We wrote about the pre album single release by Pascal Pinon - Icelandic twins Jófríður (also of Samaris) and Ásthildur Ákadóttir before our summer vacation. The album 'Sundur', which has now been out for a few weeks, is based around the separation of the twins, with Jófríður touring with her band, and Ásthildur studying composition in the Netherlands. And it has taken those few weeks to really get to grips with an album that is stripped back, raw and so utterly fragile.
As soon as I heard the opening piano chords in Jósa & Lotta', i knew that this would be an album that would need some serious listening - although the complex vocal harmonies are gentle but rich, and the repeating offbeat piano theme ensures it as a charming opening song, We wrote about '53' previously, and it remains a favourite track, but it's 'Forest' that has really captured me over time, with thoughtful and imaginative lyrics, and its wistful melody. But yes there is no denying that it is all built around a melancholy structure, and this might be too much for some. But for me with my love of artists such as Mirel Wagner and Sara Forslund, this is the style of beautiful and stark Nordic music that I fell in love with - music that needs really investment from the listener in both time and energy.
The album continues with highlights such as 'Orange', and again the beauty of the track is built around the piano - just turn it up loud and listen to the beautiful resonation of the sound, it many ways it is so simple but to me it is also compelling listening. Tracks such as 'Babies' and 'Weeks', may be harder going at first listen, but listen to the beautiful touches in the instrumentation - and again the gorgeous piano playing in 'Ást' really needs to be heard.
Pascal Pinon have produced an album which is completely beautiful, as memorizing as it is remote and raw. I know from the reaction in my own household that this will not suit all tastes, and I probably haven't quite got the connection to it yet that I felt with the 2 other artists I've mentioned in this review. But still this is powerful music, intimate and exposed, beautifully constructed and delivered. I really hope everyone will give it a try.
Nordic Music Review 8/10