Mirland/Larsen “Disturbia” – album review

 

Although I was rather familiar with Mirland – Larsen’s project Am Tierpark, these two Danish music masterminds pleasantly surprised me again. This time their collaboration took the new form. The duo decided to step into the new territory which was much different from the Am Tierpark music course. Instead of synth pop, they presented the quite diverse and experimentation oriented album Disturbia under the simple name Mirland/Larsen.

Upon hearing the opening track “Memories”, I was rather puzzled. It felt like opening a chapter of their work which wouldn’t be so easy to comprehend. The song won’t make you too comfortable; it talks about the unpleasant memories. After the second track, “And They Sing About Anger”, I became instantly aware of the album’s message. It is clearly designed to confront us with the feelings of frustration, doubt, fears, anger and anxiety. However, I can’t perceive this album in the negative sense. It speaks about not so pleasant subjects, but confronting them is the first step in the healing process. Instead of pain, anger or disturbiafear, I choose to see the bright exit at the end of our everyday sufferings. They go more easy on us with the “Hurt Machine”; Mirland creates the most beautiful and soothing atmospheric harmonies for the chorus and Larsen sings ever so softly. “Their World” continues where “Hurt Machine” has left off. We are introduced to the song by the harmonious synth soundscapes. However, half way through the song Larsen appears with his harsh and narrative vocals to shift you to another, darker place. He finds inspiration in the moral values of today’s society; again a subject that won’t leave you coolheaded. Their intention was to make a thematic and conceptual album and it has been exactly that. “Berlin Bill” is a storytelling song, characterized by the coldish and alienating music atmosphere, and it’s the slowest track so far, counting under 150 bpm. It’s stripped from harmonious melodies, but it doesn’t take them long to introduce another melodic track, “Empty Eyes”. Its main focus is on the chorus. The track would work as an instrumental as well. However, filtered vocals create a separate melody and definitely lift the track a step higher. Larsen challenges us again with “Death Mask”; nothing about this song is easy. And that’s exactly what’s so great about this album. It talks about life, and life is never easy. The lyrical content is not the only element that makes this album what it is. Mirland’s craftsmanship is absolutely superb. He proved once again that he’s an exceptional artist who is absolutely passionate about the electronic sound. He doesn’t intend to please many, but to explore new, exciting possibilities and push them a bit further. It would be unfair to choose the favourite track. However, “Destroy Everything” kicked in from the start. It has such a (sex)appeal which immediately pushed my buttons. It’s deep, dark, mystical, yet groovy and sexy. It’s amazing how Mirland plays with rhythm, going up to 180 bpm on “Insomnia” while you experience the overall atmosphere as slow or moderate. “Disturbia” is the last track which rounds up the whole story. Larsen’s vocals are painted in anguish and distress. However, a beautifully arranged atmospheric synts in chorus soften the anxiety feel. Terrific closure of yet another great chapter in Mirland/Larsen collaboration. Keep your eyes (and the ears) on these guys, you can’t wish for the better start of 2018!

Find Disturbia at Bandcamp: https://mirland.bandcamp.com/album/disturbia

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