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

2021-01-18
Asia Minor Third Album on the Way – On January 29, AMS records will be releasing the long-awaited third album by classic Turkish-French band Asia Minor. Released last year in Japan, this will be the widespread debut of Points of Libration. The album features original members Setrak Bakirel (vocals, guitar) and Eril Tekeli (flute, guitar). » Read more

2020-12-09
Harold Budd RIP – Harold Budd, one of pre-eminent American composers of avant-garde and minimalism, has died of complications from the coronavirus. Budd came to prominence in the 70s, championed by Brian Eno on his Obscure Records label, with music that blended academic minimalism with electric jazz and electronic music. Much of Budd's best known work was done in collaboration with other artists, including Eno, Daniel Lanois, Robin Guthrie, Andy Partridge, John Foxx, Jah Wobble, and many others. » Read more

2020-11-20
25 Views of Worthing Finally Gets Released – A while ago, we wrote about the discovery of a "long lost" Canterbury-style gem by a band called 25 Views of Worthing. And now we're pleased to find out that Wind Waker Records has released their music on an LP. » Read more

2020-10-14
Audion Is Back in Business – Our esteemed colleague Alan Freeman has restarted Audion Magazine after a seven year hiatus. The new incarnation is available online on their Bandcamp site. Audion's history goes back to 1984, and included 58 issues up to 2013. Issue #59 is available now, and #60 is in the works. » Read more

2020-10-06
Romantic Warriors IV – Krautrock (Part 2) Is in the Works – Zeitgeist Media, the people who have brought us the great series of documentary films chronicling the history of progressive rock, are working on the second installment of their examination of German music. Krautrock 2 will focus on artists from Münich such as Guru Guru, Amon Düül II, Xhol Caravan, Kraan, Witthüser & Westrupp, and Popol Vuh. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Strawbs - The Broken Hearted Bride – Over the last ten years or so, Strawbs have toured and recorded in various configurations, from a three-piece acoustic trio to a fully amplified five-piece electric band. The Broken Hearted Bride...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues