The sustained mood of funereal grandeur that he nurtures over the course of the eighteen-minute meditation “Dead People’s Things” is simply stunning. A base of electrical hum lulls rhythmically throughout while layers of violin and harmonium contrapuntally interweave to eerie effect. Contrast is generated by the juxtaposition of sawing, scraping strings with the mournful glimmers of high-pitched theremin-like tones. It’s an hypnotic dirge that, in spite of its slow pace and singular mood, never feels too long but instead convincingly exudes an aura of timelessness. In general, the music on ”Morals and Dogma” is purposefully ritualistic in character, its meanings cloaked in shadow yet its sounds visceral, its cumulative impact clear. On the one hand, it’s crystalline and pure yet, on the other, hazy, ethereal, and indistinct. It’s a remarkably controlled work executed with a sensitivity by Sten that’s truly masterful.
Stylus Magazine (US)
Almost ambient at low volume, with the amplifier turned up these dark resonating wells of sound have even more beneath the surface to reward the adventurous listener. 4/5.
Sten has hinted this might be the last Deathprod release, and if so, ”Morals and Dogma” is a stunningly emotional high to bow out on. 8/10.
”Morals and Dogma” is Deathprod´s first new release in eight years, using his self-proclaimed ”audio virus” to generate ambient thunder. Sten´s technological doom is enhanced by eerily old-fashioned saw, violin and harmonium, leaving behind four tracks that reverberate mentally as much as they do physically.
Sten often uses just one sound source, endlessly manipulated, but its drones and surges manage to be emotionally resonant and musically satisfying too.
The Observer (UK)
Left to his own devices, Sten constructs vast, icy musical wastes and billowing snowfields of sound, betraying his work in installation art and prompting the listener to clutch at any geographical or biographical straws to make sense of this unremittingly abstract work. On the third of the four tracks, ”Orgone Donor”, Sten underscores the usual sonic flurries with slowly shifting tones, creating a hint of melodic progression, which almost seems like an act of cowardice after the uncompromising ”Tron” and ”Dead People's Things”.
The Sunday Times (UK)
The four tracks that make up Sten's most recent album ”Morals And Dogma” are possibly his best works yet: icey, bleak soundscapes of drones. Any of the tracks here would make an excellent soundtrack. The first, "Tron" is a shimmering plane, the source material for which sounds like short wave radio noise processed in such a way not entirely unlike John Duncan's Phantom Broadcast. On "Dead People's Things", the most sorrowful of melodies is played on theremin over a foundation of delicate, scratchy bowing of violin and a deep bass throbbing drone. "Orgone Donor" consists of a slowly shifting chordal drone of whispy violins, harmonium and saw, with each instrument leading and then resolving the chord in turn.
The new Deathprod album ”Morals And Dogma” finds him delving further and further into foreboding ambience and apocalyptic minimalism. The music is as monolithic and oppressive as the album's jet-black sleeve, but with a complexity and ingenuity that makes it more and more rewarding with each successive listen. It's an album of noise that falls somewhere in between the extremes of Masami Akita's buzz-saw explosions and Christian Fennesz's disintegrating beach vistas. Sten is joined on the record by Motorpsycho member Hans Magnus Ryan and noted Norwegian improviser Ole Henrik Moe, whose performances on violin, harmonium, and musical saw were layered and stretched endlessly to create Deathprod's dark and epic soundscapes.
Other Music (US)
Morals and Dogma´s ominous, immersive tone may not surprise anyone who's encountered Deathprod before, but its purity and rigor are startling. Working with his audio virus and two guest musicians, Motorpsycho's Hans Magnus Ryan and the violinist and saw player Ole Henrik Moe, Sten has created four pieces that are gorgeously horrifying. Even when he makes kitschy or literal decisions; implying dark rituals, naming a song "Dead People's Things", choosing a sleeve design that's as black as a coal pit in hell, nothing detracts from the actual music.
True to this description, Deathprod’s ”Morals and Dogmas” is a lingering, pervasive realm. Accompanied by a few funereal instruments; bowed saw, violin and harmonium, Sten’s elegiac, clouded hums slowly flood the senses with an eerie chill.
Filter Mag (US)
”Morals and Dogma” is gorgeous, bleak and ultimately inspiring, and it´s hard to imagine a better dark ambient record being released in 2004.
Recorded between 1994 and 2000, “Morals and Dogma” is Sten's newest Deathprod release and proves itself to be his most emotional and enthralling work. Looking over the previous three records, it's obvious that Sten's greatest strength lies in his ability to fill space in just the right way. He is a master of keeping open spaces the way they should be, of making paranoid and claustrophobic moments as tight and discomforting as possible, and he never packs any moment too tightly with busy sounds. His arrangements are perfectly organized without sounding as though they are overstructured. Every song on this disc plays to the tune of that advantage. “Morals and Dogma” is a mostly quiet album, emphasizing the subtle powers Sten holds when in control of silence and sound. Subterranean hums shake the ground and cause the slightest trembling in the foundations of reality and the mists of Hans Magnus Ryan's violin obscure the hollowed stirrings of the outside world. "Dead People's Things" stands out as one of Sten's most impressive pieces.
The masterpiece, though, is “Morals and Dogma”. This draws together all the sketches of the other discs into four monuments of absolute sound, each with a solid heart but weathered and worn, flawed and vulnerable around the edges. There have been dense drone records before but this has far deeper, lusher production than Zovietfrance. It has pruned and condensed the dripping organics and drunken rituals of O Yuki Conjugate; soothed the napalm-zen of Merzbow; found deep enveloping symphonics where Thomas Koner skated on frozen stillness.
These four tracks represent the more introverted and subtle side of Sten's work. ”Tron” and ”Cloudchamber” offer some dark, almost isolationist, magma-like sound masses that appear to slowly progress through various terrains, covering up everything on their way. Of the two, ”Cloudchamber” is the most threatening. A constant infrabass rumbles around pulverised found sounds, creating a desolate and unsettling setting on which Moe attempts to find his way back to more hospitable territories. ”Orgone Donor” contrasts by its intriguing simplicity. But the piece de resistance on this album is to be found on the stunning eighteen-and-a-half-minute long ”Dead People's Things”. A superbly choreographed duel between Sten's audio virus and test oscillator and Ryan's astonishingly humanised violin, ”Dead People's Things” rips emotions from the heart of the instruments to feed this dense cinematic composition.