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Album Review

This collaboration between A-Ha's Magne Furuholmen, Kjetil Bjerkestrand, and singer Freddie Wadling is to be filed under strange. Odd tracks are atmospheric instrumental pieces, even tracks are twisted songs, and all are untitled sections of "Solve et Coagula." The trio's first achievement is to make the songs sound stranger than the instrumentals — usually when it comes to avant-garde, a song equals meat, something to cling to. But Wadling's psychotic impression of The The's Matt Johnson singing "When the Saints Go Marching In" will send shivers down listeners' spines. The album is constructed as a suite where a handful of themes meet in various combinations. Parts one and 12 feature the same text interpreted in very different ways. Parts two and 11 are two incarnations of the aforementioned classic, first in a warped electro-jazz rendition, later a cappella. The whole album follows a mellow, slightly chilled mood typical to the label Rune Grammofon's releases, but track four shatters the ambience with an electro-pop song the likes of Nine Inch Nails' most commercial hits. Thankfully it is only an interlude, as things quickly come back to strange multi-tracked vocal experiments (parts six and eight). Part ten is only a delicate, romantic piano melody recorded with lots of echo. It is brought back for the conclusion, accompanied by singing saw and the text first heard at the beginning of the disc. Disturbingly beautiful and yet surprisingly empty. ~ François Couture, Rovi

Hermetic, Kjetil Bjerkestrand
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