Exposé Online banner

Pixie Ninja — Ultrasound
(Apollon Records ARP006, 2017, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2017-07-25

Ultrasound Cover art

Pixie Ninja is yet another in the succession of recent bands from Norway who approach progressive rock in a distinctive way. The group was formed by two multi-instrumentalists, Jostein Haugen and Marius Leirånes, who recruited Mattias Olsson of Änglagård to play drums and Johan Hals Jørgensen to handle the more technical keyboard parts; Ketil Vestrum Einarsen of White Willow contributes flute to one track as well. The music on Ultrasound ranges from spaced-out and nearly ambient, as on the first five minutes of the first track, to driving workouts like “Elusive the Wind Vane,” where a fast beat underlies flute improvisations and eerie chords from a Mellotron. The short piece called “Une Promenade” is a meditative piano solo, while “Polysomnographic” evolves from quiet keyboard chords with indistinct voice samples into another energetic drum groove, this one combined with multiple keyboard parts that intertwine elegantly over a distorted bass part. The album’s longest track is “Personal Improvement Cult,” 11:20 of slow-building intensity that gradually accumulates parts over its first five minutes, then drops down to build back up with a faster tempo and a throbbing marimba line. It finishes off with a section with a Tubular Bells like motif that adds other keyboards and rhythms to build up again, then drifts away with piano chords. The use of heavily fuzzed bass occasionally brings to mind King Crimson, but the keyboards are pure Scandinavian prog melodicism tempered by some mid-70s German atmospherics, and Olsson’s drumming is powerfully propulsive. Pixie Ninja is off to a great start, with a distinctive style that should appeal to many listeners.


Filed under: New releases, 2017 releases

Related artist(s): Pixie Ninja

Latest news

2017-11-16
Celebrate 10 Years of Fruits de Mer – As a special celebration for a decade of cool vinyl releases, our friends at Fruits de Mer records have prepared a limited edition reissue of an album by the first band ever to appear on the label: Schizo Fun Addict. The band is known for unusual release strag » Read more

2017-11-02
Mega Dodo Presents New Charity Album – Our friends at Mega Dodo have put together a lovely compilation of their artists performing new arrangements of nursery rhymes, and all the profits from sales of the album will benefit Save the Children. It features a number of artists we've covered. » Read more

2017-10-18
Phil Miller RIP – Sad word reaches us today of the passing of another of the great musicians of the Canterbury Scene — guitarist Phil Miller. His distinctive sound added greatly to Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North, and National Health, and he also contributed to albums by Caravan, Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin, and many others. He was 68. » Read more

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


Previously in Exposé...

Steve Roach - Sigh of Ages – Sigh of Ages is Steve Roach's fourth release of 2010. Six continuous tracks totaling 74 minutes take you on a journey that is deep, dark and hypnotic for its duration. You either really like this type...  (2011) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues