340

Solveig Slettahjell: Good Rain

Eyal Hareuveni By

Sign in to view read count
This fourth release by Norwegian vocalist Solveig Slettahjell and the Slow Motion Quintet offers another magical experience. On Good Rain, these creative and busy musicians expand the musical language that they began to explore on their previous release, Pixiedust (Curling Legs, 2005). In addition to Slettahjell, the group includes trumpeter Sjur Miljeteig, formerly of the jazz-pop-electronica outfit Jaga Jazzist and one of the leaders of the art-rock group Friko; keyboardist Morten Qvenild, who leads In The Country and Susanna and the Magical Orchestra; bassist Mats Eilertsen; and drummer Per Oddvar Johansen. The quintet flirts with pop and art-rock and even trip-hop, aiming to position the jazz vocalist as an artist again within a popular form, but avoiding banalities and without giving up its intelligent elitist aroma.

Slettahjell is faithful to her "slow motion" concept, conscious of every detail and nuance of each phrase, and her natural, leisurely alto shines throughout the eleven songs. The sonic palette of the ensemble is much more varied, enveloping Slettahjell's warm vocals with sounds that recall productions by such art-rock sonic explorers as David Sylvian or Talk Talk. The sensitive playing of all players adds vibrant layers that caress and reinforce the massages of the poetic songs.

All the songs revolve around the theme of belief, often an abstract and secular one—in Slettahjell, empowering herself after a failed relationship, or in nature—and they offer some consolation, quite often sounding melancholic. The goal? "To be lonely in a good way," as she sings in Qvenild's "Another Day." Slettahjell's innocent and modest narration of life happiness, despair, fate and hope succeeds in creating a peaceful intimacy capable of touching and melting even the greatest cynic.

Slettahjell seeks some calmness and reconciliation in "Where Do You Run To," faith in her lone self in "Another Day." She trusts fate in "Don't Look Back," draws hope from dreams in "Colour Lullabye," and strongly convinces about the joys of lovemaking on "We Were Indians." Her beautiful a cappella version of V.O. Fossett's gospel song "Do Lord" serves as an introduction to the dark, anguished, modern gospelish "My Oh My," penned by Miljeteig. On the Peder Kjellsby-penned "Good Rain" she refers to "the rain washing the stains of / Another broken day."

As on Pixiedust, Slettahjell beautifully interperts another poem by Emily Dickinson, "The Moon." The playful, minimalist version of Johnny Mercer's "P.S. I Love You," the last song on this release, offers some hopeful closure.

Beautiful.


Track Listing: Where Do You Run To; Another Day; Don't Look Back; Colour Lullabye; Flawless (the muse); We were Indians; Do Lord; My Oh My; Good Rain; The Moon; P.S. I Love You.

Personnel: Solveig Slettahjell: vocals; Sjur Miljeteig: trumpet; Morten Qvenild: piano, keyboards; Mats Eilertsen: bass; Per Oddvar Johansen: drums.

Title: Good Rain | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Curling Legs


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Kurrent CD/LP/Track Review Kurrent
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: October 17, 2017
Read Duets CD/LP/Track Review Duets
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 17, 2017
Read Rev CD/LP/Track Review Rev
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 17, 2017
Read The Frequency Modulators Orchestra, Vol. 1 CD/LP/Track Review The Frequency Modulators Orchestra, Vol. 1
by Jim Olin
Published: October 17, 2017
Read The Adventures of Zodd Zundgren CD/LP/Track Review The Adventures of Zodd Zundgren
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 16, 2017
Read Any Other Way CD/LP/Track Review Any Other Way
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 16, 2017
Read "Disorder at the Border Plays Ornette" CD/LP/Track Review Disorder at the Border Plays Ornette
by Nicola Negri
Published: December 24, 2016
Read "Notes Over Poetry" CD/LP/Track Review Notes Over Poetry
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: June 11, 2017
Read "The Danish Sessions" CD/LP/Track Review The Danish Sessions
by Chris Mosey
Published: August 2, 2017
Read "Book Of Rhapsodies Vol. II" CD/LP/Track Review Book Of Rhapsodies Vol. II
by Jerome Wilson
Published: October 9, 2017
Read "America's National Parks" CD/LP/Track Review America's National Parks
by Troy Collins
Published: October 20, 2016
Read "Rags And Roots" CD/LP/Track Review Rags And Roots
by James Nadal
Published: April 25, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.