Fiordmoss – Ink Bitten (2012)

The way to write about Fiordmoss is to be half asleep, at the threshold of illness due to exhaustion, or, conversely, in love, distantly overwhelmed, as though, while looking at storm clouds, you’d have trouble telling if it was coming or going. In this nebulous space, their music can be met half way and it can begin to weave itself around one’s mind like a cold, sharp garment, a gauze and satin hybrid, to be worn right before sex and right before wounding. The sterile caress of these songs is something not easily forgotten, something which can tattoo itself on your eardrums, softly, as if spilling ink were enough to drown out all pain and leave traces of peace under your skin.

Photo by: Jan Durina

I saw Fiormoss perform live in my town, a few days after Floex, in a wonderful display of inspiration by the Czech Cultural Center. Their performance was hypnotism itself. With patience exquisite, they treat sounds like fluids, they slowly perform the alchemy of turning air into water into wax, with a presence about them which alludes to ritual rather than performance. Regardless of acceleration of tempo, every second spent in that concert hall made me feel like time was slowing down more and more near the shimmering edges of the sonic bubble they were projecting around the audience. It’s shocking how different the recording is, but since I can only speak about the recording, I must say it’s just as effective in inducing this dizzying and entirely non-violent attack on the threshold between the wakeful state and whatever happens when you nod off.

This music reminds me of the butoh dance experiments, where the performer would try to shut down consciousness and impulse, and allow the body to move as the body wants to move, free of intent other that that which is dictated by the music. Dream on your feet, in other words, dream as your toes try to support you in ways unthought of before, dream as your body finds new ways to stand, your bones find new ways of leaning on each other. There is passion and darkness and a particular kind of cold, a spectral chill permeating such movements, and the same shiver seems to me to be traveling through Fiordmoss’ album, from beginning to end. Odd, melancholy, fragile, the music has something dead and yet thriving, something basic, like the micelles of fungi, quickly spreading through the cold, damp soil, terrifying and endearing at the same time.

Fear and love tangled together in Petra’s voice, marble, grit, ice and water grafted on each other in Jan and Roman’s bass and guitar dialogue/dance, and the slow pulsing of blood through arteries with the programmed beats, these ingredients meld so well in the trio’s music that I simply can’t find any way not to become completely mesmerized. References abound, but to mention them would feel hollow. The music is just too cohesive, too entrancing, too in control of itself to require any sort of bonds and ties to other names. The pulse is unrelenting, making one wonder about the attraction between things, the inevitability of clashes, like tectonic plates mounting each-other slowly, like great beasts, or the maddeningly slow and yet somehow unstoppable process of motes of dust congealing around each-other, forming planets. This attraction, be it magnetism or gravity, is sung by these songs like hymns; this slow, constant, sexy coming together seems to sit at the nucleus of every one of Fiordmoss’ offerings, and just like the astronomer and the microbiologist can look in different directions and observe the same patterns, so do these songs behave when emitted from recording or in the live environment. I hope you enjoy Fiordmoss as much as I did. My favorite track on the album, Deer Traps, I present to you in two versions, one live, for comparison. See you soon.

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