US band NORTHERN VALENTINE have been around since the late 1990’s and from their base in Philadelphia they have released a number of albums over the years with music based on ambient soundscapes and drones. “Juno” is an EP that dates back to 2012, and was released on US label Silber Records as a part of an experimental series of EPs made under the condition 5 songs in 5 minutes.

Creating 5 actual songs in 5 minutes is a task that, for the most part, appears to be a challenge extremely hard to master. Northern Valentines take on this one is to produce three short songs and two very short drones, the latter to my ears mostly filler material only. But the three actual tracks are splendid creations indeed.

Absence Of Light is based around a simple, compact acoustic guitar motif, treated with a reverb effect that crafts a massive, majestic echo effect. This creates a mood so strong and distinct that you can’t really fathom it from description alone. Juno is a different kettle of fish entirely, a creepy unnerving construction based on a dark drone with lighter toned, frail effects hovering on top. A contrast explored to perfection to create a nightmarish soundscape. Absence Of Light (Reprise) revisits the simple brilliance of this construction, but now with subtly broken down acoustic guitar reflected in the reverbs and with a simple rhythm effect applied.

If you enjoy dark, ambient music of the kind that creates unnerving atmospheres, this five minute long EP by Northern Valentine is well worth checking out. I’m pretty sure that all who have an interest in this type of material will find the experience a rewarding one.

My rating: 84/100

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