Exposé Online banner

Pixel — Golden Years
(Cuneiform Rune 412, 2015, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2016-03-05

Golden Years Cover art

If you think you had this Norwegian quartet all figured out based on their two earlier Cuneiform releases Reminder (2012) and We Are All Small Pixels (2014), better think again. Golden Years is very different from its predecessors, seeming to branch out into a number of new directions, yet their sound is still recognizable as Pixel. The players are the same as on previous releases, although the writing is divvied up more equally between the members, including a couple numbers written in collaboration. In an overall sense, much of the material seems a little darker, more sparse, and tranquil. Such is certainly the case on the opener “Rainforest” penned by double-bassist and de-facto bandleader Ellen Andrea Wang, where a slow paced rhythm groove with drummer Jon Baar is painted in coloful melodies with trumpet and saxes by Jonas Vemøy and Harald Lassen respectively, eventually being joined with some stirring wordless vocals. On “Nothing Beats Reality,” composed by Lassen, things are moving at a somewhat brisker pace with drum riffing through the entire five minutes while trumpet and saxes weave some memorable melodic threads, again, joined by wordless voices midway through and some masterful sax wailing. A hauntingly unique and almost a-capella vocal arrangement leads off the Vemøy penned “Slinky,” a slower and more deliberately paced proposition, later moving into more conventional vocal harmonies and inspired jazz arrangements. Set closer “Airborne,” written by drummer Baar, is a beautiful big-band orchestral arrangement lasting just a little over one minute, and surprisingly features no drums or percussion whatsoever. Many other surprises await in these eleven cuts; the band seems to have deliberately eschewed repeating what they have done before in favor of experimenting with a lot of new ideas.


Filed under: New releases, 2015 releases

Related artist(s): Pixel, Ellen Andrea Wang

Latest news

2018-09-05
Krautrock Documentary Seeks Funding – The next installment of the Progressive Warriors documentary series will focus on the vast body of music that falls under the banner of "krautrock." As most of our readers will know, previous films have tackled RIO and the Canterbury scene, as well as what we might call "mainstream" prog rock. » Read more

2018-07-31
Tomasz Stańko RIP – Tomasz Stańko, one of the greats of Eastern European jazz, has died at the age of 76. Stańko's career started in Krzysztof Komeda's quintet, where he contributed trumpet from 1963-1967, when he formed his own group. He worked extensively with Edward Vesala, Don Cherry, Zbigniew Seifert, Chico Freeman, Howard Johnson, Cecil Taylor, and many others. Many of his recordings have been released by ECM, an association that began in the mid-70s. » Read more

2018-07-09
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more

2018-07-01
7d Surfaces Happy Rhodes Back Catalog – We've covered singer Happy Rhodes before, both for her solo work and recently with The Security Project, but her 11 albums have been hard to track down. Until now. 7d features high-quality downloads of all her releases, and several of them are also available on CD. » Read more

2018-06-25
Fred Chalenor RIP – We have news of another sad passing in the world of creative music. Bassist Fred Chalenor, whose creativity featured on albums by Tone Dogs, Caveman Shoestore, and many more, died on June 23, 2018 after a long battle with Alzheimer's. Tributes have poured in from the many musicians and fans whose lives he touched. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Jean-Philippe Goude - De Anima – Jean-Philippe Goude may be best remembered for his tenure with Richard Pinhas and Heldon, as a one time member of Weidorje, or for his excellent electronic oriented solo album Drones from the early...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues