Whether Irrbloss is an album or a double-EP, it's the Swede's largest and most high-profile release yet, the result of a strong friendship and musical bond with Talabot. It's also his boldest artistic statement—if it was ever unclear whether Dorisburg had his own style, Irrbloss is resounding proof that no one sounds like him. The record is set apart by its rich atmospheres, vivid sonic landscapes depicted using a distinct and kaleidoscopic palette of synths. It's a style, built from the trippy, melodic foundations of his early Aniara releases, Berg has grown into in recent years, only now realised in full HD clarity.
Like any of Berg's work since 2014's Splade EP on Northern Electronics, an otherworldly feel colours Irrbloss. It makes for a rewarding cover-to-cover listen. Even when the music varies wildly in mood, swinging suddenly from springtime exuberance ("Insvept") to overcast gloom ("Votiv"), there's an ethereal fug that permeates throughout, giving the record a compelling cohesiveness. Berg achieves this by emphasizing texture and sound design. As he told me last year, he likes to visualize his tracks as faraway vistas, which helps shape his sounds to complement the feeling he's after. Pick any cut from Irrbloss at random and you'll hear the process in action. Note the interplay between the muted foghorn and the shrill siren on "Irrbloss": though they differ significantly in timbre and pitch, a distant, melancholic quality draws them tighter and tighter together. By the end, it's impossible to separate one from the other.
But an immersive record isn't necessarily a complete record. A whole side of Dorisburg is missing here, a side that some would argue represents his best work. As well as trancey electronics and transcendental soundscapes, Berg is a master of groove. His kick-and-bassline combos transform cuts like 2013's "Smuts" or 2014's "Devotion" into killer club weapons. The tone across Irrbloss is more delicate and lush, with melodies, rather than rhythms, forming the major moments. "Kassiopeia" and "Cirkla" are the standouts in that way, both with the sort of gauzy earworms Dorisburg built his name on. The latter is particularly intoxicating, sending shimmers of bright light billowing on a strong breeze.
Irrbloss is the Swedish word for "will-o'-the-wisp," a term used to describe "an atmospheric ghost light seen by travellers at night, especially over bogs, swamps or marshes." It's a strong clue to the vibe Berg was after. He wanted to make a record that put the listening experience first and club functionality second, channeling his passion for thick, eerie atmospherics. It was an ambitious undertaking, which, for the most part, he pulls off strikingly, even if fans might wish there was more of the old Dorisburg mixed in with the new.