Parhelion - Midnight Sun (Cyclic Law)

A German website covering music at the darker end of the spectrum asked Parhelion - a.k.a. Ihor Dawidiuk - 'Wie kalt sind die Winter in Kanada?' It isn't uncommon for doom laden music journals, especially those on the continent, to ask such frivolities. However, in the case of Parhelion the question seems awfully pertinent.

Released Jan 12th, 2011 via Cyclic Law / By Samuel Breen
Parhelion - Midnight Sun (Cyclic Law) Beyond the wall of ice featured on the cover of Midnight Sun there's a frostiness throughout the record. Without any amass of bass the arctic imagery, instead of mirroring the landscape, capturing the booming shudders of creeping glaciers, the doom laden rattling of mountains shaking the record captures the barren tundras, the lifeless chill. Whether it's the reserved low-end or the arid sonic landscape, the record is loaded with clean drone sounds. Each layer bends and shift with ultimate grace. There's no abrasion, no coarse distortion, just glowing analogue.

There's little interruption to the minimal narrative, a lack of ornamental additions to the tracks which feel like singular blocks of sound. The album's climax, and incidentally the title track, features leviathanic warbling. Strangely if features a peak in drum crashes and additional layers from a synth pad.

From the opening soundscapes the objective is clear: to quantify and qualify the endless abyss which consumes much of our planet - and most of Dawidiuk's country of residence. 'Atmospheric Refraction' depicts the biting wind and snow storms. But this is no Shackleton-esque expedition. Midnight Sun is not the soundtrack to frostbite, food rations and the death or companions. Dawidiuk's world is the isolating, unnerving world of Budda Machine owners and post-Metal Ambient.

In Andrei Tarkovsky's 'Stalker' the protagonist comments, "It is so quiet out here, it is the quietest place in the world." Unlike the Strugatsky Zone, Dawiduik's imaginary tundra is central to the narrative. There is no human narrative to the music as it objectively deconstructs nature. Throughout the record there are brilliant sounds, bending tones, shocking electronics and unnerving ornamentation. The ongoing reservation in both approach and sound leave the record detached from human experienced providing both highlight and pitfall.