Juv s/t, Miasmah Records, 2011. Photo by Ane Hjort Guttu, 1998.

 Are Mokkelbost and Marius von der Fehr in Vindstad, Lofoten, 1998. Photo by Ane Hjort Guttu.

Are Mokkelbost and Marius von der Fehr in Vindstad, Lofoten, 1998. Photo by Ane Hjort Guttu.

JUV          (1996-1998)

BEDROOM DOOM

“Juv is Norwegian and similar to the English word abyss, it means a sort of bottomless hole, that deep space between two mountain walls or inside a deep underground cave. It also brings to mind the echoing and reverberation of sound” - Juv, 2010.

From its icy opening tones, something at once familiar and unsettling rises from this sound; the stark, doom-laden ambience of Juv’s desolate sonic landscapes transport the listener to an altogether darker world. Hailing from Norway, the duo of Are Mokkelbost & Marius von der Fehr recorded these tracks in Norway between 1996 and 1998. Soon after however, their friendship abruptly ended and the planned Juv album was never finished. Only recently did the duo return to complete the work, dissecting and selecting pieces and excerpts from the recordings, finally bringing closure to the project, and in the process rekindling their friendship. Now this lost gem is finally given its first official release, finding a home on Erik Skodvin’s entirely appropriate Miasmah imprint.

Juv create a stunning sound of desolation - not so much melancholy, but more a sinister, oppressive undertone. It seems to communicate some form of approaching menace, via transmissions (or warning signals perhaps), from another bleak dimension. A combination of instruments were used, treated and mutated from their former recognizable sounds, added to which were excerpts from hours of field recordings made throughout Europe, completing the body of the work. The pieces were recorded with a multi tracker and sampler, mixed down straight to tape, with little in the way of additional finessing.

“This music is one of expectancy and apathy, longing and mourning – made with the limited means of lost youth.” – Are Mokkelbost

Sombre tones flow like lifeblood through Juv’s work; underlying squeals of pain, abrasive bursts of metallic guitar drones, atonal lo-fi meanderings, the occasional cosmic-chant, all blurred by a rumbling dirge of noise. The coldness of the recordings do indeed recall the approaches of Norway’s most controversial musical export, black metal. Other reference points brought to mind (which Juv’s work either predates, ignores, or at least without acknowledgement, runs in parallel with), might be the New York no-wave noise of Carlos Giffoni’s solo outbursts, the guitar mangling of GOWN (Sunburned / Bark Haze), the experimentation of Sunn O))), and as always, the suitably understated musical narrative, which flows throughout the Miasmah releases to date.

The stark front cover image of a mountain on the Lofoten islands in the far north of Norway, in the process of being eclipsed by another mountain, conveys the weight and perhaps the intent of Juv in creating these tracks. Given part of the album was recorded on location here, the music certainly seems reflective of this environment – monolithic and enshrouded in black.
— From the press release following the self-titled debut on Miasmah, 2011

Cover design by Erik Knive Skodvin, front and back photo by Ane Hjort Guttu.

Edition of 100 CDs on Sonic Pieces, with book bound sleeve and silk-screened front, hand made by Monique Recknagel. Design by Erik Knive Skodvin.


 
 

The film Forsvinningens Gang by Iselin Lønn, with the track Forvarsel by Juv. The film is slightly edited to fit the length of the track. The original film can be seen at iselinlonn.no

 

Forsvinningens Gang was made by Iselin Lønn in 1997-1998, using 8mm film and analogue editing. Originally a silent film, the combination with the Juv track was done in 2011.

Iselin was a fellow student and friend of ours when we were at the Royal Art Academy in Oslo in the late 90s, when a lot of the Juv music was recorded. She was making her film at precisely the same time as we were making our music. Iselin was one of the few people who heard and encouraged our music and at her request we made her a tape.

I remember being very affected by the film when I first saw it – after a lot of experimentation around school, in the summer she had left to stay at a cottage, and once there everything seemed to fall into place. It captures her trying to capture the movement of the wind via smoke, setting fire to water and moving the interior of the cottage into the woods. It was similar to our own summer night sessions on the porch of another cottage, directing the speakers to the fjord and woods, playing for the benefit of boats and animals.

Therefore it seemed only natural to commemorate the release of the album that almost never came to light by finally marrying the images and sound of that period of experimentation in the 90s.


Juv interview, insert included in LP: