As much as it pains us to admit it here at //Prog//, words are not always necessary. Residents of Bergen, Norway, instrumental duo Natt have dispensed with the human voice and embarked on a fascinating, atmospheric journey on their self-titled debut LP. Three tracks and 45 minutes long, it’s a profoundly imaginative piece of work that muddies the waters between dark Floydian prog, noirish post-rock, woozy doom metal and a strangely alluring strain of stoner kosmische.
“I had the idea for this project back in 2011,” recalls multi-instrumentalist, creative driving force René Misje. “I had the desire to create something for myself, and I really wanted to write instrumental music. I also wanted this project to be free from the way you would normally write music in a band. I made room to explore all of my ideas free from the ‘noise’ within a band democracy. I didn’t have to compromise to make somebody else happy.”
As the years passed, what started as a solo endeavour eventually evolved into something more expansive, with synthesizer maestro Roy Ole Førland adding his modular magic to Misje’s slowly developing vision.
“Back in 2016, I invited Roy Ole (synthesizers) to record on the very first version of //Etterslått// (the epic final track on //Natt//). Everything we did in that session ended up on the record. He really opened up a new world to me with the way he used his instrument and he lifted my ideas to a higher level. As for a vision, we didn’t really discuss where this would lead us. I think Roy Ole just really understood what I wanted to do. He also had total freedom to do whatever he wanted.”
That freedom has led to a debut album that straddles multiple genres while always sounding focused and forwardly mobile. With a penchant for faux-futuristic electronics and furious repetition, Natt have much in common with the greats of space rock. Misje certainly knows his way around an enormous riff. But this is a markedly distinctive strain of mind-altering sonic exploration; inspired by cosmic antecedents, both ancient and modern.
“It’s music for your imagination,” says Misje. “Heavy and spacious. It doesn’t change or drift too quickly and it gives you time to get comfortable before it moves. I’ve always liked music that takes its time to evolve, and I find that kind of music the most rewarding to listen to. Motorpsycho have been my favourite band for ages. But, the song that changed everything, is John Coltrane´s //Olé//. It is an 18-minute masterpiece.”
Having already outdone Coltrane’s benchmark work, at least in terms of length, with the truly mind-bending, 21-minute //Etterslått//, Natt are clearly a band with plenty of ambition. Fleshed out into a five-man live band, the Norwegians will take the dark wonders of their first album out on the road later this year, while more new music simmers away in the background.
“I really do want to take this record on the road to play it to a wide audience,” Misje concludes. “Tours and festivals are on my wish-list for 2023. It will be interesting to see how we approach the next album, too. I have a few demos lying around waiting to be worked on and Roy Ole has sent me some ideas as well. I know that the next album will be heavy and big, that’s for sure. I learned so much from doing the first album, so I hope to explore the universe that our music lives in, and expand it even more.”
René Misje (guitars, bass, drums), Roy Ole Førland (keyboards)
Dark, dynamic, instrumental post-metal with a wild imagination
Natt is out now via Edged Circle Productions
– Dom Lawson
From "Limelight - Natt" Prog
Issue 139 Reprinted with permission.