Pumpehuset, Copenhagen, DEN - 13/3
Written by: BV on 29/02/2016 20:59:35
There are times when a band’s musical unity has such a tight hold on you that you tend to forget that there are actually individual members making up the band. One such outfit is Papir, a band whose output over the last few years has continually amazed me with mesmerizing compositions, astonishing soundscapes and an overall overwhelming sense of musicianship. At the heart of this outfit are three gifted musicians, where one of them has decided to create a solo album. Nicklas Sørense, the band’s guitarist, has appropriately named the album “Solo”. Although “Solo” makes effective use of the rest of Papir’s lineup, as well as guest appearances from Causa Sui’s Jonas Munk, it is quite evident from the get-go that this is something else – albeit something which is still tied to Papir’s material (the two latest full-length albums in particular).
With the equally appropriate title of “Solo 1”, Sørensen kicks off his solo album in a quite kraut-rock influenced manner. In what almost sounds like a kind of homage to bands like NEU! Sørensen consistently lets the soundscape build up with beautifully atmospheric guitar played on top of the gradually intensifying rhythm section, only to let it all collapse for it to be built up once again. It’s a constant game of musical cat and mouse, and quite frankly I love every second of it - even after repeated listens. Although there seems to be a large emphasis on pulsating rhythms from the very beginning of “Solo”, the remainder of the album doesn’t fall short when it comes to leaving space for the astral guitar excursions that have long since become the trademark of this criminally underrated musician.
Take for instance “Solo 3” which is built on an equally kraut-inspired formula, yet completely morphs as we are gradually introduced to layer upon layer of atmospheric sounds – both those of the guitar but also those of various synthesizers. It’s an intriguing way to construct music; one that is not particularly foreign to Papir fans, yet still offers something that sets this particular album apart from what they might be used to. “Solo 4” can be a trying affair for those without patience, as the 7-minute piece consists almost entirely of shimmering guitars slowly cascading upon each other in manner which reminds me of early 70’s British progressive rock – although without the bloated tendencies that often follow. There’s an ethereal vibe to the track and I consider it to be among my top 10 tracks for stress relief after having listened to it repeatedly since receiving the album. On “Solo 6” it all comes together for a final blow-out in the most classic way. Slow buildups lead to more and more effects being gradually introduced as the music intensifies before it peaks somewhere around the middle of the track, only to slowly settle once more – bringing forth mental images of blissful solitude.
Nicklas Sørensen’s first solo effort is precisely the type of work I’d hoped for when I first heard the news of an album in the pipeline. With threads back to progressive rock, kraut-rock and occasional glimpses of musical excursions to outer space, it has Sørensen’s musical identity written all over it, whilst still drawing heavily on his work with Papir. I can’t stress this enough; if you’re even remotely into beautiful guitar-playing, this is an album you don’t want to miss.
Download: Solo 1, Solo 3, Solo 6
For the fans of: Papir, Amon Düül II, NEU!
Release date 19.02.2016
El Paraiso Records
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