Track Of The Day: The Northern Belle – ‘Kaleidoscope Dream’

Ahead of the release of their collaborative mini-album, The Northern Belle’s uplifting single ‘Kaleidoscope Dream’ brings an exciting sense of adventure and togetherness as we navigate turbulent times.

Led by singer-songwriter Stine Andreassen, The Northern Belle spent the pandemic collaborating with other musicians, including Siv Jakobsen and Mallin Petersen, creating a musical community of Nordicana (Americana-influenced music from Norway). The result, much like a kaleidoscope, is beautiful when all of these fragments come together. 

Fans of Fleetwood Mac will love The Northern Belle. Andreassen’s sweet vocals bring to mind folk and country greats. A wash of luscious harmonies ebb and flow, building a warm and fuzzy sound. The sparkling Americana-style guitar lines weave seamlessly into the vocal textures. Andreassen explains: 

When I sat down to write ‘Kaleidoscope Dream’, I just felt a sudden urge to flee and run away from all of this madness.  On one hand we are travelling less and are actually taking care of our planet (if we want to or not) – I love that and I wonder if we will take more care of each other and this beautiful planet from now on. Then there is a little devil on my shoulder that wants to fly away from all of our problems and do all the things that you can imagine. Move through space and time and don’t care about any of the consequences of our actions. I needed to feel alive. All of these emotions got poured into these songs and I love the explosive chorus and the whole conversation with myself.” 

Though the ‘Kaleidoscope Dream’ was creating during the pandemic, there is a wonderful lightness and ease to the song – it’s as crisp as a bright summer morning. The production is natural and spacious, highlighting the easy-going feel of the song. It’s easy to get swept up in its immersive charm as it transports you into a deliciously dreamy soundscape.

The Norwegian septet’s mini-album The Women In Me is set for release this Friday, 17th September. Pre-order here.

Jaz Kelly
@surfjaz

LISTEN: Susanna – ‘The Dancing Snake’

In a stunning and sorrowfully emotional unfolding it seems unjust to describe ‘The Dancing Snake’ the latest offering from Norwegian artist Susanna, as anything but a treasure.

Inspirited by the ghost of the late poet Charles Baudelaire (1821-67), Susanna brings the cynical gaze of a wandering civilian reflecting upon the universe around him to her majestic songwriting. With a captivating performance of dark, velvet-like piano, ‘The Dancing Snake’ and its shivering essence seems to rotate through the soreness of Baudelaire’s historic perspective.

Floating above the instrumental, Susanna’s voice emerges ‘The Dancing Snake’ to move in modern times with a fluttering vocal dreamscape that is anchored to the earth by its ringing chords and escapist lyrical content. Images from “I breathe the tang of the ocean / in the deeps of your hair”, to “my dreaming soul casts off and sets its course for distant skies”, take Susanna’s listeners on this strange fantastical journey where they are whisked away to hear the harmonious marriage between immaculate musicianship and storytelling.

‘The Dancing Snake’ is a skeletal arrangement of a tune that needs no more than itself. With early influences, from the earnest Bob Dylan to the more contemporary Mothers, Susanna has thrown her work into a blender – derived only from the best of folk, classical and art – and created an exquisite soundscape. ‘The Dancing Snake’ is an exhibition in itself, of impressionism and the pondering experience of being alive.

Baudelaire & Piano, the upcoming album from Susanna, is set for release 11th September via SusannaSonata.

Jill Goyeau
@jillybxxn

Photo Credit: Martin Rustad Johansen

 

VIDEO PREMIERE: Sea Change – ‘Inside’

Norwegian electronic artist Sea Change peels away her inhibitions on ‘Inside’, the title track from her debut EP which she released last year. Sea Change has now shared a beautiful set of accompanying visuals for the track, directed by Linnea Syversen.

The sparse electronics and self-awareness in her lyrics – “Come with me inside / my skin feels too tight” – alert listeners to the beginning of Sea Change’s journey towards breaking out of her shell. She navigates a personal metamorphosis on this track, and Syversen’s visuals (featuring performer Johanne Børresen) help to poignantly underscore this transformation.

Sea Change explains this further: “‘Inside’ is my favourite song from [my EP]. I knew early that I wanted to work with Linnea Syversen for this video, and when I bumped into her by chance in Oslo while listening to the early mix of this song, I felt it was fate. The song explores a need to peel off your outer layers to show who you really are, to shake off the ‘truths’, expectations and labels that others tend to put on you. We wanted this video to portray the sensuality and intimacy of the record, and for it to balance on the fine line between something slightly uncomfortable and something sexual. Linnea and Johanne Børresen really managed to capture that ambiguous feel of sensuality and uneasiness.”

Watch the video for ‘Inside’ below, and listen to Sea Change’s EP in full here.

Photo Credit: Fotini Chora

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

ALBUM: Sea Change – ‘Inside’

Peel away your inhibitions and join Norwegian electronic artist Sea Change (aka Ellen Sunde) as she navigates a personal metamorphosis via club inspired beats on her new album, Inside. Alongside co-producer and mixer Andrew Murray, Sunde has crafted seven ethereal, supremely catchy tracks that make her sound like she could be the introverted distant relation of Fever Ray.

Eponymous track ‘Inside’ has a brief duration, but in the space of two minutes Sunde outlines the direction of her album. Sparse synth sounds and hyper-conscious, introverted lyrics – “Come with me inside / my skin feels too tight” – alert listeners to the beginning of her journey towards breaking out of her shell. This idea is taken to a different level on following track, ‘Stepping Out’. Through a fusion of disjointed beats and atmospheric synth textures, Sunde navigates the idea of transforming into an animal.

“Let me possess you / Let me destroy you” she delicately threatens on ‘Something Else’, a captivating four minute soundscape full of altruistic synth patterns and a blend of soft, then reverb-strewn vocals. This quiet anger permeates following track ‘Scratch That Itch’. The percussive click that fills the opening feels like a subtle nod to the itch in the song’s title. Sunde softly sings “I have a white hot anger / I’m slowly setting it free” over mellow synth textures and looping beats that sit in contrast to to emotion she’s expressing. This contradiction in sound and lyricism is what makes Sunde’s music so compelling.

The intimate ‘What Makes’ is truly intoxicating. “I wear my body inside out for you” she muses, over drifting beats and ambient synths. ‘The Bed’ is an equally emotive lament about the “skin and dirt” that sullies the sheets and the memories of stale love. Closing track ‘Flown’ is a breath of fresh air, a four minute rumination on freedom and letting go.

“When I made this record I tried to channel the same state of mind I have when I go clubbing” Sunde explains. “Not overthinking everything, like I usually do, but instead embracing my impulses; working intuitively, almost anti-intellectual.” Her decision to work this way has resulted in a genuinely impressive collection of instinctive, immensely enjoyable soundscapes that can fill busy dancefloors, or private moments of introspection in dimly lit bedrooms. Listen below…

Photo credit: Fotini Chora

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut