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We Like We — Next to the Entire All
(Sonic Pieces pattern005, 2017, LP / DL)

by Jon Davis, Published 2018-02-17

Next to the Entire All Cover art

This Danish quartet may have an awkward name, but they certainly have a unique sound. The group consists of Katrine Grarup Elbo (violin), Josefine Opsahl (cello), Sara Nigard Rosendal (percussion, most prominently vibraphone), and Katinka Fogh Vindelev (voice). Much of the music is sparse and meditative, with the strings providing near-ambient backing for Vindelev’s singing, with long tones and harmonics in abundance. The four musicians do not strive to fill up the musical space in spite of the rather limited instrumentation — they revel in the sparseness, and subtle contributions from one or two at a time are more the norm than the exception. From a track (“Distance”) featuring only overdubbed vocal parts to numerous places where minimal playing backs the singing, the general mood is serene and attentive. “Frost” and “Ghost” are so quiet you might not notice them, with bowed vibraphone, violin harmonics, and distant reverberant singing (these are guesses — it’s hard to tell exactly what’s going on). There is also occasional use of electronics to modify and enhance the instruments, as on “Forest Sketches,” which starts with crinkly noises and sparse clicking, adds in wordless vocals and eerie long tones from the strings, working these elements to a climax featuring some back-and-forth between percussion and violin, then moves into a section where the cello has some kind of weird processing on it and the violin plays echoing pizzicato. The wordless vocals return to build to a harrowing climax reminiscent of a Ligeti choral piece, with the voice, violin, and cello all melding into a massed cluster of notes. The only track venturing out of this ocean of serenity is “Endless Harmonies,” which is backed by a quick Glass-like pattern on the vibes and features energetic interplay between the cello and violin. Next to the Entire All is probably not the kind of album that will always fit a listener’s mood, but when contemplation or meditative beauty is called for, We Like We provides one of the most distinctive releases in recent years.

Filed under: New releases, 2017 releases

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