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coverpic flag Norway - Full Moon 186 - 11/10/11

Splashgirl
Pressure
Hubro / Musikkoperatørene

I expected hardcore, in-your-face, full frontal free jazz. Instead I found sober, low toned, sparse improv instrumental music. Yes, it can be bagged as jazz, of course, of the modern, contemporary, genre crossing kind.

Splashgirl's music, or rather; compositions, sound both cinematic and eerie. Like the soundtrack to a spooky, scary movie. No, not the random teenage flick, but more like adult-oriented (please don't get me wrong: we're not speaking 'adult movies', type 'blue'), high-brow intricate and introvert stuff. Pressure is their third album, following Doors. Keys. (AIM 2007) and Arbor (Hubro 2009). The piano driven trio are: pianist Andreas Stensland Løwe (also seen/heard with Thelma & Clyde, Lama and ), bassist (double bass, that is) Jo Berger Myhre (who's been a player with Ingrid Olava and Solveig Slettahjell's Slow Motion Orchestra) and drummer Andreas Lønmo Knudsrød (also a member of Sacred Harp and Lama). The threesome also play around with some analogue electronics. Pressure holds guest appearances by guitarist Juhani Silvola (of Sacred Harp), tuba player Martin Taxt (Jæ, Hanne Hukkelberg), vocalist Mari Kvien Brunvoll, trombonist Erik Johannesen (Jaga Jazzist), plus field recordings and tape feedback by Lasse Passage.

Pressure is a dynamic piece of work, working both the intense and chilled layers of sound. And it's a warm sounding (analogue!) album, even though some parts for sure are ice cold on the thematic level. The album was recorded by producer/guitarist Alex Kloster-Jensen (ex-The Ricochets, ex-Hello Goodbye, ex-My Midnight Creeps, Kitchie Kitchie Ki Me O) in Oslo, and was mixed by Randall Dunn (who's been working with experimental acts like Boris, Sunn O))) and Earth) in Seattle. This is the explanation; this is where the genre borders get erased/removed, for the music to float freely between postrock - jazz - noise - improv - experimental - contemporary art sound. You name it. Splashgirl and Pressure have been widely praised. Uncut magazine wrote: '...recalls Godspeed You! Black Emperor's fraught majesty, while other tracks hint at Gastr Del Sol's oblique songcraft.' Not bad. The 7 song, 50 minute long album holds, as you've probably guessed, quite some stretched songs. "Devata" is an elegant opener. "Alpha State of Mind" is a spooky epic, while "Ravine" is almost a light beauty. Almost. "The Other Side" is really spooky and gloomy, and one of the tougher tracks. "Concerning This Square" is a neatly rolling piece, with nice percussive rhythms. The title track puts a perfect 'the end' to a solid piece of work. Crescendo and decrescendo. Before exit. And silence.

Splashgirl's third is quite fascinating, but expect no pleasure trip. This is 'music for pressure'.

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