SILJE NES Ames Room (Fat-Cat Records / Splinter Series)


Posted on Dec 6th 2007 12:30 am

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Silje Nes: Ames Room

Ames Room
Fat-Cat Records / Splinter Series 2007
14 Tracks. 42mins26secs

Born in a small town on the largest fjord in Norway and now living in Bergen, Silje Nes is a singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentist whose debut album, Ames Room, is a wonderfully evocative and playful collection of delicate pop vignettes.

Recorded entirely at home and alone, apart from the opening track, written and recorded with Kristan Stockhaus, of Norwegian rock band Ungdomskulen, Ames Room documents the development of Nes as an artist over the last three years and sees her experiment with a wide range of instruments, including cello, acoustic guitar, drums, xylophone, melodica and trumpet, over which discreet electronics and textures are sprinkled. The sonic environment resembles a finely woven fabric upon which Nes hangs fragile vocals.

The songs were composed and written on the fly and over a rather long period of time, and the album can seem a bit patchy at first, but, after a few listens, songs start to fall into place and reveal a much more consistent feel. Songs may be in turn primarily electronic-based or influenced by contemporary folk, the latter being the best formed of the lot, yet, unifying it all is Nes’s naïve vocals and her flair for crystalline melodies. The gentle acoustic drapes of Drown, Ames Room or Dizzy Street prove particularly endearing, and when she ventures onto meatier grounds, as on Giant Disguise, Bright Night Morning or Recuring Dream, there are underlying tones of Mazzy Star or Kristin Hersh flickering in the background.

Elsewhere, it is the subtle electronic textures, combined with rarefied acoustic brushes, that captivate. Pieces such as the elegant Long Shadows Left Around, Magnetic Moments Of Spinning Objects or Melt evoke the intricate constructions of the likes of Mira Calix or, to a lesser extent, early Múm, but Nes doesn’t need lessons from anyone, shaping instead her own sonic world as she sees fit.

Ames Room is not an album that gives itself up easily. Instead, it requires a careful and measured approach to fully appreciate its scope, but as it progressively opens up to reveal rich tones and textures, the reward is all but worth while.


Icon: arrow Silje Nes (Myspace) | Fat-Cat Records
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