Phaedra — Blackwinged Night
(Rune Grammofon RCD2172, 2015, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2015-10-26
On the strength of its darkness and pensive feelings alone, this one would be a winner; there are a lot of artists in that kind of space, but few quite like Phaedra, a Norwegian trio plus guests led by producer, singer, composer and multi-instrumentalist Ingvild Langgård. The feeling throughout its seven tracks captures a folky, dreamy pop vibe that layers multiple female voices over a sound bed of instrumentation that all proves to be at once both captivating, contemplative and somewhat brooding. The core of the band is the trio of Langgård (vocals, synth, zither, harmonium), Jørn Tore Egseth (organs, piano, synths, e-guitar, omnichord, tapes electronics), and Ane Marthe Sørlien Holen (drums, marimba, xylophone, glockenspiel, percussion) which is augmented by numerous other players adding violins, viola, clarinet, bass clarinet, bass flute, bass guitar, and percussion, track depending. Much credit also needs to go to engineer and co-producer Christian Engfelt for the stunning studio creation that this is, with its multiple harmony voices fading in and out, making Phaedra sound like a much larger ensemble. One might suspect that many additional singers and instrumentalists need to be added in order to make this happen in a live setting. At times the listener might be reminded of some of the artists from the Projekt and 4AD labels from years gone by, like Faith and Disease, Unto Ashes, even Dead Can Dance. The label’s promo sheet compares this to Nico, with which I also agree. This may not be for everyone, especially those looking only for a more rock-based sound, but most readers should find plenty herein to explore and appreciate.
Related artist(s): Phaedra
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