Ulver (Norwegian for "wolves") is a Norwegian experimental electronica band founded in 1993, by vocalist Kristoffer Rygg. Their early works, such as debut album Bergtatt, were categorised as folklore-influenced black metal, but the band has since evolved a fluid and increasingly eclectic musical style, blending genres such as experimental rock, electronica, ambient, trip hop, symphonic and chamber traditions, noise, progressive and experimental music into their oeuvre. 1997 marked their international debut with the release of their third album Nattens madrigal through German label Century Media. However, following discord with the label, Kristoffer Rygg formed his own imprint, Jester Records, in 1998.
In 1997, Rygg invited composer and multi-instrumentalist Tore Ylwizaker into the band, and together they changed Ulver's musical direction. Their first musical endeavour together, Themes from William Blake's The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, drew from a variety of non-metal sources, including classical and avant-garde, and the works of William Blake. Metamorphosis (1999) and Perdition City (2000) followed, showcasing further experimentation and explorations into electronic music. In 2000, author Jørn H. Sværen joined the band, and since then, the core of Ulver has been Rygg, Ylwizaker and Sværen. In 2009, Ulver expanded their line-up: British multi-instrumentalist Daniel O'Sullivan became the fourth core member, and several other musicians were enlisted as supporting and live members; of the latter, Norwegian musician and producer Ole Alexander Halstensgård has since established himself as another prominent member of the band.
Ulver has performed at several prestigious venues, including Queen Elisabeth Hall (2009), the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet (2010), Teatro Regio di Parma (2013), Labirinto della Masone di Franco Maria Ricci (2017) and held artist residency at Henie Onstad Kunstsenter (2018).
The band have sold in excess of half a million records, been twice nominated for the Norwegian Grammy Awards, Spellemannsprisen, in different categories, won Album of the Year at the Oslo Awards for Shadows of the Sun in 2008, won the NATT&DAG award for Best Live Act in 2011, and earned a global reputation for stylistic unpredictability.
Harmony Korine, the controversial director of films like Gummo, commented: "There's a real lineage from a composer like Wagner to a band like Ulver." Author and musician Julian Cope has said, "Ulver are cataloguing the death of our culture two decades before anyone else has noticed its inevitable demise."
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