Daudi Baldrs

Daudi Baldrs

An ultimate example of how severe limitations can stoke an artist’s creativity, Daudi Baldrs was recorded while its artist was imprisoned without access to his standard instruments. With only occasional access to synthesizers, Varg Vikernes (the one-man band behind Burzum) managed to write and record this collection of synthesizer instrumentals, which were originally presented with a series of texts based on the life and death of Baldr, the Norse god of light and purity. The album’s thematic ties to pagan philosophy run deep—it was, after all, written at a time when Varg had a lot of time for solitary rumination. But solely as a musical statement, the album is strikingly unique. While these tracks could be sketches for more ambitious full-band renditions, they're intricate and haunting on their own. The tone veers from peculiar (“Daudi Baldrs”) to pretty (“Hermodr a Helferd”) to menacing (“Balferd Baldrs”). At times the album feels like the aural equivalent of an incredibly intricate puppet show, performed with very simple handmade figures. Best of all, the music confirms Varg’s outspoken contempt for the conventions of the death metal scene that reveres him.

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