Nordic Music Central Viking Hero

Sandra Kolstad (Norway) – Things (single/track from forthcoming album)

The last song from Sandra Kolstad that we hosted, in October and titled ‘Unlearning’, was about the need to move on from stereotypical thinking and to take people individually as you find them. Or something like that. Couched in the form of a tutorial it was delivered gently with accompanying piano, glockenspiel and drum brushes.

‘Things’ is the second single from her forthcoming album ‘SOFT HARD’ and is quite different, being hung on regular and irregular percussive beats, and U- and non-U synthesiser notes. They serve a particular purpose as the song concerns the concept of being ‘ghosted’ – the practice of suddenly ending all communication and avoiding contact with another person without any apparent warning or explanation and ignoring any subsequent attempts to communicate. (Thank you to Wiki for that concise interpretation; it has its uses).

Now I have been ghosted by several people and I’m sure many others have too, be the cause Brexit, UK politics, US politics, pandemic lockdowns, or Lord knows what else.

What usually goes with it is a maelstrom of random thoughts – should I reach out to the person or should I just let it go? If I don’t know the cause I can’t offer a remedy but then again is it not up to the other person to offer the olive branch?

And the music does engender that sense of uncertainty very well.

But you couldn’t really have a song which says simply “I’ve been ghosted” and leaves it at that and Sandra Kolstad hints forcefully at the continuing dilemma she faces with the lines:

“I don’t think about you/unless I have to”

But then…

“I just wonder where/in your atmosphere/if my ghost is there/if you’ll ever let me scare you

And I wonder where/ in this empty space/where I keep your face/if there’s a way to get near you

In the deep/I dream/of you…

You’re not easily forgotten.”

It’s all rather clever. She’s an author as well and I suspect the song might have arisen out of a short story. And that it is autobiographical.

Stylistically, I said last time that ‘Unlearning’ could have been written by a committee, a caucus of Laurie Anderson, Jenny Hval, Caroline Polachek, Regina Spektor and Lydmor. Remove all but Anderson and Polachek and you’ve got this one.

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