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

2017-10-13
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more

2017-09-26
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more

2017-09-06
Holger Czukay RIP – Holger Czukay, a musical experimentalist without boundaries who has been involved with expanding the sound palette of rock music since the late 60s, has died at the age of 79. After studying with Karlheinz Stockhausen in the early 60s, he became fascinated with the possibilities of rock music, and was a co-founder of the pioneering group Can. He leaves behind an impressive body of work both as musician and producer. » Read more

2017-08-22
John Abercrombie RIP – Another of the greats of jazz guitar has left us. John Abercrombie plied his way through a beautiful series of albums on the ECM label as well as bringing his talent to bear on albums by many of jazz's greatest artists. From his early work in the group Dreams to Gateway and outstanding work with Billy Cobham, Jack DeJohnette, Kenny Wheeler, and many more to his own trios and quartets, he brought a unique instrumental voice to the world. » Read more

2017-07-27
Yestival Dates Beef up the Beat – Word reaches us that Dylan Howe (son of guitarist Steve Howe) will be joining Yes on their "Yestival" tour, drumming alongside longtime band member Alan White. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Hans Christian - Phantoms – Unlike Sebastian Hardie, Hans Christian is not a band, it's a person. Actually, sort of a one-man band: Christian plays almost all the instruments, though he has a bit of outside help from...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues