Fylgja – “Aska Vors Lands” Cassette (2020)

What is dungeon synth, and why am I listening to it on a wet, cold Saturday, the day after learning that my state is going to extend its COVID stay-at-home order another four weeks? If I’m being honest I picked up Aska Vors Lands because it’s an Icelandic release. But it turns out it’s a pretty appropriate soundtrack for how we feel after being cooped up in our house for the last six weeks or so and now facing at least four more. It sounds like we feel right now – gloomy, gray, sluggish, and a bit desolate. Today we decided to get some takeout for lunch and texted two friends to tell them our plans. One of them came to meet us. Not so we could all eat together, mind you; the restaurant isn’t open for eating in, and the social distancing orders, combined with the rain, made eating outside together impossible. No. He came out just so he could talk to someone face-to-face for 15 minutes after being stuck alone in his place for the past six weeks. We’re all going a bit stir crazy, to the point where a trip to the hardware or grocery store seems like a luxury. You almost feel like you’re breaking the rules or doing something subversive just by getting into your car. And let’s not even get started with the fact that we’re wearing masks everywhere…

Aska Vors Lands captures this malaise perfectly with it’s subtlety and methodical pace. There’s no buildup here, just a mildly disconcerting steadiness, as if it had no beginning and would never reach an end, always existing. That’s not to say the album’s one 22+ minute track is monotonous. Fylgja provide variant sounds, though they all exist within the same mood, the same gray ash world where nothing grows and the wind never stills, not even for a moment.

The digital track is available on Fylgja’s Bandcamp page HERE, while the cassette can be purchased for seven bucks on Big Cartel HERE. I suspect the tapes are fairly limited, but can’t find any confirming info at this point. I doubt they’ll be available for long – all the label’s other releases are sold out, so this one probably will be soon too. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.