What I’m going to say here may sound strange to you but bear with me. It’s no secret that I’m a fan of ambient music having started back in the early days of Tangerine Dream, Michael Hoenig, even Philip Glass (North Star). There’s something about music that is alive even in the sustained notes of ambience or that found in a repetitive string of notes. Musical notes are like molecules. They permeate the air; they live, reverberating the air that we walk through like strings. They fill our beings like drops of rain.
That’s the flow of Yule. With 10 songs that follow the chronology of a holiday starting from a frantically busy train trip home on Christmas Eve through to the New Year, Yule mixes ambient instrumentals with vocal songs. The album begins with “Busy Station,” which tonally reproduces the bustle of a train station but with a hint of drama before moving into “The Train Home,” a quiet but restless, almost foreboding trip home. It plays like a Twilight Zone episode as you transition from song to song (a sticking point for me as each song terminates to silence before the next song without bridging – I like a seamless transition for ambient music).
“Christmas Eve,” the album’s third song is softly sung, keeping well with its atmospheric music while the rest of Yule delivers a satisfyingly chilly and dark view of these presented days – and nights. All in all, even within the holidays joyfulness, there is a disquiet that hums lower than the carols being sung…but it can still be heard.
There’s a flavour of early Tomita from Tomita’s own spectacular Snowflakes Are Dancing album, although Lundvall easily retains his own sound in this recording of a holidays period. Christmas shouldn’t be so dark or silent but if you like your holidays a little on the mystical side, Tor Lundvall’s beautifully envisioned soundscape, Yule, is quite a work filled with the moments of a haunting Christmas, moments that seem to last forever.
I love this work. You can also especially enjoy the spectacular cover art, created by Lundvall. Also, be aware that there are only 333 numbered editions of this album available. Don't be left out.