David's Angels creates stimulating sonic landscapes out of a unique fusion of various genres. Although electric bassist David Carlsson is the nominal leader of this innovative Danish-Swedish quartet and the producer of its second release, What It Seems, the album's signature sound is built around singer Sofie Norling's haunting delivery and incandescent tone. Norling not only penned all the lyrics, she also composed the music on this dark-hued paean to love's demise, together with keyboardist Maggi Olin.
The melancholic waltz "When It Starts" features Norling's raw, emotional vocals, echoing passionately against Olin's deeply anguished, electronic wails as bass and drum time the forlorn dance. Guest guitarist Torben Waldorff's heady vamps enhance Norling's mesmerizing poetry.
Olin's "Magica" crackles with intimate soulfulness, as her blues-drenched Rhodes embellishes the melody. A more art-rock atmosphere permeates the second half of the piece as Norling's ethereal voice soars over Carlsson's thunderous bass and drummer Michala Østergaard-Nielsen's angular and propulsive percussion. A gospel-informed spirituality dominates Norling's unaccompanied and evocative singing on "Go," and a wistful, folkloric ambiance characterizes "Visions." Østergaard-Nielsen's edgy, hypnotic polyrhythms drive Olin and Carlsson's psychedelic duet.
The solemn ballad "Risking Hearts" opens with Olin's dramatic sonata. Norling's sensual and fragile voice floats like a prayer over chiming piano notes. The latter piece's mellifluous, undulating wistfulness contrasts nicely with the funky, assertive swagger of "Rid of You." Norling punctuates her resilient and agile interpretation of the acerbic with assertive, visceral grunts and sighs. The exhilarating roar of Østergaard-Nielsen's drums and Carlsson's atonal bass lines express the tune's primal emotions.
Another Olin original, "Differences (Rising, Standing Up, Making)," closes this singularly and uniformly intriguing disc on a beautifully contemplative note. The careful balance and seamless blend of cool sophistication and intense, ardent fervor makes for a stirring and captivating listen. The thrilling experience remains fresh even after repeated spins.
Track Listing: What It Seems; Rid Of You; Differences (Too Fast, Meaning, Learning); When It Starts; Magica;
Go; Risking Hearts; Sailors; Visions; Differences (Rising, Standing Up, Making).
I love jazz because next to my kids, it's the love of my life.
I was first exposed to jazz by Joe Rico from a tiny station in Niagara Falls in 1954 when I was 13.
The best show I ever attended was Maynard Ferguson who blew the roof off Massey Hall in the late 50s.
My advice to new listeners is to listen to everything you can and then listen again.