STIAN WESTERHUS: The Matriarch And The Wrong Kind Of Flowers (Rune Grammofon)

themilkman on Sep 27th 2012 09:36 pm

Stian Westerhus: The Matriarch And The Wrong Kind Of Flowers

STIAN WESTERHUS
The Matriarch And The Wrong Kind Of Flowers
RCD2133
Rune Grammofon 2012
09 Tracks. 40mins04secs

 Amazon UK: CD | LP | DLD US: CD | LP | DLD

Listening to Stian Westerhus’s solo work gives little clue of what exactly is his instrument of choice. Dark, complex, broken, his soundscapes are haunting to say the least. Perhaps the recurring presence of bowed strings provides something of a clue, but nothing clearly points to the electric guitar, yet it is the instrument which Westerhus uses, and, crucially, it is the only instrument used on this album.

Westerhus’s taste for experimental guitar sounds stems from seeing Jimi Hendrix’s Woodstock interpretation of Star Spangled Banner on TV when he was just thirteen years old. This prompted the young Norwegian musician, now aged thirty one, to explore the possibility of the electric guitar and dare go beyond the conventional approach to the instrument. Continue Reading »

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BOL/WESTERHUS/SNAH: Numb, Number (Gigafon)

themilkman on Jun 22nd 2012 01:47 am

BOL/Westerhus/Snah: Numb, Number

BOL/WESTRHUS/SNAH
Numb, Number
GIGA006
Gigafon 2012
07 Tracks. 47mins36secs

Amazon: DLD US: DLD iTunes: DLD

The mercurial affair that is Numb, Number results directly of its many parts, bringing together BOL, an improv trio formed of vocalist Tone Åse, keyboardist Ståle Storløkken, a regular with Supersilent, Elephant9 or Humcrush alongside Thomas Strønen, and drummer and percussionist Tor Haugerud, with guitarists Hans Magnus ‘Snah’ Ryan, known as one half of Motorpsycho, and Stian Westrhus, whose credentials include Puma, Bladed or Monolithic and a couple of solo releases for Rune Grammofon and its sister vinyl imprint The Last Record Company, and whose latest project, a collaboration with Norwegian vocalist extraordinaire Sidsel Endresen has just been issued by Rune Grammofon. Continue Reading »

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THE 2010 REVIEW

themilkman on Dec 19th 2010 08:49 pm

The 2010 Review

As 2010 bows out, it is time to look back on a year that has been rich in new music, some from very well established artists, and some from entirely new comers. Here are themilkfactory’s twenty favourite records of the year, and this year for the first time, this list is augmented with thirty other records that have marked the year.

With no less than four albums in the top 20, the year belonged to Rune Grammofon, and more particularly to Supersilent, who occupy two places, including the top spot. Room40 also place two albums in the twenty best records on 2010, while new imprints Desire Path, Hibernate and Textura also feature with some strong releases.
Continue Reading »

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VARIOUS ARTISTS: Twenty Centuries Of Stony Sleep (Rune Grammofon)

themilkman on Oct 19th 2010 12:57 am

Various Artists: Twenty Centuries Of Stony Sleep

VARIOUS ARTISTS
Twenty Centuries Of Stony Sleep
RCD2100
Rune Grammofon 2010
13 Tracks. 75mins24secs

Amazon UK: CD US: CD | LP Norman Records: CD | LP

Twelve years on from Supersilent’s monumental triple CD debut release, Rune Grammofon have reached a new milestone with this, their hundredth release. Twenty Centuries Of Stony Sleep collects thirteen tracks, twelve of which exclusive to this album, from quite a wide cross-section of the label’s roster, ranging from long-serving acts (Alog, Scorch Trio, Supersilent, Ultralyd, In The Country, Deathprod or Maja Ratjke) to more recent joiners (Espen Eriksen Trio, Puma, Bushman’s Revenge or new signing Jenny Hval).

There are few record labels who have developed such a strong and consistent aesthetic as Rune Grammofon, not only visually, there is not one release which hasn’t had the Kim Hiorthøy treatment, but also through its catalogue, which, in the case of Rune Grammofon stretches from abstract jazz, traditional Scandinavian folk to ambient electronic music and from ethereal pop to avant-garde classical to heavy metal, always with a strong exploratory angle at its core. Continue Reading »

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STIAN WESTERHUS: Pitch Black Star Spangled (Rune Grammofon)

Colin Buttimer on Jul 1st 2010 10:01 pm

Stian Westerhus: Pitch Black Star Spangled

STIAN WESTERHUS
Pitch Black Star Spangled
RCD2099
Rune Grammofon 2010
09 Tracks. 46mins56secs

Amazon UK: CD | LP | DLD US: CD | LP | DLD Boomkat: CD | LP iTunes: DLD

Pitch Black Star Spangled is a darker, lonelier experience than its bastard sibling, Puma’s Half Nelson Courtship and it’s all the more impressive for it. Where Half Nelson Courtship‘s group context locates the music in a slightly more familiar dynamic, Westerhus solo tiptoes out on a long, narrow outcrop and leans over the edge, peering intently into the abyss.

The album begins with Don’t Tell Me This Is Home, a hushed prologue whose titular alienation hints at what’s to come. Thy Gospel ups the ante. It’s clearly addressed to Lucifer rather than the bearded, cloud-girt one. (Westerhus does, after all, hark from Norway, the home of Black Metal). Continue Reading »

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PUMA: Half Nelson Courtship (Rune Grammofon)

Colin Buttimer on Jun 21st 2010 12:40 am

Puma: Half-Nelson Courtship

PUMA
Half Nelson Courtship
RCD2098
Rune Grammofon 2010
09 Tracks. 42mins29secs

Amazon UK: CD | DLD US: CD | DLD Boomkat: CD | LP iTunes: DLD

Half Nelson Courtship is a strange beast, an uneasy creature that seems happiest cleaving to the shadows. Some of the time it’s half there, half not – like a trick of the light spied only by looking obliquely away from the subject. Puma is Øystein Moen (synthesizers and electronics), Stian Westerhus (guitar and electronics) and Gard Nilssen (drums). Half Nelson Courtship is their third album and first for Rune Grammofon.

Opening track Bison Woven is tremendously febrile, Westerhus’ guitar tracing out a wavering threnody against Moen’s subdued murmur and Nilssen’s distant cymbal plash. Continue Reading »

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