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BALVIG's Debut Album 'Carvings' is a Breathtaking Lesson in Contemporary Electronica

Pre-stream the Danish producer's debut album and sift through the spectrum of today's electronica.
January 20, 2016, 10:41am

Imagine spending a year producing a track per week. That's roughly 48 tracks, which makes 48 reflections of those weeks' unique characteristics: the music you listened to, the people you talked to, the films you watched, the places you traveled to, the moods you shifted though. The result of that lengthy experiment can go two ways. It can either feel like a haphazard, schizophrenic collection of random stuff—or it can project some sort of unity or red thread uniting the schizophrenia. Thankfully, it's the latter that applies to Danish producer BALVIG with his debut album, Carvings. It drops on January 22nd, but you can perk your curious little ears to its charms right now by pressing 'play' above.

Carvings feels hyper-contemporary. It sucks in a wide range of current electronic influences, only to run them through the BALVIG filter and spit them out melancholic, moving and cathartically breathtaking. "Kinnawhite" takes some of XXYYXX's earthy darkness and blends it with Kiasmos' orchestral, ethereal touch; "Mpemba" dabbles with Bonobo's jazzy, laid-back vibe, building layers and layers of sound on top like Four Tet does; "Khao Manee" goes full-on with the glitchy and hopeless griminess of Burial, chopping it up with some dub 'wawawaw' throughout. It's fitting that the closer, "Kinnared", feels like a cathartic end to an exploration and a journey coming to a close—for BALVIG made an album almost entirely composed of pulled textures and references from a myriad of electronic genres operating in today's music sphere. As testament to BALVIG's talent, though, none of it feels like pastiche: despite the diversity of directions the tracks take, BALVIG unites them all by keeping a pensive and heavy core that's irresistible and luscious to sink into.

Carvings is being released by Sound of Copenhagen, the label behind such notable musicians as Tomas Barfod and some of our favourite compilations. Also, if you've liked what you've heard here, the release party for BALVIG's album is tomorrow night at Jolene.