Monday, August 21, 2006


Music for Moviebikers
Ipecac Recordings

Music For Moviebikers would be more appropriately titled something like March of the Swan, or maybe even A Waddle in the Clouds. This third offering from Norwegian sound artiste John Kaada is the invisible soundtrack to a day in the life of a downy white swan wandering aimlessly along the side streets of some tarnished European cityscape. The graying features of the world blur as each song follows the feathered protagonist with a soft-focus lens. Warm violins are plucked and bowed in “Smiger” and “Daily Living” while a chorus of angelic voices coo over delicate piano lines.

In “From Here on It Got Rough” a gentle, percussive rattles slaps like webbed feet on cobblestones. “Birds of Prey” is a Morricone-esque arrangement, that’s swimming in ominous bass and plodding strings that summon both romance and something scary.

Twenty-two musicians convened under Kaada’s direction for Music For Moviebikers, though their numbers are concealed in layers of drones. Putting these dreamlike qualities under the microscope, Kaada’s approach is not unlike late 19th / early 20th century composer Eric Satie’s stylish notions of simplicity carried to extremes. The charm of the music lies in melodies that waft from melancholy to exotic to totally surreal, all with a fairytale sense of humor. And much like the elegant curves and graceful movements of the swan there is nothing too slick or complex slowing down the pace, which makes Kaada’s imaginary score an elaborate work in its own right.

--Chad Radford