Reading that this EP was partly the product of illness and a miscarriage, this collection of four and a bit songs under such a foreboding title might have been expected to be darker, especially considering Norway's reputation for such expression. Randi Tytingvåg, however, has an innate lightness in her voice and writing.
Strange, in this case, that songs and singing of Richard Thompson come to mind. The songs are very strongly but simply constructed around their principal themes, the choruses repeating the emotion without overstating them, as in the painful "Today Was Cancelled": "I'm lost in the dark right away; Show me a way for heaven's sake; The story is so incomplete our eyes did never meet."
The tastefulness of the arrangements resembles Thompson's use of the foremost contemporary musicians, using a variety of instrumentation to fill out the songs. The closing "Light Grey" best reveals this style, with Knut Reiersrud's harmonica straining against Tytingvåg's voice over a strongly strummed acoustic guitar.
This is far from experimental or cathartic music; rather, Tytingvåg's lyrics and elfin voice convert the pain of her subjects into lyrical pearls. "Reading by Per Fugelli" is the only exception, featuring the gravely voice of writer and doctor Per Fugelli, reciting a thoughtful Norwegian text over a simple guitar part. Otherwise the pieces are closer to a type of Scandinavian chansonstrongly appealing while, at the same time, profound and touching.
Track Listing: Blind Ignorance; Dark; Today Was Cancelled; Reading by Per Fugelli; Light Grey.
I was first exposed to jazz when I was tiny. My earliest memory is watching Ella Fitzgerald scat on a Christmas special when I was no older than four. Like many who are from tiny towns, my first extended exposure was listening to the high school jazz band when I was a kid
I was first exposed to jazz when I was tiny. My earliest memory is watching Ella Fitzgerald scat on a Christmas special when I was no older than four. Like many who are from tiny towns, my first extended exposure was listening to the high school jazz band when I was a kid. For some reason I remember an arrangement of Hey Jude they did. My first real exposure was Stan Kenton in the Smithville, MO high school gym. Kenton and the band director there were old friends, so he would play there from time to time. My dad took me without telling me where we were going and it was the only show he ever took me to. I remember that Bobby Shew played Send In Clowns and I damn near levitated I was so excited. The huge sound and amazing chords floored me. I believe I was 13 at the time. I immediately started practicing and taking lessons. Music became a passion and nearly a career. I also listened to Dick Wright's Jazz Show on KANU every night. I can't even start to explain what I learned lying in bed listening to Dick talk about jazz. I met him once when I was struggling to put together a solo for Joy Spring playing in a combo at KU. Stopped by his office and asked for recommendations. He showed up at my jazz ensemble rehearsal the next day with a tape with example solos. What a kind man Dick Wright was.
My advice to new listeners is to stop worrying about what music is important and focus on music you like. I spent quite a bit of my music life listening to important music I didn't necessarily like. Must say I have quite a bit more fun now listening to music that I deeply enjoy. Some of it is even important.
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