The Rickety Old Shack

Violet Cold — Sommermorgen (Part 2) - Joy

album cover

The second instalment in the ambitous triple-album release from Azerbaijan's eclectic one-man project Violet Cold, Sommermorgen (Part 2) - Joy picks up right where the first part, Innocence left off. Whereas the first album confined itself to the more ambient, atmospheric elements of the Violet Cold sound, the second collection strikes somewhat of a middle-ground between its predecessor and the post-black metal stylings we've come to expect from this Azerbaijani project. Joy still includes generous helpings of synths but also incorporates elements of synthpop and 80s new wave.

Where Innocence presented a mix of sombre, brooding tracks — some of which featured small hints and flourishes of uplifting melody — Joy is almost exclusively a positive and upbeat-sounding affair. There are moments where the guitars and synths drone on, giving a sense of longing, but the progressions and general tenor of the music never hits the brooding depths one tends to expect from Violet Cold. As with the first record, it is somewhat hard to explain how Joy is able to convey so much emotion in spite of being a purely instrumental affair; few projects manage to project the mood and atmosphere that Violet Cold manages with seeming ease.

As much as I throughly enjoyed Innocence, I feel that Joy is a much more engaging, memorable piece of the overall Sommermorgen project. Obviously this is by design, but Joy has a lot stronger, more commanding instrumentation, and I found the retrowave feel to be really pleasing to the ear. I've never been much of a fan of the 80s pop sound, and I am still slowly learning to appreciate the decade's musical offerings that aren't kvlt black metal records or the odd thrash / death metal album. While Joy is very clearly a modern-sounding record, the throwback elements — most prominent being those very DX7-sounding tom fills — manage to evoke the same nostalgic feelings as actual 80s hits.

As mentioned, Joy is somewhat of a middle-ground between the first and third instalments of Sommermorgen. The bulk of the guitars are clean, with only miminal distortion being used in a select few passages. The drums drive the tracks forward, but the guitar and bass cement the grooves nicely and trade off with the synths on-and-off throughout the record. The production is up to usual Violet Cold standard, mixing prisitine recordings of every instrument and allowing them to shine at precisely the right moments. Joy may be a stand-alone album, but it sounds every bit the companion to Innocence before it.

It will take time to see if this remains the case, but as of right now I will say that Joy is currently my favourite album from this trilogy. The slightly quicker tempo and greater range of sound elements make for a more engaging, memorable set of tracks. The record has 12 tracks and has almost the same running time (38 minutes) as its predecessor, and the tracks feel a bit more substantive. "Time To Tango," with it's hauntingly catchy synth lick, is hands-down my favourite track on the album, though I find myself continually coming back and listening to the album in its entirety. The title is entirely apt, as Joy is a very happy-sounding record without veering into saccharine territory — the whole album feels genuinely uplifting without a single vocal line.

Summary

Without any intention of undermining the previous album, Innocence, I feel very strongly that Joy is the much better release of the two — and of the whole trilogy, if we're being honest. That being said, none of the 3 albums that make up the Sommermorgen trilogy are bad by any means. The Violet Cold quality standard is still adhered to, and I personally found the whole collection to be immensely worthwhile and engaging to listen to. Joy happens to be my favourite of the bunch as the change-up from chillingly sombre, emotionally foreboding atmosphere to be perfectly executed. The retrowave elements really strike a nostalgic nerve but with a positive, uplifting spin to it. Violet Cold has never been an intensely brutal band, but this record is a perfect combination of atmosphere and upbeat, melodic song-writing that I never expected from this project.

Album Information

Release date: July 1st, 2018
Record label: Independent

Emin Guliyev — everything

Track Listing

  1. Kopfkino
  2. Azure Dreaming
  3. Time To Tango
  4. Schöne Dummheit
  5. Altitude
  6. Love Performance
  7. Penguins Commit Suicide
  8. Warten Aus Nichts
  9. 1997

Link: violetcold.bandcamp.com

—by Derek

Published: June 18th, 2018.