The duo Pjusk stands as one of the very few current ambient acts that's able to draw two opposites - pure noise and pure music - into the same space and make it sound original, accessible and human...music that's somewhere beyond both old-school ambient (Eno, Krautrock, spacemusic) and ambient dance music, occupying a mysterious and creative place they can call their own.

artist:
Pjusk

country of origin:
Norway

style(s):
Environmental ambient,  minimalism, experimental, drone, low-fi, ambient techno

decades active:
00's - 10's

essential releases:

  • Sart (2007, 12k)
  • Sval (2010, 12k)
  • Tele (2012, Glacial Movements)
  • Solstøv (2014, 12k)
  • Drowning in the Sky [with Sleep Orchestra] (2014, Dronarivm)

Reviewed by Mike G

In an isolated cabin in the icy Norwegian mountains, Rune Sagevik and Jostein Dahl Gjelsvik occasionally meet and make extraordinary music. As Pjusk, the duo stands as one of the very few current ambient acts that's able to draw two opposites - pure noise and pure music - into the same space and make it sound original, accessible and human. These are two artists who sound like they are in complete control. Cool alien ambience with real musical warmth, harsh landscapes with a living centre, textural interest and invention without any of the rather lazy, often unlistenable digital glitch sounds that often pass for experimental music nowadays.

All of Pjusk's albums to date are unreservedly recommended. The debut Sart (2007) announces the arrival of an act that's already fully formed; not too surprising, as both Sagevik and Gjelsvik were already well versed in techno and assorted other electronica for at least a decade previous. On the surface, the music is not too far from that of 90's ambient techno pioneer Biosphere in terms of its icy panoramic atmospheres, eerie calm and occasional muted beats. But dive into the depths and it's soon apparent that it's not derivative of anyone. Sart establishes Pjusk somewhere beyond both old-school ambient (Eno, Krautrock, spacemusic) and ambient dance music, occupying a mysterious and creative place they can call their own.

Sval (2010) is perhaps a little more cinematic and future noir-ish. Tele (2012) is a little more stark and dissonant in its opening movements. Drowning In The Sky (2014) sometimes sounds more like traditional environmental drone music, its chilly landscapes more suggestive of real places. But essentially all these albums are soundtracking and expanding the same beautiful-strange universe that was first explored on Sart.

Solstøv (2014) is extraordinary in a somewhat different way: ten pieces of environmental ambience forged from the sounds of a trumpet, much of it utterly unrecognisable as such. The sound palate is amazingly wide, ranging from forlorn fragments of melody played on what recognisably a trumpet through to gothic drones and huge, slowly lurching walls of ambient sound. Owner of the 12k label, New York-based composer Taylor Deupree, was an important third contributor to Solstøv. The band gave him trumpet samples to manipulate and transform with his Kyma system, a cutting-edge visual programming language used for sound design. The final result is something deeply elemental. This is an album of quiet drama, vivid but always understated, a starkly beautiful masterpiece.

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