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: dis​cogs​.com

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)