Sagntid is the main project of the man behind Picture Ann and Vornoff. It was originally active from 2002 to 2003, but was exhumed in '08. Sagntid has made six releases to date, this being the currently (7/2011) newest one and the sole one I've yet come to hear. A full-lenght Sagntid-album should be released by "9th Meridian Records" later this year.
The two untitled tracks mix together calm ambient, slightly experimental electronic sounds and some acoustic guitar to create a mellow, yet intriquing trip to serenity. The opening 19-minuter builds up with all the time in the world, first through lengthened synth-notes that eventually lead to some synth-piano, and further on the way some brief visits of soft distortion come in to keep the listener awake and to give the soothing atmosphere more depth. The acoustic guitar and some sadly cheap-sounding synth-piano give birth to simplistic melodies during the song's halfway, and they create a soothing resting place that gives the previous eight minutes a real meaning - it was the journey, and this moment its destination. The bold electronic distortion keeps on appearing every now and then to give the atmosphere a fitting stir, and a moment of soft spoken vocals give the soundscape a human touch. The song ends to some nicely plump acoustic guitar notes teaming up with the soft but prominent distortion, whilst being backed by basic synth-ambience. Some of the synth-keys have a disappointingly cheap sound, but otherwise the song is a really pleasing one.
The second song lasts for five minutes, and is clearly the darker and more forward one of the two. The bassy guitar has received some electronic warping to sound more ominous and full, and its sound fills up the soundscape well. The song relies more on singular electronic bleeps and bops spicing up the guitar work instead of aiming for more basic ambience, and this solution works really well as the demo's closer. It's bold and the effects sound rather cheap (at their worst reminding me of bad sci-fi), but this only adds to the song's mysterious and gloomy feel. If the first song was a journey to a serene meadow, this one is a forbidden zone in its vicinity.
Visually, this demo sucks. The bleak cover image fits the music, but it's plain boring to look at. As the slip's back only holds the band's homepage address, the cover image is all you'll be seeing, too. A shame.
The artist clearly has the skill and the vision required to create pleasing and interesting ambient music, even if he has a tendency of giving too much weight to the most basic elements and methods of creating a soothing soundscape. He still has work to do in marrying the organic guitars and synth-notes, especially so since he's chosen some really plastic sounds to create melodies - the high piano-notes plain don't work if they have no depth in them. The "sci-fi"-effects left me thinking if the artist was merely fooling around with his keyboard and happened to find those sounds, as their one-dimensional sound doesn't do the bassier and deeper sounds any justice. I hope the artist has been crafting and searching for more personal sounds to employ in his songs, as I bet that finding ways of imbuing certain synth-sounds to the soundscapes are holding back his creativity. Less cheap DIY and more dedication should lead Sagntid to even more considerable results.