Multinational project RONJA’S CHRISTMAS WITCH is, to my understanding at least, a one-off collaboration between artists Mkl Anderson, Sarah Dunevant, & Þórir Georg, mainly recorded in Iceland in 2014 with subsequent work done by Anderson to finale this production. The finalized was released as a self-titled EP towards the end of 2014 on US label Silber Records.
While Christmas does indeed figure in the title of both the project and their EP, which in length is actually more of an old time album length production as it clocks in at almost 32 minutes, for me the key word in the title of this project is the word witch, as that word gives a more proper association as to what one might expect from this creation in terms of moods and atmospheres.
Besides the brief cinematic opening and end sequences book-ending this album, and two relatively brief instances of moods of a more sacral, solemn and beautiful nature tossed into the mix here, the greater majority of this production revolves around moods and atmospheres that range from the unnerving to the dark and subtly menacing.
To take a specific example: The Tenth Dream of Christmas, the longest cut on this album by far with it’s close to 9 minutes playtime, opens as a dual set of plucked, distant guitars accompanied by a subtle drone. As this creation unfolds, the drone starts getting subtly more dominant, the guitars appears to become subtly more distant, and from the halfway point they loose patterns, start disappearing and reappearing, with brief moments of patterned play in between sections of mainly slowly plucked notes in more of a chaotic order. This addition of the chaotic into a landscape following a fixed pattern until a breaking point, and the subtle but constant break up of patterns and unpredictable developments after this, creates a subtle feeling of uneasiness in many, even if this isn’t even intended by the creators.
On many of the shorter cuts here the moods and atmospheres are more distinctly dark and unnerving however, with eerie noises, occasional distant cries and dark drones combining into an almost nightmarish soundtrack, of the kind that creates a strong feeling of uneasiness and at times even terror, but without ever resorting to any dramatic effect. The creators play with delicate and subtle effects to create these unnerving landscapes, possibly tapping into some core inborn fears we have of the dark and the unknown in our core and primal instincts.
Those who find themselves fascinated by moods of a dark and unnerving manner, who feels right at home in dystopian landscapes and atmospheres with undercurrents of an almost primal, delicate fear present, and appreciate when those occasionally broken up by sequences of a more solemn and sacral dark beauty, those are the people that should seek out this production. In essence those who appreciate and understand the beauty of darkness I guess, and who understands the allure of the unnerving darkness presented and explored in a subtle and unobtrusive manner.
My rating: 88/100