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

FIVE FAVOURITES: Sea Change

Norwegian newcomer Sea Change is skilled at crafting atmospheric, transformative, electronic sounds. She’s set to release her new album INSIDE on 15th November, and if recent singles ‘Stepping Out’ and ‘Flown’ are anything to go by, it’ll be filled with intriguing synth textures, longing vocals, and irresistible lo-fi beats. 

Sea Change (aka Ellen Sunde) wrote her new album after she relocated to Berlin, and during her many trips back and forth to LA; resulting in seven tracks that meander through intimate and stimulating personal territories.

We think one of the best ways to get to know an artist is by asking what music inspired them to write in the first place. We caught up with Ellen to ask her about her “Five Favourites” – five albums that have influenced her song writing techniques. Check out her choices below, and scroll down to listen to her latest track ‘Flown’ at the end of this post.

 

1. PJ Harvey – Is This Desire / 4-Track Demos
Discovering PJ Harvey at 16 made my whole world turn around. Before that, I loved music and I knew that I needed to do music myself, but I’d never heard anything by a female voice or musician that I loved with all my heart (how sad is that !?). But then I discovered PJ Harvey and the way she sang and made her music was so gut wrenching and vulnerable and beautiful and horrible at the same time; I realized that I don’t have to sing in a pretty voice to make music. When I heard Is This Desire, it was like – yes – this is the music I’m gonna make. Everything kind of fell into place when I discovered her. She taught me that being raw and honest is what makes amazing art. She has a special place in my heart.

2. Sidsel Endresen & Bugge Wesseltoft – Duplex Ride / Out There. In There.
At 18 I started to discover more and more experimental music and in Norway. There’s an amazing improv and jazz scene. I discovered Sidsel Endresen which is an experimental jazz singer. I think the way she uses silence and minimalism in her music is incredible. She is an amazing improviser, it’s super intuitive. In her music there’s nothing of that showing off-virtuosity you can often find in jazz music, but it’s actually something that comes from her heart. And I think she also taught me to not give a crap about what other people think, and to do your own thing. Her lyrics are also utterly beautiful.

3. Arthur Russell – World Of Echo
Arthur Russel makes the perfect blend of club music/disco/experimental and vulnerability. He has something that I can’t explain. His music and lyricism is so naive and beautiful in it’s simplicity, and I love that it’s electronic music but it has this off-kilter and strange vibe. It sounds like he is improvising and jamming by himself in his living room, and it’s so rare to listen to electronic music that is so unperfected. His songs don’t really have one proper studio version, they have about 10 different ones that make his artistry so utterly interesting. He has a mixture of authority, intuition and vulnerability in his music that I will always strive after, ‘cos its so explosive in an artist. I recently heard that he will be releasing a new mix of unreleased songs/demos on the 15th of November (the same day I’m releasing my record!) and I can’t wait to listen.

4. Noise/Improv/Lasse Marhaug/Noxakt/Kevin Drumm
I need to put in this on the list but it’s more of a state of mind/genre than albums or tracks. Most of this music I’ve experienced live. When I moved to Oslo at 19 I started to go to improv and noise concerts. Oslo has an amazing experimental scene and it was really cool to be able to go to so many shows that were so well curated. There’s a rawness and punk atmosphere to this music that I love, and to be able to just close my eyes and dive into a world of raw sound is incredible. This was also at the same time I started making music myself. When I started playing live I usually had parts in the live sets that were ambient and drone like (it’s surprisingly hard to make something that actually sounds good). This music is best to experience live. I think it awakes something primal in me, and I’m really happy I went through this musical phase cos it taught me so much about what music can be and that it has no limits!

5. Fever Ray – Plunge
I’m such a huge fan of Fever Ray, it’s kind of embarrassing. When she all of the sudden dropped PLUNGE in 2017 I was listening to the record over and over for days. I can’t remember last time I had this obsession with a record, since I was in my teens I guess, and that is the most amazing feeling. I love what she’s challenging both musically and lyrically. There was a music journalist that wrote that this record was like jumping into cold water, and I really love that allegory. This record hit me in the chest and I think it came at a time in my life when I really needed it and it also influenced my newest record a lot. I love how she blends club music, pop music and listening music and makes her own breed of art with her explosive visual narrative. She is a HUGE inspiration!

I saw her live recently and she had a seven piece band with only female musicians, and I remember how shocked I was with how shocked I was. How have I never seen that before!? And that made me realize that hell, from now on I’m only gonna have female musicians on stage. Her first record was amazing and Its still a piece of art that stands steady as a rock, and I find myself going back to it over and over again.

Thanks to Ellen for sharing her favourites with us.

Follow Sea Change on Facebook for more updates.

Photo Credit: Fotini Chora