The Edge Of A Fairytale

Between Interval

The Edge Of A Fairytale


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About The Edge Of A Fairytale


1   Delta Capricorni

2   The Great Void

3   Minotaur's Lair

4   Pillars of Creation

5   Three Years Ago

6   Atlantis Lost

7   Eden in Shadows

8   Purgatory

9   Sea of Darkness

10   Leviathan

11   Portals in Time

The Edge of a Fairytale, the first release from Between Interval since Autumn Continent, delivers eleven deep and powerful soundscapes characrtarized by mystery and wonder, and inspired by questions that have obsessed humans throughout the ages.

Stefan Strand, Between Interval’s sole creative force, explains, “Curiosity about the origin of life, the history of mankind and our universe is a classic theme, and I felt that I had finally reached a point where I needed to let it strongly influence my music.” Strand elaborates, “There are many religions and beliefs in this world. There are stories and tales that are thousands of years old about mythological characters, creatures and places. To me, letting these tellings influence our lives, without knowing the truthfulness behind them, means that we’re living on ‘the edge of a fairytale’ – between the known and unknown.”

Indeed, the deep, rich and mystifying sound that resides on The Edge of a Fairytale has a somewhat dark point of view. However it is not a darkness of evil, but rather one that dwells within the uncharted realms between truth and fiction; a darkness representing an unknown that we travel through while always optimistic that there is light – or enlightenment – to be found somewhere ahead.

With all three previous releases finding their way into Amazon’s top 10 lists for 2005, 2006 and 2007, Between Interval is already considered crucial “must-have” listening by both critics and fans alike, and now The Edge of a Fairytale proves without a doubt that Stefan Strand is an ambient electronic virtuoso, and that Between Interval is most certainly one of the mainstays of the genre.


This time around, what do we get if we mix some traditional Between Interval trademark sound with Lustmord, Telomere & Michael Stearns? Well, we do get to hear what this new installment is all about.

On this disc you will probably be reminded of the CD ‘Planetary Unfolding’ by Michael Stearns as it captures much of the same in terms of atmosphere, flow & structure. The CD starts out very moody and deep, almost frightening, and this is where ‘Lustmord’ comes to mind (Stalker anybody?). It’s both a very subtle and diverse experience to my ears, and so far I’m not sure if I should call it a pure ‘space’ music album ala Telomere/Stearns or just regular ambient ‘space’ music, so my conclusion is ‘Dark Ambient’ music with a spacious twist.

Most parts of the album is built up with an overall scary atmosphere that haunts you to the core. And to me this is quite new, being a long time fan of BI’s music. Despite that, it’s not neccesarily a bad thing at all, no, this only shows that BI is capable of producing so much more than just the ordinary, and certainly it shows on the two last tracks ‘Leviathan’ & ‘Portals in Time’ which to me are THE best tunes on this disc, and closes the disc in a perfect way. A way I would call ‘We got what we came for’ so to speak.

So, to whom will this CD appeal? I would say, If you are a big fan of Michael Stearns music then this is a safe bet. But even if you’re not, this is sure to please any fan of electronic music in general as it takes some time to really appreciate it. And once you have, you will never let this masterpiece be far away from your CD Player!.

Highly Recommended!!

