First time out for SkarWorX (Øystein Skar) in NMC this year but I doubt it will be the last.
Fresh from appearing as a guest musician in the Eberson jazz-rock band performance in Oslo last weekend (there is a review in this publication), skittering across his synthesiser keys at a speed that would get him arrested by the politiet if he was driving like that along Henrik Ibsen’s Gate in downtown Oslo, he turns his hand to gentler stuff in the form of the first single/track from his third EP, and a song that has a surprisingly acoustic flavour.
To be fair SkarWorX did say on his social media channels that the forthcoming third and final EP in his Seed-X trilogy that there would be more acoustic content, the previous two having featured mainly, although not exclusively, electronic compositions.
So ‘Lille’ sees him collaborating with French cellist Dorran Alibaud as he picks out a simple piano melody that contrasts with the lugubrious heavy patterns of the cello.
Then about a quarter of the way in there’s an uptick in the tempo and it changes into a sort of latter day and chirpy, energetic baroque pop arrangement then sinks back again and then starts up again within the diverse framework that baroque pieces are expected to adopt.
Why ‘Lille’ you may well ask. Why not ‘La Rive Gauche de la Riviere Seine a Paris? Or‘Montmatre’, or ‘Montpellier?’
Je ne le sais pas and it doesn’t help that the vast majority of SkarWorx’s pieces lack vocals. Indeed, I can only remember one that does, from the first EP.
I thought it might be something to do with Dorran Alibaud, that somehow SkarWorX was paying homage to him. But no, M. Alibaud hails from the sunny south not post-industrial Lille, which is closer to the White Cliffs of Dover than it is to gai Paris.
I will make this my mission, to find out, encouraged by the knowledge I just gained that Lille is a product of the industrial revolution, once a centre for the textile and mechanical industries. If I’m lucky the next song might be called Manchester.
There is deliberate simplicity in this one, almost a catharsis I guess as he says, “the song is short and sweet, and kind of naive – but the two previous albums were pretty complex, so it was necessary to put some minimalism in the mix.”
And that’s exactly what he’s done, stripping this one to the bone to begin with in comparison to previous work, without losing the innate sense of enjoyment he always brings, and in collaboration with Oslo-based mixer/producer Jonas Kroon, who is as regular a feature here these days as some of the artists.
‘Lille’ is also the first song by SkarWorX in collaboration with the Swedish label Lamour, which operates out of Gävle in Sweden, due east on the E16 out of Oslo and just keep going, and run by ‘Slim Vic’ Zeidner. Lamour specialises in ambient electronica and is home to artists such as Lehnberg and AKB, who have often appeared in blog pages that I’ve had a hand in.
It will be fascinating to see where this journey takes SkarWorX.
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