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  • David Bentley

Neon Ion 🇳🇴 – Cold War (single)

There are a number of ominously titled singles around at the moment. There’s one called ‘Judgement Day’ coming up soon but more about that later. Fortunately, ‘Cold War’ isn’t quite what it appears to be. It doesn’t concern U.S.-Russia or –China relations but rather a personal relationship that is on the rocks on account of being “all-picture-no-sound, a union of silence and conflict with neither party prepared to make a move towards resolution.” Mutually assured destruction. They could always do a Reagan-Gorbachev and retire to Iceland to discuss it there I suppose.

Jazzland isn’t a label I’d previously associated with this sort of thing; rather, well, experimental jazz and dealing only in albums. I’m glad I checked then out again because they have a shed load of intriguing singles out just now of which this is just one.

Neon Ion is the scientific nom de plume of Norwegian artist, songwriter and composer Natalie Sandtorv. I knew I’d come across her elsewhere but couldn’t place it until I figured out she had been vocalist with Morning Has Occurred, a band that featured her now husband on drums and the ubiquitous Marte Eberson (who will also be here again soon with a new ‘family’ album’), in what I think was her first band. Originally from Ålesund, which has thrown up many of today’s Norwegian musicians, Natalie now resides in Copenhagen.

Jazz and improvisational electronics was her speciality at two of the top Norwegian music schools but you wouldn’t think so from this song, which somehow manages to mix R&B with a dance track. It’s silky, sultry, a little sexy even and yet at the same time it is ever so slightly menacing. I don’t know if it’s her husband on the drums or a machine but the style is that of top French percussionist Manu Katché, crisp and clean.

Stand by that red phone, Natalie; Vladimir could soon be calling you. Not Joe, he’s sleeping.

Find her on Facebook.


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