Thursday, March 19, 2009

Abstract Index Playlist - March 18/09

Blowing the doors off the perception that Icelandic music is all about morose string sections, hushed vocals and the occasional blast of noise, Storsveit Nix Noites' second disc is one of the year's standouts so far.

Strictly speaking this disc has been available for a year and a half for download purposes, but Fat Cat is releasing it in physical form on April 7.

I loved Storsveit ("big band" in Icelandic) when I heard their first album a few years ago on the always cool & polyrhythmic Bubblecore label. The project is something of an all star lark from members of mum, Benni Hemm Hemm and many other bands with that sedate coutenance mentioned before. Whereas their first album featured a large group of musicians mostly holding their own with the super-tricky rhythms of the Balkans (Romania in particular), this recording, still lovably lo-fi, amps up the energy and skill level. If Beirut's Balkanisms are too melancholy for you (ahem), your jams will most certainly be kicked out by this Storsveit.

No kidding about the amps... the coda to this week's track takes a whole chapter out of the Sonic Youth playbook. But that's just the exclamation point to the band's improvement. The instrument voicings, the ensemble work and maximum rock n roll mayhem are all much more confident this time around. And of course, the rock mix (i.e. not too much bass, lots of action in the midrange) sets this apart from most Balkan beats which pump up the lower end - as with Ahilea, who immediately preceded Storsveit with his dancefloor orientation.

Could Nix Noites inspire a new generation of stage bands?


far sight - ras moshe quartet (kmb)
misterioso - radio i ching (resonant)
dark lights - bell orchestre (arts and crafts)
mittlere composition no. II - atom tm (raster noton)
burst - tanya tagaq (jericho beach)
tolon wilikan - n'gou bagayoko (frikyiwa)
rise - claro intelecto (modern love)
mostar angels - von magnet (jarring effects)
pajdusko - storsveit nix noites (fat cat)
drip drop march - drumheller (rat drifting)
cathedral sonar - preying mantra (under see)
mulembo - hallelujah chicken run band (analog africa)
trinidad - willie bobo (honest jons)
mosaico santero - fruko y sus tesos (discos fuentes)
if you're lonely now - bobby womack (charly)
halfway up the stairs - rodriguez (light in the attic)
halfway up the stairs - delroy wilson (heartbeat)
dub special - hasan badr (wackies)
walk away from love - ken boothe (trojan)
western promise - the mohawks (vampisoul)

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