- Kristian Persson, Tangram's Music Blog

Here is a sure sign that a CD is going to be a Hypnagogue Highly Recommended disc: I start the album on my iPod and then almost immediately put it on ‘Repeat All’ because I don’t want it to end. Such was the case with Between Interval’s deep and darkly beautiful disc, The Edge of A Fairytale. This is one I simply can’t get enough of. Composer Stefan Strand has created a fully immersive work that not only loops perfectly, but which along the way offers a varied landscape of flawlessly constructed sounds, from spacey drifts and soul-quieting washes to pulsing urgency and grim, shadowy tones, that beautifully capture his intent to describe the ‘uncharted realms’ between this world and the world of the imaginary. ‘Delta Capricorni’ starts the disk with drawn-out sine-wave washes that feel like chorale voices with hints of electronic twiddle at the edges. A sense of mystery is established. Shadows and uncertainty creep in as ‘The Great Void’ begins, and Strand guides us through this breathlessly dark place. This drops into one of my favorite tracks, ‘Minotaur’s Lair,’ where a pulsing, robotic bass note twangs with perfect insistence over starshine washes and drama-thick chords. (If your head starts bobbing along to this one, you’re in good company…) The drama carries into the start of ‘Pillars of Creation,’ where god-hammer notes resound as they fade into the distance. That same effect forms the base of ‘Three Years Ago,’ though the notes here seem more attached to the moment, more present somehow. The voices return with sighing notes and a sparse, melodic sequencer line eases in as an unobtrusive accent. Call it my second-favorite track. A mournful voice and roughly textured pads define the slow-tide movement of ‘Atlantis Lost.’ It’s a deeply thoughtful track. A sense of un-ease should creep over you at the beginning of ‘Eden in Shadows,’ as a sinister drum pounds with a domineering cadence and you get the sound of someone walking through your head. But Strand soon lightens the space, night giving way to dawn to reveal the Eden we ought to know. The very short ‘Purgatory’ starts off with slightly disorienting radio-static-coated voices under notes that plod with a planned lack of grace. ‘Sea of Darkness’ is an oddly rhythmic track, a bouncy motif that repeats across its three-minute span. ‘Leviathan’ slowly and gently carves out a meditative space in warm, moody washes that move sinuously like the beast of legend easing its way through dark water. Dive with it, eyes closed and breath growing calmer. It’s eleven minutes of quiet pleasure. …Fairy Tale closes with ‘Portals in Time,’ another well-done round of a bassy sequencer line coursing over soft flows. And then it’s time to hit play and go through it again. Although this is a very long review for me, I’ve honestly found it hard to put words to this disc—or to find the right words to describe what Strand has going on here. I just know that it’s totally captivated me. There’s so much depth to every track, and it’s just such an immersive, enjoyable disc that the only way to really understand it is to listen. Which you must. As I said, this is a Hypnagogue Highly Recommended CD.

- John Shanahan, Hypnagogue

Stefan Strand (formerly Jönsson) returns with another excellent album in The Edge of a Fairytale. ‘Delta Capricorni’ starts the disc in sweeping majestic fashion with hints of electronica thrown in to the theatrical mix. ‘The Great Void’ takes a dark, minimal turn, rumbling like thunder and harkening back to the sound worlds Stefan created on Secret Observatory. ‘Minotaur’s Lair’ fades in on a cool chugging bass line and is probably my favorite track, though there is not a bad one to be found anywhere on the album. ‘Pillars of Creation’ has a wall-of-sound effect that crashes in and fades, repeating every couple of seconds, with atmospheric touches thrown in. The crashes gradually soften toward the end, leaving only a low rumble that ebbs away. ‘Three Years Ago’ begins in a similar fashion but male choirs give it a Gregorian chant feel. It deftly evolves into something quite different by the end, with a dash of sequencing and soft synth textures. Each track is well-defined, telling a unique story from beginning to end before moving on to the next chapter. ‘Eden In Shadows’ has a very organic quality, with odd rustling noises in the middle as gentle drifting ambience floats by. Robert Rich fans should really like this one, as well as the appropriately murky piece ‘Purgatory.’ I cannot precisely define what it is that makes Between Interval’s brand of ambient music so special, but I can emphatically state that he is one of my favorite artists in the genre today.

