Norway - Full Moon 62 - 11/01/01
Save New York
Automatic Kiss Records (JP) / Café 2001 (N)
The release of Safariari's debut album was probably one of the most unlucky in the history of
popular music. Just weeks before Save New York (with a cover sleeve showing Manhattan's
rather well-known skyline behind the outskirts of a jungle, with a butterfly and a zebra's
"bottoms") was to be released disaster hit lower Manhattan. Even if the cover art is somehow
bringing peace to mind, everything seemed a bit wrong. Especially presenting a cover painting
showing the twin towers. Even if it's a safari, without any weapons (well, one song is called
A taste of killing...). Bad luck.
Well, let's skip the pre-history. Safariari is 22-year-old John Kristian Furuheim, who has
recorded most of Save New York on his PC on location in Norway and in Singapore(!) over
a period of two years, using guitar, samples and computer equipment. The musical content spans
electronica (big surprise...) or slightly fuzzy pop, a dash house, as well as Japanese club music
(since Furuheim is a student in Tokyo, he must be picking up inspiration in the big city). Additional
musician Magnus Abelsen (of Remington Super 60) lends his voice (backing vocals) on 4 songs.
'Catchy pop music' the press sheet states, and yes I agree. 3 feet hi & rising sets a
perfectly warm electronic mood. It's sparkling and lively, not only machines spitting out sound.
Honey making money is a quick-step, break-beat-rhythmed tale, while Solar turns into
an epic piece with an Eastern atmoshere. I was awaiting Lunar with curiosity. The opposite
to Solar? Well, maybe not, but it sounds like, yes, an expedition up there.
One of the highlights is Hoshi no ongaku, a bouncy, fuzzy pop song, with an east-meets-west
attitude. Nice. Another ace is All about love, a real pop song with lovely vocal harmonies
and all, while the up-tempo guitar-driven A taste of killing is for sure the noisiest track.
Despite a few fillers Save New York is intelligent (artificial...?) feel-good pop music. And
the album is toned down at the end with the sound of birds and nature. And cars passing by. It's a
jungle out there... Conclusion: Safariari has got an OK computer!
Copyright © 2001 Håvard Oppøyen