This is music that should give you some good inner eye sequences.
The first track, (ER) starts really low - like an hart beat. Domp-Damp-Domp-Damp-Domp-Damp-Domp... Not human - but a music hart. And then the bass arrives. Slowly other instruments are slowly entering your ear canal and slowly further into your brain - slowly. As a litmus test I have played this track both at home, on several dark and rainy nights. During the preparation of one of my public talks, while writing a heavy duty technical paper - and even while blasting down the road in my not-so-noise-isolated-car-with-bad-speakers. This track works very well in all these environments. The instruments are distinct in their own right. Not many hidden details - that might in fact be the reason why this track works so good ...
... or ...
... maybe an even simpler explanation is that the Domp-Damp-Domp-Damp drumming by Ingar Zach really is the melody ...
... or ...
... maybe the saw. The saw is great.
I do not mean any disrespect to the performance by Ivar Grydeland or Tonny Kluften (the saw is great) - but this is really a tune where the percussion is in the centre. Other sound and instruments may at first sight, err, first listen, be the major players. Well - at least until 9:34 when the Domp-Damp has faded away. The track could have been split into two - before and after 9:34. It's like going from a warm and dry summer to a train station with a dog barking in the distance. Very cool execution. Exceptionally good for those of us who like music which creates inner eye imagery. The rest of the track is more akin to a train ride in the night. Or standing inside a huge empty disused oil tank. It's quite a feast for the ear. Without having any good insights on why this is one track, rather than two. This holds very much true as the 2nd part of (ER) is more closely related to the start of the 2nd track.
The (ING) track starts where (ER) left off. For those of us who do not find the slick in the world to be very exciting, but rather prefer the gritty, the dark and the disparate - this is a track that will bring a smile to our faces. There are so many details in this track. When you listen to this record, which I recommend with the weight of 25 huzzahs - you really need to put this track on triple repeat before venturing on to (AGE). It may, like (ER), give your brain the idea that this is simple stuff - disjunction between the instruments. This is as far from the truth as you can imagine. It all fits together. United. Intertwined. Interlaced. I would go so far to exclaim that this might be my favourite track on the album.
(ING) is like a summer night far up in the Northern Hemisphere (read: Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia (and we must mention Alaska, even if it's not a country (but I imagine people from Alaska may feel closer to Canadians and people from East Russia than the Homeland)). Actually any of the countries close to the Artic Circle. (ING) might be a bit scary if all you listen to is ... well ... I won't name any names, but let's say except for ms Swift - these artists will probably never be reviewed on Dave's Place Music. As a colleague of mine said when he asked me what I was listening to while doing some programming, and I handed him the head phones: Fuck - this is scary.
Scary music is very interesting music.
Scary music is good music.
Pond by Huntsville is an exceptionally good album.
I really love the (AGE) track. One of the things that make this track really stand out is the emulated harps around 4:51 and onwards. However, from the beginning of the track we are presented with detuned arrangement for (church) bells. I love it. From around the 3 minute mark a simple, but effective melody is driving the track forward. Unfortunately - the melody dies too fast. I wish it would last a bit longer. On the other hand - the melody is followed by a sound scape set into a damp, dark forest ca in September. It's so intimately scary. I love it. And now we are on to the emulated harps. If we where in a dark, damp forest, being chased by zombies prior to this part of the track - we are now out of the forest. Overlooking the Delicate Arch in Utah's Arches National Park. Early morning. Sunrise. If any inner eye imageries sums this track up for the next 6 minutes it would in fact be like walking around the Arches National Park. Everyone should put this national park on their bucket list. It beats Grand Canyon any day ;-)
The final 4 minutes of the (AGE) track is not taking place in any national parks - anywhere. This part of the track is airy. Very airy. 1200 to 1800 meters up in the air. Sousing around in a small 1 engine bi-plane. Yeah! This could not be a better finale for one of the top 4 tracks on this album.
The (OK) tracks starts with a hunt - giving homage to the ensemble's name. We are taking on a hunt with distorted bleeps searching for a melody that is slowly rising to the surface just before the 3 minute marker. I really enjoy the distorted bleeps, but I love the guitar and it's melodic interpretation of a lazy summer day in the meadows. The first five minutes of (OK) is clearly owned by Ivar Grydeland. The rest of the track may be a bit post apocalyptic a-la Tarkovsky's Сталкер (Stalker). Wow! I love it! Easily my favorite track on the album - especially the ending. And of course - we should not forget the Dhums-Dhums that lies like a strong foundation throughout the whole track, easing in and out when you least expect them.
A super executed album. Kudos!
The boring facts:
Ivar Grydeland plays electric guitar, pedal steel and electronics.
Ingar Zach has expanded his percussion set-up with timpani.
Tonny Kluften does distinctive bass playing.
World wide release by Hubro on March 13. 2015.
Recorded at AmperTone in Oslo.
Engineered by Johnny Skalleberg.