soon after. And here it is! The LP-version includes ten tracks, the CD two more.

I'm no expert on H.P. Lovecraft, by far, having only read the first of three volumes of his best stories (the Omnibus series). At least I know he was obsessed with fears and dreams, the latter both of the harsh, horrible and beautiful kind. As quoted here: 'The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear. And the oldest and strongest fear is fear of the unknown'. Which I guess might be a proper short version to describe his literary work. Not the easiest kind of literature to put music to. Well, what kind of literature might be?

Famlende Forsøk is a melting pot of Brt's voice and sounds both strange and pretty created by Chrisph and Lumpy Davy: electronics, harmonium, piano, guitar, bass, saxophone, trumpet... And some guest strings, flutes and percussion. There are few real melodies here, mostly mere moods. The music is not as harsh as could be expected. The band members state the album would've been far more extreme had it been finished ten years ago. "The Dunwich Horror" for instance, sounds melancholic and not very horrible. Other tracks like the latter half of "The Call Of Cthulhu", "The Shadow Over Innsmouth" and "Nyarlathotep" will not work as your average lullaby, though they're still somehow controlled. "The Gardens Of Yin" seems to be a place worth yearning for, beautiful and sad. "At The Mountains Of Madness" is about some men discovering the remains of an ancient civilisation in the Antarctic, not quite extinct... It's the most ritual track of the lot along with "The Festival". With congas, viola, flutes etc. the latter create a feast of some primitive beasts not of the face of this earth.

Famlende Forsøk has been permitted to use excerpts from Lovecraft's original stories and letters. At first I found Brt's recitations with an unmistakable Norwegian accent a bit annoying. After a few spins it seems to add an exotic dimension to the plot, especially to the non-Norwegian listeners I suspect. Although the album might have lost some of the unfathomable frights or stenches of slimy monsters that the project maybe originally included, it's still haunting. The album is an acquired taste. It lacks the humorous elements that make several of Famlende Forsøk's other recordings easier accessible. Though if you're into classic horror literature and enjoy electronic experiments coupled with acoustic and a few electric instruments, you need not look any further.

At the end Brt warns against the writings of that pale, sickly man from Providence, Rhode Island: 'Withdraw your soul while you still can!' For me it's too late. After being drawn into the album, it made me seek out the second and third volumes of Lovecraft's Omnibus series, the best recommendation I can possibly give. 'One night I had a frightful dream in which I met my grandmother under the sea...'

Contact September Gurls Records for getting hold of the LP. Or; Crawling Chaos/SHiT Tapes for buying the CD.

Copyright © 2003 JP e-mail address

You may also want to check out our Famlende Forsøk articles/reviews: Døve Munker Ut Av Norsk Industri, Lost In Laos, Vol. 1, Return Of Monster Attack, Still trying - An interview with Famlende Forsøk, The Tao Tapes, Vol. II, Washing China.

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