Originally released in 1998 as a limited edition LP on Biosphere?s Biophon label, Rune Grammofon has fetched Phonophani?s first release from the vaults to deliver it to a wider audience, including three bonus tracks recorded in the same period as the album. Phonophani is the solo moniker of Espen Sommer Eide, also active in the Alog duo.
Eide?s take on electronic music is very cinematic and more often discomforting than uplifting. All the tracks on ?Phonophani? are highly challenging and always interesting. Eide hardly ever contents himself with building ambience through linear structures or simply layering sounds. At the beginning of many tracks you don?t have any idea how they might end up. There are some recurring elements as well as more minimally built tracks like the shifting and rhythm-oriented ?No Strangeclock?. Most tracks are like a journey into the unknown though. Eide?s tracks have a dreamlike quality, images coming and going, becoming blurred memories, fading away and being replaced by others in a translucent way. Not that ?Phonophani? would cause nightmares, but the overall mood on most tracks is rather sombre. Eide?s use of orchestral string arrangements adds to that effect. This unsettling atmosphere culminates in the seriously spooky ?Sol? that starts and ends with field recordings possibly recorded in the waiting hall of a train station or on a playground. Looped children?s voices and a dark bassline take over in the middle of the track.
There are exceptions to the just mentioned sombre mood. On ?C?, the most linear track of the album, Eide loops a folky guitar line that could come from Bert Jansch or Nick Drake and attaches digital effects to it. ?C? contains some of the warmest moments on the album. Also the second bonus track ?Farger Rundt Hvitt? leaves a relatively friendly impression. But viewed in its entirety, ?Phonophani? is certainly not an album for daily use. There is a lot to absorb and digest, which isn?t always that easy. 6/10 -- Stephan Bauer (2 October, 2006)