When is a solo project of Norwegian musician Lars Penderson. He began the musical project under the curious name "Hospital Blimp" in 1983 before settling on the bands current enigmatic moniker in 1987.
Death in the Blue Lake is Penderson's sonic answer to André Bjerke's pschological thriller novel of the same title. Although I haven't read the novel (it appears to be difficult if not impossible to find in english) Penderson's work definitely caries a foreboding and schizophrenic atmosphere that wouldn't be out of place in a tale of murder and madness. The album being Norwegian and from the late 80's also has the significance of enjoying quite a bit of popularity among the country's second wave black metalers. Perhaps the album inspired Varg to flirt with dark ambient? That's just conjecture on my part though. What I do know is that Satyricon sampled the title track of Death in the Blue Lake to use as the intro on their debut full length Dark Medieval times.
So forget all of that, what does the album sound like? Well the album ultimately carries many pop sensibilities. They are however obscured by the dark atmosphere and dissonance that create a patina of decay above everything else. The album begins with a grueling journey through a 20+ minute sound scape. All hope seems to be lost, but when the next track begins the album reveals it's true colors as catchy hooks and melodies begin to surface. The album works best as a cohesive whole so I recommend listening to it all the way through. Otherwise you will miss the contrasting elements.