I Prefer The Obscure Remix Blog

Silje Nes – Ames Room

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The new Totally Dublin is finally out, so I can post my Silje Nes album review here. It’s a gorgeous record and well worth purchasing. Hopefully someone will book her to play Dublin very soon. You can listen to some of the tracks here.

Silje Nes – Ames Room (Fatcat Records)

Fatcat Records have an extraordinary knack for unearthing prodigious talent from the far regions of the globe. Diverse acts such as Sigur Ros, Hauschka, Mum, Our Brother The Native, Xinlisupreme, and Grindverk, have all passed through their doors at some point, with varying degrees of success. So step up to the podium Silje Nes, your time has come. Hailing originally from the remote town of Leikanger, on the Sogne fjord of Norway, Nes has pottered away for several years, honing and sharpening her song writing and production skills in Bergen. Ames Room is the result – a warm, delicate debut album from a precocious new talent. The edges are frayed but beautiful, like loose threads on a favourite old jacket. This merely contributes to the overall charm of the record, further enhancing the listening experience. Her vocal delivery is innocence personified, yet restrained enough to avoid the dangerous terrain of twee. All instruments are tackled competently by Nes, interweaving loosely and at times haphazardly, but in a gentle and refreshing manner. Although Nes is a multi-instrumentalist, she is no virtuoso (however, this is by no means a condemnation). She has developed a very individual, absorbing approach to instrumentation and production. Guitar and vocal still provide the foundation for many songs, but the real strength of Ames Room lies in the atmospheric undertones, or clicks and bleeps – the inherent idiosyncrasies. Tracks such as Shapes Electric possess a wonderful ambiguity, where vocals merge seamlessly with the rich orchestration, creating an overall mood rather than distinct parts. Giant Disguise could easily pass as a long lost PJ Harvey remix or cover version. Dizzy Street is upbeat pop with a retro feel reminiscent of Broadcast. In fact, the vocal style of Nes resembles that of Trish Keenan at times, and her drumming style tends to mimic Moe Tucker’s, but in a good way. Yet again Fatcat delivers, and in Ames Room we are treated to fourteen meticulously constructed unorthodox pop songs only crying out for a larger audience.

See Also: Amiina – Kurr (Ever Records), Broadcast – Work And Non Work (Warp Records), Mum – Finally We Are No One (Fatcat Records).

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January 8, 2008 Posted by | Album Review, Ames Room, Fatcat Records, Music, Silje Nes | Leave a comment

Don’t look back in anger

Having spent way too much time perusing end of year charts/lists/polls, there’s one thing I’m still not sure about. Well, there’s plenty, but too many to go into. My primary concern is, where are all the electronic albums? Was it a really bad year for techno/electro/electronica/etc in terms of output or standard, or both? The same few names keep cropping up again and again. I was a big fan of Matthew Dear, Pantha Du Prince, Gui Boratto, The Field, Apparat, and Modeselektor. It seems so were alot of people. But I expected to come across a few hidden gems, or some albums I totally forgot to check out. I’m struggling with the Burial album, and can’t see the big deal with it. I just can’t relate to it in any way. Somebody posted a question on Drowned in Sound recently asking to recommend some good electronic records, and all the replies mentioned the artists above, but little else. So I’m wondering, is that all there was out there last year to really excite, or have I turned into one of those people that likes indie music, but only delves into the electronic scene sporadically to pick up a few of the big name albums? I didn’t think I was, and Sinead definitely doesn’t, as she still accuses me of only listening to plinky-plonky music. 🙂

So, ladies and gentlemen, all suggestions and recommendations are greatly appreciated. Please leave a comment.

And on the subject of electronic music, Karlheinz Stockhausen – one of the godfathers of the genre – passed away on December 5th. Widely regarded as one of the most important and innovative composers of the 20th century, his work is regularly cited as a major influence by artists as diverse as Frank Zappa, Miles Davis, Bjork, Kraftwerk, Sonic Youth, Can, Aphex Twin, and Herbie Hancock. The Beatles even included his face on the cover of Sgt Peppers…

I still remember the day – about 12 years ago – I was working in Freebird Records. Some guy came in and sold a bunch of Stockhausen albums on vinyl, second hand. At the time I knew nothing about Stockhausen, so I flogged them to Alan from Decal about an hour later. I learnt a valuable lesson that day. Enjoy Boyler!

A few years ago a friend of mine bought me a book called Star Culture. It is a rather fine collection of interviews from Dazed & Confused. Here is a link to the transcript of Bjork’s interview with Stockhausen, it’s worth a read.

Below is a brief overview of his career and a rare interview. It’s worth watching just for Stockhausen’s answer to the very first question, about 2 minutes in. Stunning!

Karlheinz Stockhausen: August 22nd, 1928 – December 5th, 2007, RIP.

January 8, 2008 Posted by | Bjork, Electronic Music, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Music | 5 Comments