Alog: Amateur

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Współczesna Elektronika
premiera polska:
Wydawnicto Audiofilskie

kontynent: Europa
kraj: Norwegia
opakowanie: digipackowe etui
Czwarta płyta tego super-duetu dla wytwórni Rune Grammofon.
Warto przypomnieć, że ich album 'Miniatures' z 2005 otrzymał Norwegian Grammy w kategorii 'Electronica release in 2005'.
Niektórzy fani współczesnej elektroniki krzywym okiem patrzą na laptopowe ekstrawagancje Norwegów, dla innych ta nad zwyczaj szeroka synteza elektronicznych brzmień ma wartość absolutnie niepowtarzalną.
Nowa płyta w jeszcze większym niż dotychczas stopniu sięga do czysto akustycznych brzmień/instrumentów, które bądź w oryginalnym brzmieniu bądź preparowane znacząco powiększają spektrum muzycznych doznań płynących z głośników.
Jako wartość dodaną można potraktować kilka wysmakowanych, zmysłowych piosenek, stylistycznie trochę skręcających w stronę nagrań gwiazdy Rune Grammofon - Susanny z Susanna and the Magical Orchestra.
autor: Paweł Matuła

Editor's Info:
Some of the techniques that Alog invented for their excellent "Miniatures" album have now been refined and developed on "Amateur", their fourth album for Rune Grammofon. It was recorded on various locations in the western and northern parts of Norway, often using instruments found or built for the sole purpose of this recording. These sessions were subsequently worked on in the studio to bring out the unique spirit of the "Amateur". This spirit is characterized by a curious and fresh approach to playing that is often lost in the process of becoming a virtuoso on a singular instrument. The result is also quite unique and once again Alog have delivered an extraordinary album. Needless to say, it comes highly recommended. Please note that it is also being released as a limited 2LP vinyl edition in gatefold sleeve.
[...] Alog albums have tended to feel like hodgepodges, where the best of what was left after a long period of tinkering was put together without much thought, but Amateur seems more cohesive thematically. They're making greater use of acoustic sounds here-- particularly a wide assortment of percussion, and also a good amount of guitar-- and a few more tracks than usual feature the human voice. Silence is also more of a presence, and the prevailing mood is low-key and reserved.

At one extreme on that score is the aptly titled 'Sleeping Instruments'. It's not completely without sound, but you'll need a low noise floor in your apartment to hear the tiny creaks and scrapes happening far away from the microphone. Or maybe that was just my ceiling fan. 'Exit Virtuoso', 'A Throne for the Common Man', and 'The Learning Curve' all use gamelan percussion, and the latter two make use of various guitars as textural devices. 'The Future of Norwegian Wood' captures what seems to be the groans of a tree branch being stressed by a couple on a rope swing mixed with electronic beeps and the rustling of unnamable bric-a-brac, until voices enter spitting out syllables halfway between a whisper and a chant.

These are all tracks of interest, with lots of space around the sounds and plenty of time to soak everything in. But there's not much going on in terms of composition, no sense that each element is in its place for a compelling reason. In one sense there is something liberating about this quasi-random approach, in that the tracks seem malleable and open, basically tossing back to the listener whatever he or she puts in. Heard from another angle, these pieces can sound like raw material from a Matmos recording session, the scraps waiting to be hammered into shape by a record's overriding concept.
by Mark Richardson
[...] For Alog the album title refers to the freshness and energy when approaching an instrument unencumbered by concerns about technique, or whether or not something sounds 'good.' In other words: making a hell of a racket. The problem is that this methodology produces uneven results. The terse, Reich-like throb of "Son Of King," with its razor-sharp editing and concise lyric sits awkwardly beside a generally monotonous improvisation of the "freak out" variety on "A Throne For The Common Man". Never was so much percussion shaken, rattled and rolled to such pointlessly dull effect. The presence of this and one or two similarly aimless items (particularly the slack glissando of "The Learning Curve") undermine the album's strength.

The amorphous vocal exercising in "Write Your Thoughts In Water" enjoys the air of cathartic release, whilst the mesmeric bell-like repetition of "The Beginner" becomes strangely uplifting as indeterminate wisps of melody curl and spin around the pulsating central chord. Best of all is the epic "Bedlam Emblem's" terminally distorted merry-go-round of tape loops and kerrang-guitar Armageddon.

The dominant textures have been quite literally cobbled together from hours of field recordings made in primary school music rooms and other source-abundant locations. Imported into the often sterile world of lap-top derived music, there woody ambience is both warming and welcome. Not without humour, "The Future Of Norwegian Wood" is partly constructed from various bangs, cuts, and slaps constituting a different kind of substance abuse than the ones usually associated with the music business. Flawed but worthy. [...]
by Sid Smith

Espen Sommer Eide
Dag-Are Haugan
Nicholas H. Mollerhaug: Vocals on tracks: 1, 2, 4, 6, 9, 10

1. Son Of King (6:30)
Vocals [Additional] - Tobias Apeland Salomonsen
2. A Throne For The Common Man (6:20)
3. Write Your Thoughts In Water (3:35)
4. Sleeping Instruments (3:18)
5. The Beginner (6:31)
6. The Learning Curve (5:46)
Instruments [Additional] - Sigbjorn Apeland
7. Turn Back, Undo (1:53)
8. A Book Of Lightning (2:51)
9. The Future Of Norwegian Wood (6:32)
Lyrics By - Nicholas H. Mollerhaug
10. Exit Virtuoso (3:05)
Instruments [Additional] - Sigbjorn Apeland
11. Bedlam Emblem (10:26)
12. The Northeast Passage (2:47)

wydano: 23.04.2007
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Rune Grammofon (NO)
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