Exposé Online banner

Pixel — We Are All Small Pixels
(Cuneiform Rune 372, 2013, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2013-11-11

We Are All Small Pixels Cover art

This Norwegian quartet truly has a magical sound unlike anyone else out there right now, and this, their newest release just begs for repeat listens. With a powerful string bass presence, a beautiful voice, and seven of the eleven compositions to her credit, Ellen Andrea Wang commands the operation with a lean, jazzy, and somewhat chamber-esque vibe that’s immediately accessible, intensely melodic, and just blasts warmth and brilliance out from your speakers. While drummer / percussionist Jon Audun Baar has just the right element of support for every piece here – he even penned “Sigma,” one of the album’s most busy and magnificent instrumental workouts – it’s the front line of Harald Lassen (saxes) and Jonas Vemoy (trumpet) that really give Pixel much of its character, either when working together to create fundamental chords (sometimes with Wang’s vocalizing as well, as on closer “Time”), or blowing some splendid solos. The lack of a single chordal instrument anywhere in the lineup (no guitar or keys here anywhere), gives the proceedings a bit of chamber character at times, and a sort of ‘little big-band’ quality at other junctures, but it’s Wang’s vocals and lyrics that give all those cuts featuring her voice an immediate and undeniable approachability. And one would be remiss not to mention one very special cut “Easter Song,” penned by Lassen; even though it’s barely over a minute long, it’s a beautiful textural workout with sax providing an energized backdrop motif for some stunning harmonizing between voice and trumpet. Play that one again! All said, compared to their previous disc Reminder from last year, the group seems to be more comfortable within their sound this time out, and more inclined toward using their most valuable asset – Wang’s voice. I can’t give this one a high enough recommendation.


Filed under: New releases, 2013 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...

Van der Graaf Generator - Trisector – Van der Graaf Generator has been getting attention from the mainstream press during their recent UK tour, much of it positive and respectful. I have a feeling Trisector will help in that regard. While...  (2009) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues