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Green Isac — Passengers
(Spotted Peccary SPM-1303, 2014, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2014-06-02

Passengers Cover art

As I’ve dropped in on the work of this Norwegian duo through the years, trying to follow their trajectory through a delicate balance of electronica, ethnic percussion and folk, and their progressive approach to melodic mostly-instrumental sounds has been a bit of a challenging process, and not always to my liking. On Passengers, a compilation of three previously released EP downloads, it seems they got everything right and the result is their most satisfying release since their debut Strings and Pottery, way back in 1990. The two principals are composers ans multi-instrumentalists Morten Lund and Andreas Eriksen, who produce nearly all the sounds here, although in a live setting they expand to the five-piece Green Isac Orchestra. The fact that this is only their fifth CD release in almost 25 years, and their first in 10 years has made it additionally difficult to connect the dots, but this time out everything seems to have converged. Their sound takes a film soundtrack approach, constructing colorful melodic and rhythmic pieces from keyboards, electronics, and guitars with looping, repetition, and fragmentary brushes with dark and light, all over an ever-present bed of ethnic percussive rhythms, sometimes seemingly purely of acoustic origin, other times electronic or heavily processed. One will find a fair amount of variety across the twelve cuts herein, yet in that is a surprising stylistic consistency. Guest players have been brought in to cover additional instruments on certain tracks, but for the most part this is purely the work of Eriksen and Lund. As electronic music goes, this tends toward the gentler side, even with its rhythmic drive and exotic ethnic fusions. Trying to come up with comparisons isn’t an easy task, but the listener will find plenty in Passengers to challenge the senses.

Filed under: New releases, 2014 releases

Related artist(s): Green Isac

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