- Phil Derby, Electroambient Space

Swedish composer Stefan Strand is a master of deep and sometimes dark electronic ambience. 'The Edge Of A Fairytale' is his 4th album, and it mines a territory that is part cosmic space music, and another part intense cinematic experience. It's an impressive work, from the mystery of 'The Great Void' to the majesty of 'Portals In Time', with it's strings and cavernous electronic swells.
Strand's fusions of light and dark; of gentle, natural landscapes and huge spacescapes, are seamless and mesmerizing. Even his track titles are wonderfully apt, like the drifty 'Atlantis Lost', which echoes a mysterious oceanic atmosphere that may be hiding something down below. 'Leviathan' is another subtle and evocative work, simultaneously expansive and daunting, yet hinting at something else entirely. Beautiful work. Between Interval may not be a major name in ambient circles, but fans of Robert Rich and Lustmord will find sustenance here. Recommended.

- Todd Zachritz, Goatsden

It's been a few years since 2006's Autumn Continent, but this latest release – his fourth altogether – is well worth the wait. Between interval is the creative brainchild of composer Stefan Strand, who at this point on the evolutionary curve seems to be shedding some of the more typical berlin-school electronic trappings (although they are still here, just in far lesser amounts) in favor of more emotionally charged floating ambient sounds, infused with sparkly and shimmering effects as the need arises. While the mix of compositions here is perhaps on the whole a bit too active to be satisfying accompaniment for slumber, it is nonetheless relaxing and mood inducing, produced in that impeccable cinematic Spotted Peccary style. The moods tend toward the dark and mysterious; clusters of tones and muted melodics explore repetitious trance-like imagery as each piece evolves, often decaying into shadowy darkness or exploding outward into fountains of color. Overt sequencing is kept to a minimum as the exploration proceeds, though sometimes employing dense pulses that fade in and out of the immediate sphere as softer colorations and voices shimmer across the inner sky. The disk features eleven tracks of varying length, each of which stand well on its own, yet they manage to form a logical continuum as the album progresses, offering a thoroughly satisfying experience.

- Peter Thelen, Exposé Magazine (issue 38)

After a hiatus of three years, there’s finally another album by Between Interval, the musical moniker of Stefan Jönsson, who as of November 2008 is known as Stefan Strand instead.

The outcome of ‘The Edge of a Fairytale’ sure has been worth the wait, offering a fascinating ambient journey with a highly cinematic impact, presented as 11 tracks of deep and occasionally darker textural music.

The expertly crafted and mastered soundscapes smoothly move through mysterious and dense sonic worlds, flowing back and forth through expansive spaces and darker caverns that are beyond imagination and wonder.

There’s even this icy touch occasionally passing by (on e.g. ‘Eden in Shadows’) that’s characteristic for Scandinavian ambient, while the darkest, most foreboding piece is found at the end of the album by means of the 11-minute ‘Leviathan’.

Other tracks are in line of minimal music due to its slowly transforming and morphing pace of sequencing and sound textural magic.

All in all, experiencing and listening to ‘The Edge of a Fairytale’ is a great adventure in itself and a very rewarding one indeed.

- Bert Strolenberg, Sonic Immersion

Stefan Strand, the sole creator of Between Interval might be known better under the name Stefan Jönsson, which was credited on first 3 releases of Between Interval, but Stefan's legal surname was later changed to Strand. But in any case, this Swedish guy is undoubtedly one of the young guns in the genre and his 4th album "The Edge Of A Fairytale" confirms his big talent and potential that was evidently presented back in 2005, when Stefan has reached with phenomenal album "The Secret Observatory" sky high regions occupied by other highly acclaimed space architects. With his newest work from 2009, "The Edge Of A Fairytale", Stefan takes us closer to immense landscapes. First two tracks, "Delta Capricorni" and "The Great Void", are absolutely outstanding, mysteriously deep and massive ambiences of the highest caliber! This guy rules again!!! Some gently pulsing electronics invade "Minotaur's Lair". With "Pillars Of Creation" we are back in more monumental and futuristic soundwall with repeated sonic outbursts. Stefan Strand once again comes here with his own voice, an adventurous style safely hanging somewhere between ambient and dark ambient terrains. High-tech soundscapes on "Three Years Ago" are perfectly enriched with slowed-down IDM ingredients and heavenly choirs, what a beauty!!! "Atlantis Lost" with ghostly voices is another deeply mysterious escapade, just like strongly nature-influenced "Eden In Shadows", it's like a trip through cavern with many miraculous sceneries. Short "Purgatory" is quite frightening while the next piece, "Sea Of Darkness", has some ice cold mechanical feel. Over 11 minutes long "Leviathan" belongs to the most mysterious and evocative tracks on this album, deep droning subterranean ambience at its best!!! "Portals In Time" is another deeply immersive and grandiose composition with emerging various futuristic and choir-like sounds, a pure ethereal bliss at the end of this tremendously fascinating journey, yes, that's "The Edge Of A Fairytale"!!! Between Interval perfectly fits Spotted Peccary label roster and I can't wait to hear more from this Nordic Monster!!!

