Kategorie: CD-Reviews | Genre: Avantgarde, Postrock, Wall Of Sound, Jazz/Jazzrock/Fusion | Heft: Jahrgang 2014, eclipsed Nr. 161 / 6-2014 | VÖ-Jahr: 2014 | Wertung: 9/10, Album des Monats | Label: Rune Grammofon | Autor: MaB

In literature, in painting and also in film, the motif of the maelstrom is often used to describe a vortex of water that draws everything mercilessly into the depths. However, it is not so well known that there is a real model for this frightening vortex, which is thematized in Jules Verne's novel "20,000 Miles Under the Sea" and Edgar Allan Poe's narrative "Down into the Maelstrom": the Mosque Traumen, which lies between the Norwegian Lofoten Islands. One of the people who certainly knows about it is the 35-year-old guitarist and singer Stian Westerhus, who himself comes from Norway and on his album "Maelstrom" with the help of keyboarder Øystein Moen and ex-Madrugada drummer Erland Dahlen triggers an unbelievable pull that you cannot escape. The seven titles add up to a portrait of an artist who knows no fear of contact: after Westerhus was fascinated by Mike Oldfield and Jimi Hendrix as a child, he found access to prog and jazz via King Crimson. "Maelstrom" is now the climax of this development, as Westerhus places his improvisational approach in the context of traditional song structures - and convinces all along the line. "Don't Say That You Care" begins as an intimately weird chamber pop in which small sound tonations mix. Despite its experimental orientation, this piece is held together by Westerhus' heartwarming singing, reminiscent of the melancholic tone of the great Scott Walker. It is also masterful how drummer Erland Dahlen unnoticed intervenes in the action and then drives the music until Westerhus lets his voice rise to dizzying heights and introduces an orgiastic finale. No less fascinating is the trippy "Nights And Sleepless Days", where Westerhus first creates a feeling of weightlessness before he builds up a new art rock sound wall and lets the song die away in a long reminiscence. Besides that, "Maelstrom" also hides various other tips for alludes: On "On And On" the Sigur Rós faction is served with carillon sounds, while "Chasing Hills" is also recommended to cosmopolitan Coldplay fans. The final title track is really uncanny, where the three musicians combine experimental, noise and jazz rock and still accommodate some wonderful melodies. Stian Westerhus once said: "If you don't give 101 percent, it will never be good enough". At "Maelstrom" he and his band Pale Horses definitely gave everything and even more.

Top track: Don't Say That You Care

Back to overview