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Susanna and the Magical Orchestra
List of Lights and Buoys
Rune Grammofon

List of Lights and Buoys is the debut album presenting the duo of Susanna Karoline Wallumrød (vocals) and Morten Qvenild (keyboards, harmonium and autoharp). Qvenild is known from groups like Jaga Jazzist and Shining, as well as contributing his skills to recordings by Bertine Zetlitz and Nils Petter Molvær. Wallumrød is a new name for me. The album is produced by Andreas Mjøs (Jaga Jazzist) and Deathprod. (solo, Motorpsycho, Supersilent, and others). Mjøs also adds vibraphone, guitar and timpani. Together they've created an album holding fragile moods and low key music.

The album opens with two cover songs: Leonard Bernstein's "Who Am I", and a personal interpretation of Dolly Parton's "Jolene". The other nine songs are written by Wallumrød (5), Qvenild (3) and Qvenild/Mjøs (1). "Who Am I" opens a bit to vague, but it picks up midway through, ending quite exotic and shimmering. "Jolene" is quite fascinating, way off its original path. With a sparse arrangement, and a miminimalistic approach. Throughout the album song after song keep unveiling quite low and slow, and with a delicate instumentation. Sometimes everything feels almost too dazingly low key, too transparently pastoral, almost making me fall asleep. But there are some magic moments, and after all this is an album for, say, laying on the coach (which for me means my antique, sideways-pullout bed), or maybe even relaxing in a bathtub accompanied with a perfect bottle of red wine.

The best songs are the pleasant "Friend", the hauntingly beautiful "Believe" and "Time". The latter is maybe the most extrovert song of the record, with its angel-like chorus. Then there's "Sweet Devil", which also has got something special. Starting out hymnlike, before shifting and switching mood and tempo wise, maybe being the most experimental song of the album. "Distance Blues and Theory" also shows an interesting nature, as it breeds sort of a chilled, fairytale-ish (elf-like) expression.

List of Lights and Buoys shows layers of beauty, but sometimes ends up being to laidback and cold. The temperature should've been risen a bit. Or maybe it's just me freezing.

Copyright © 2004 Håvard Oppøyen e-mail address

You may also want to check out our Susanna and the Magical Orchestra article/review: Melody Mountain LP.

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