Il Tempo Gigante - 'Watch it Watch'
It can take months and months of me listening to an album before I suddenly realise how much I love it, a trait which frequently bemuses (and irritates) fellow members of the Nordic Music Review ‘collective’. ‘That new John Grant album you’ve recommended is fantastic’ I’ll say to them almost 12 months after its release. So whilst the Árstíðir album ‘Hvel’ instantly captured my attention, the reality is that most albums take a lot longer for me to engage with. And that’s certainly true of Danish singer songwriter ‘Il Tempo Gigante’, alias Rolf Hansen, with his album ‘Watch it Watch’, which was released late last year.
Il Tempo Gigante was recommended to us by someone who’d recently seen him play live, and who stressed that it was his live performances in particular that were so impressive. Unfortunately he hasn’t (yet...) quite made it to the UK, so we’ve taken the opportunity to listen to ‘Watch it Watch’ and report back in anticipation of some live dates further on down the line.
‘Watch it watch’ is a clever and engrossing album, intricately handcrafted and understated in its approach. It wont leap out at you, grab you by the collar and give you a shake, but entice you hypnotically into its world. Its an unusual album too which doesn’t confine itself to the normal song structures, but instead gives us songs up to 12 minutes long that have different movements and phases. It seems to be written entirely on instinct, which makes it fairly compelling, once you are drawn into its world.
To highlight 3 tracks in particular which typify the approach of the album, the opener ‘Watch it Watch’ is a great example, and the video below I think captures the spirit pretty well, and gives us all an indication of how this might be captivating live. The delicate guitar line is particularly great if you turn it up loud on your music system I’ve found, and the clever emphasis on particular notes creates this mesmerizing effect similar perhaps to listening to a Bach cello sonata.
‘I Really Thought It Was The End’ is 8 minutes long, and starts almost experimentally, but with a feeling that every sound and note is offered very precisely and with a purpose. But then it opens up with guitar and a wistful melody, themes evolve slowly and additional instrumentation is added with a minimalist style. ‘She is the River’ is a real highlight, the sound is typically melancholy, contemplative, and as always modest, but it is also charming and sincere in its delivery, with a precisely and an almost jaunty ‘chorus’ of sorts. The lyrics throughout are interesting and worthy of much further consideration in their own right.
Whilst there’s no doubt that I generally really like this album, it is also true that it takes some listening to, and its probably not for all occasions either – you have to be in an environment where you can fully appreciate what its trying to do, and allow yourself to be immersed. So I do understand why there’s a strong recommendation to see Il Tempo Gigante live, I can imagine its particularly powerful. For the moment that’s not quite possible for us to do, so in the meantime we’d recommend you try watching the video a few times, and if you feel yourself drawn in, then 'Watch it Watch’ is available to buy on Itunes.
Nordic Music Review 7 ½ /10
We know we’ve got a fair few readers in Germany, and you can just catch the remainder of his German Spring Tour if you check the venues at
Also dont forget that fellow Danish songwriter Kristian Harting is in Manchester and London next week for a few live dates. Check our our 'FEATURES' page for more info on him.