Luna Kafé e-zine  Luna Kafé record review
coverpic flag Norway - Full Moon 227 - 03/05/15


Huntsville has been active since 2006 and Pond is the trio's fifth album following Past Increasing Future Receding (2013), For Flowers, Cars and Merry Wars (2011), Eco, Arches & Eras (2006), and For The Middle Class (2006). Their first two albums were put out by Rune Grammofon, while the others have been released by Hubro. Yes, they also put out a split album with Splashgirl, in 2011. And, mind you, this is Huntsville, NO. Not Huntsville, AL, or in AR, CT, IL, IN, KS, MO, NC, OH, TN, TX, UT, WV, or Huntsville, ON. Despite the abbreviated titles on this album.

Pond holds four long tracks: "(ER)", "(ING)", "(AGE)", and "(OK)". Short and cryptic, right. Huntsville are Ivar Grydeland (guitars, banjo, pedal steel guitar, ++), Tonny Kluften (bass, double bass, pedals, ++), and Ingar Zach (drums, percussion, various boxes and machines, drone commander, ++). Their home site credits a fourth 'member' as well: 'The Sound Wizard'. In addition they have collaborated (live and during recordings) with a number of artists over the years, such as Norwegians Sidsel Endresen and Hanne Hukkelberg, Thurston Moore, plus guitarist Nels Cline and drummer Glenn Kotche (who both are members of Wilco, in addition to numerous bands and projects) as well as others. Huntsville are genre crossers par excellence, roaming wild into rock, drones, electronic music, free improvisation, country, Americana, but mostly around jazzy and electro-acoustic improvisational and experimental music paths. They have been described as 'abstract drone Americana and yoga country', as being 'Americosmische' (Uncut), and by others as sounding like 'some rare amalgam of Miles Davies, Steve Reich and early Tortoise' (Rock-A-Rolla). MOJO once tagged their music to be a 'hypnotic trip through percussive ragas, electro-acoustic scree and Morricone-like dreamscapes', while BBC has filed their music like something 'for those on the lookout for new sonic thrills'..

At times their compositions stand still awaiting some sudden, rapid musical eruption or explosion, while at other times they drift, pulsate and rotate in many directions. Their play-pond is multi-coloured and multifaceted. Sometimes they sound eerie and scary, while at other moments throughout other sequences they sound more accessible. However, they are never easy-going. "(ER)" has a steady, quick beat, but it also glides away drifting over unknown landscapes or waters. They have no boundaries. They operate within a multitude of limits, levels, parameters, and variables. "(ING)" is more of a standing still piece, playing with a variety of minimalist sound and rhythm effects over discreet yet distinct bass improvisations. "(AGE)" is probably the sequence or track I like the best. It is a blooming, flowering composition. The closing "(OK)" is also an exciting track. Imagine HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey, if 'he' had come to life as a real human (or humans). This could be the music 'he' would create. Huntsville spin, twist and twirl in darker places, near somewhere the light side of the force. They move lightly and carefully. Just like Jedi's do: they 'use the force for knowledge and defense. Never for attack.' The musical attacks of Huntsville are good and friendly, never brutal or violent. Welcome to Huntville's adventureland. You will be surprised by their musical journeys. The sky is no limit.

Release date: March 13th.

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You may also want to check out our Huntsville article/review: For Flowers, Cars And Merry Wars.

© 2015 Luna Kafé