Antipole is a coldwave/post-punk project from Trondheim, Norway, and the second act from Norway that I’ve featured on this blog (the first being Sherpa, who I featured in July 2016). They just dropped their first full length album Northern Flux. Released through Unknown Pleasures Records, the ambitious new album contains 14 tracks, including five remastered songs originally featured on their previous EP Getting Frequent Now.
Essentially a solo project of songwriter/guitarist Karl Morten Dahl, Antipole was formed in early 2014, after Karl met Anne-Christel. He had previously written songs and been in other bands, but was inspired by Anne-Christel to write and record more music on his own in an early 80s new wave and post-punk style. In 2014, Antipole released a debut digital-only EP Panoply. Songs for AC, that featured eight instrumental tracks. This was followed with a second EP Getting Frequent Now in early 2017.
The songs on Northern Flux were written by Karl in collaboration with Paris Alexander and Eirene, both of whom are from Brighton, UK, and also provided ethereal vocals for all the tracks. The album was recorded at Lysverkvegen in Trondheim, Norway, and Blue Door Studio in Brighton,UK, and produced, mixed and mastered by Paris.
In an interview with Jeff Haight of the web magazine Overblown (which you can read here), Karl describes Antipole and some of the influences on their sound:
“I’m trying to create addictive, melancholic coldwave/post-punk. When I started Antipole in early 2014 the idea was to write melodies and record them in a way that they sounded like a post-punk band recording from 1982. I started recording songs again after I met Anne-Christel. She’s heavily into obscure post-punk old and new, and listening to that inspired me a lot. Obvious influences were and are New Order, Joy Division and The Cure. Not as obvious influences would be The Chameleons, The Sound and also newer bands like The KBV, Motorama and Mode Moderne. Whether the influences can be heard or not I’m not the one to decide. “Disintegration” by The Cure has been kind of a gold template to me. Very sad and emotional music, yet so beautiful. The songs have gotten more electronic after I started collaborating with Paris Alexander. He has also contributed a lot to song ideas/arrangements/writing and of course vocals plus writing his lyrics. Lately Eirene has also contributed a lot.”
Beginning with album opener “October Novel,” the strong influences of Joy Division and The Cure can clearly be heard in Antipole’s mesmerizing sound. Hypnotic dance beats, jangly guitar-driven melodies and dreamy synth chords are the distinctive elements of their music. Paris’ and Eirene’s distant, almost chant-like vocals are strangely seductive, lending an otherworldly feel to most tracks. Each track flows effortlessly into the next, allowing the listener to become swept away by the spellbinding rhythmic beats.
A standout track is “Shadow Lover,” with it’s powerful, throbbing bass line and intricate, jangly guitar work. With a hint of menace in his breathy vocals, Paris sings “You see through me. And I want you. I still want you. Yes I want you.”
Another of my favorites is the captivating 8 1/2 minute-long “Narcissus.” A pulsating beat drives the track forward as mysterious synths and a constant jangly guitar riff play off each other, gradually building in intensity as the song progresses. Paris hauntingly chants “I see you.”
1. October Novel
2. Shadow Lover
3. Dans l’entrée
4. Summer Never Ends
5. Reflected in You
6. Magnolia Skies
7. All Alone
8. Le Châtelet
9. Someday 45
11. Distant Fall
13. Please Let Me Sleep
14. Insight (Joy Division Cover)