- Richard Guertler, Relaxed Machinery

Creating music as Between Interval began as a way for Stefan Strand to take a break from his more kinetic musical pursuits. The Edge of a Fairytale (62'41’) is his fourth CD of futuristic mindscapes. Realized using a fascinating palette of synthesized and sampled sounds, this album presents 11 works meant to occupy the mind of the listener with distinctive and evocative atmospherics. With very little in the way of melodic narrative the listener may become inattendant - left to an unconscious structural appreciation of the music. A spare simplicity, reduction of forms, the repetition of short musical phrases and other concepts drawn from Minimalism helps The Edge of a Fairytale do more with less. Mysterious nocturnes fill the air with vaporous drones, resonating metal and attenuated choirs. As benthal pads saturate the soundfield into atonal subterranean dissonance, sequencer patterns crank steadily beneath cool effects and writhing tones. One must admire the mysterious ways in which this music somehow reaches and reproduces that which is at our inner most being. Quieting the mind Between Interval provokes us to reflection.

- Chuck van Zyl, Star's End

The American label Spotted Peccary is a real tree nursery which conceals some surprising abstract works of often ambient and sometimes sequenced EM. If some see in it a kind of EM closer to the paths of New Age, I would rather put the works of this label in the category of musical tales where the sweetness of the stories, often fanciful, embraces a darker and more mysterious side, as in The Edge of a Fairytale; a very beautiful album which depicts marvellously the charming and romantic universe of Spotted Peccary. Between Interval is Stefan Jönsson's musical project, a Swedish artist who seduced the world of ambient EM with Secret Observatory in 2005. The Edge of a Fairytale is a meditative journey inspired by old medieval legends and of their places. As much enchanting as its title, it’s an excursion beyond imagination where 11 titles file past with a mysterious approach weaved in subversives synths, intriguing sound effects and rhythms lost in times.
‘Delta Capricorni’ opens this mythical journey through ages with a somber shadow of which the increasing intensity overlaps ethereal waves which roll and free these suave angelic voices which embroider the mysterious poetic universe of The Edge of a Fairytale. A limpid line threads one's way through its waves of blackness and light. Its crystalline chords sparkle and waddle as fine sequences to introduce the embryo of an imperceptible rhythm lost in these floating ambiances. A rhythm answering to the echo of dark loops which hem while being trapped in an opaque fusion of synth breaths divided between its iridescent and vocalized lines. These lines which adorn the enchanting kingdom of The Edge of a Fairytale are as much celestial as gloomy or dark, as in the ambient corridors of ‘The Great Void’, which quite honours his title, while ‘A Minotaur Lair’ drops the first real rhythms of The Edge of a Fairytale with pulsations forged in a good bass line with fine spasmodic kicks. It's a delicate and furtive rhythm which pounds beneath silky layers of a lyrical synth while ‘Pillars of Creation’ offers some heavy and threatening hammerings which resound with the regularity of an earthly time clock. These huge tick-tocks go on up until ‘Three Years Ago’ and its iridescent winds which go astray in the Gregorian choirs blowing on fine sequences which swirl by jerks in praline-flavored mists.
