Pixel — We Are All Small Pixels
(Cuneiform Rune 372, 2013, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2013-11-11
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.
Seaprog 2018 Artist Announcements Raise Festival's Profile – Seattle's Seaprog festival has been going since 2013, and the 2018 edition features a slate of artists that's sure to bring more attention to the event. Cheer-Accident, Bubblemath, and Free Salamander Exhibit are in the first round announcement of performers. In keeping with their tradition of focusing on regional artists, they will also present a number of artists from Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia. [Edit: Just added: Inner Ear Brigade] » Read more
Adelbert von Deyen RIP – Word reaches us that German electronic musician Adelbert von Deyen has died. His recorded legacy reaches back to 1978, when Sky Records released Sternzeit. Von Deyen, who was born October 25, 1953 in Süderbrarup, was also known as a painter and graphic artist. » Read more
Didier Lockwood RIP – Word reaches us today of the death of one of France's great jazz musicians, violinist Didier Lockwood. His playing bridged many worlds, from traditional jazz to fusion to progressive rock, and his talent can be heard on recordings by Magma, Clearlight, Pierre Moerlen's Gong, and many more. Lockwood was 62. » Read more
10 Years of Fruits de Mer - The Incomplete Angler – Those of you who are faithful followers of Exposé will know that we have been promoting Fruits de Mer and its side labels and releases from nearly its first year. Now music journalist and author Dave Thompson has written a book chronicling the past ten years as a celebration of this milestone. » Read more