Album ReviewsReviews

Review: Peter Bjärgö – The Architecture of Melancholy (2011)

artist: Peter Bjärgö
release: The Architecture of Melancholy
format: CD
year of release: 2011
label: Cyclic Law
duration: 40:19

detailed info:

Peter Bjärgö is best known as the man behind illustrious projects such as Arcana and Sophia, but this brand new solo album of his is certainly not something to dismiss as a side project. Over the course of this seven track album, which stays close to a traditional LP length, Bjärgö explores a song style that is somewhere between ambient and darkwave, with a strong role for electric guitar melodies with subtle effects to give them a bit of an exotic touch.

The opening title track is perhaps closest to the signature gothic ethereal style of Arcana, with backing vocals provided by Ida Bengtsson. The rich, warm production bears that distinctly Swedish colour that we also find in lots of Cold Meat Industry and Cyclic Law releases. Percussion and heavy layerings are abandoned in the lovely second track, “Bitteresque”, which consists of just a minimal melody and brooding whispered vocals. We find similar calm and melancholic moods in the third and fifth tracks, while “Apathy” and “The Death of Our Sun” are full-blown songs again, with strong percussion, channeling that unique 1980s/1990s goth sound of inspirations like Dead Can Dance and Black Tape for a Blue Girl. While Arcana sometimes ventured a bit too close to such inspirations for my personal comfort, I find that this album avoids that pitfall for the most part. The long final track, then, is indeed a loop, a soft melody gently disintegrating, lulling the listener to the end of the album.

Not your usual Cyclic Law fare, this one, but a pleasant surprise for me. Nowadays it seems the goth scene is mostly about 4/4 industrial techno and fantasy folk, but The Architecture of Melancholy is the kind of music you could still hear often around the year 2000 in the clubs: dark, melancholic, subtle, and dreamy.

Reviewed by O.S.


1. The Architecture Of Melancholy (6:47)
2. Bitteresque (4:44)
3. The Hidden Compass (3:59)
4. Apathy (5:08)
5. A Wheel Of Thoughts (4:05)
6. The Death Of Our Sun (5:24)
7. Sleep Dep.Loop1 (10:12)