295

Susanna: Sonata Mix Dwarf Cosmos

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Susanna: Sonata Mix Dwarf Cosmos Leaving behind the imaginative covers of artists including Leonard Cohen, Sandy Denny and Bob Dylan on Melody Mountain (Rune Grammofon, 2006)—by her collaborative duo Susanna and the Magical Orchestra with keyboardist Morten Qvenild of In the Country—Susanna Wallumrod goes the singer/songwriter route with her first album as a solo artist, Sonata Mix Dwarf Cosmos. It's a bold move, coming so close on the heels of Melody Mountain, but while Susanna (who goes only by her first name here) is a relatively young artist, so, too, were Cohen, Denny and Dylan when they wrote some of their most enduring songs. Sonata Mix Dwarf Cosmos is an acutely deeply personal and intimate record that, were Susanna in a different time and place, would easily place her alongside those artists who have clearly informed her own writing.

It still should, even now. The calm that pervades the record wraps her lyrical depth—primarily concerning love and the human condition—in a soft blanket. She is joined by a number of guests throughout, including brother/pianist Christian—known to ECM fans for recordings including The Zoo is Far (ECM, 2007)—Qvenild and multi-instrumentalist Helge Sten—who, also known as Deathprod, is a producer well-known to Rune Grammofon fans, as well as a member of the outstanding Supersilent collective. Susanna's musical viewpoint is all about spare simplicity, so the guest contributions are often so subtle that they're nearly invisible. Still, they add variety to her soundscape, and a drama that's often so understated that the slightest dynamic shift feels powerful and deeply moving.

Susanna's songs possess the uncanny ability to create shifts in mood with the subtlest of changes. 'Better Days" begins in melancholy, as she sings of 'the lack of morals in this town," and being 'tired of rambling round and round," but becomes gently optimistic as she reaches the chorus, 'better days are coming," with its ascending chords and Sten's mellotron providing a gentle emotional lift. Pal Hausken's drums on the cynical 'We Offer" are so low in the mix that the forward motion they provide is felt more than heard.

Susanna's lyrics are more direct than many of her influences, but they're no less poetic. Her voice is warm and full, relying on nuance rather than overstatement to create a profound resonance that arches over the entire album. For fans of singer/songwriters, Sonata Mix Dwarf Cosmos is a hauntingly beautiful album that proves emotional depth and breadth can be created with the simplest of lyrics, and the purest, most spacious of musical landscapes.


Track Listing: Intruder; Born in the Desert; Hangout; People Living; Stay; For You; Better Days; Traveling; Demon Dance; Home Recording; We Offer; Lily.

Personnel: Susanna Karolina Wallumrod: vocals, piano, guitar; Barbara Buchholz: theremin (1); Christian Wallumrod: grand piano (1, 8); Helge Sten: bowed and slide guitars (1, 5, 7), mellotron (7); Giovanna Pessi: historical harp (3); Morten Qvenild: celesta (3), grand piano and memorymoog (12); Ola Flattum: main guitar (5); Oystein Greni: main guitar (7); Ingebrigt H. Flaten: double-bass (9); Pal Hausken: drums (11).

Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Rune Grammofon | Style: Beyond Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Akua's Dance CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Daylight Ghosts CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Live at PafA CD/LP/Track Review Live at PafA
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Ocean of Storms CD/LP/Track Review Ocean of Storms
by Troy Dostert
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Transparent Water CD/LP/Track Review Transparent Water
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Billows Of Blue CD/LP/Track Review Billows Of Blue
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 20, 2017
Read "Invention of Knowledge" CD/LP/Track Review Invention of Knowledge
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 9, 2016
Read "Ariha Brass Quartet" CD/LP/Track Review Ariha Brass Quartet
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 22, 2016
Read "Montage" CD/LP/Track Review Montage
by Mark Corroto
Published: May 22, 2016
Read "Mirror, Mirror" CD/LP/Track Review Mirror, Mirror
by Glenn Astarita
Published: January 3, 2017
Read "Need to Bring Out Love" CD/LP/Track Review Need to Bring Out Love
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 5, 2016
Read "Protocol 3" CD/LP/Track Review Protocol 3
by Glenn Astarita
Published: February 23, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!