The quest for a supernatural universe of whim continues with ‘Atlantis Lost’ and its ghostly voices which murmur under synth layers drawing hoops of which the echo is molding fascinating dark clouds. The knockings of a timeless clock resurface in ‘Eden in Shadows’. This time these are heavy pulsations which hammer a ghostly tempo, as a funeral march in somber caves, before dying out into the poetic comfort of mutant synth layers. Layers where angelic voices tuck in this ambiance of silk and of cerebral serenity. ‘Purgatory’ puts back the pendulums of history at time, while ‘Sea of Darkness’ answers the naming of its title with waves of metal which collide in innumerable metallic lappings, shaping an odd static tempo which undulates by jerks under a sky darkened by melodic pads. It’s a track which reminds me of Steve Roach's ambient rhythms. ‘Leviathan’ brings us to the floating and mysterious moods which rock the poetic approaches of The Edge of a Fairytale. It’s a long purely ambient title which floats in a slightly mephistophelic ambiance with hybrid synth breaths. Musical, iridescent and ghostly breaths which follow dark lanes, creating somber melodies pushed by the curves of subterranean walls among which resounding lines, black singings and harmonies interlaced in mysteries are floating over some silvered rustles. Other superb and dense synth layers wrap the intro of ‘Portals in Time’ which drops fine sequences of which the footsteps weave a slow, furtive and static rhythm submerged by this fascinating merger of synth vocals and musical lines which rock the rich lyrical ambiences of The Edge of a Fairytale.Few rhythms but lot of ambiances, The Edge of a Fairytale is a very beautiful album where the beauties of a world which embroiders the imagination at knocks of narratives transposed through music as mesmerizing as the stories of which it has inherited. It’s good and especially very deep, a little as the universes of Michael Stearns and Robert Rich but with a poetic approach of an enigmatic Scandinavian beauty.

- Sylvain Lupari, Synth&Sequences

Ambient soundscapes - some rhythmic, some beatless and drifting. These smooth compositions have a clean spacey nature, velvet drones and glossy washes welling up into curving waves of sound, softly undulating sequential phrases and patterns somewhere just below the surface. Dark, shifting masses of tone at times suggest enormous expanses, lighter strains faintly illuminating the gloom, atonal threads suggesting air movement. A downtempo trance-like pulse drives Minotaur's Lair into throbbing motion, whilst a beguilingly languid electronic beat barely rolls along on Sea of Darkness; the rest of the music is without obvious rhythm. The thematic inspiration for the music has led to these pieces having an enigmatic moodiness - remote origins and whispered beginnings - reality and imagination intertwining. Environmental elements keep the music grounded - water movement, a bird, occasional movement as if someone is passing through, far off voices distorted and vague.

The Edge of a Fairytale arrives in a jewelcase with a two page insert. Shadowy forest imagery fills every panel both inside and out. On the front cover a cascading stream with heavy vignette blackening the edges. Other images are more focussed on trees and forest panoramas with a fern close-up behind the disc itself. The photographs are given an edged effect that makes them appear almost painted. Tracklists appear on the rear and inside - the outer list having track times alongside. Inside is a little information outlining credits and thanks along with relevant website details.

This is the fourth Between Interval album from Stefan Strand (previously named Stefan Jönsson) and follow-up to the 2006 release Autumn Continent. This time the album is released via Spotted Peccary Music and contains eleven immersive compositions ranging from over eleven minutes to as short as one minute forty eight. The artist explains ‘There are many religions and beliefs in this world. There are stories and tales that are thousands of years old about mythological characters, creatures and places. To me, letting these tellings influence our lives, without knowing the truthfulness behind them, means that we're living on ‘the edge of a fairytale’ - between the known and unknown.’

- Paul Jury, Morpheus Music

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