ACORN FALLING - The Northern Trasnmitter

Acorn Falling - The Northern Trasnmitter

8 songs
39:13 minutes
***** ****


I have known Lars Kivig as the keyboard player of Danish instrumental rock band My Beloved since the early days of the millennium. In 2011, he released a first album of his quasi solo project Acorn Falling. A follow-up came four years later, and once again heís been working for three hard years on a successor, titled The Northern Transmitter. I really appreciate a lot of what My Beloved have been doing over the years, but the new Acorn Falling album is possibly even a little more interesting.

What both bands have in common is the noir aspect of the music. The biggest difference between the two is that Lars Kivig is also singing on Acorn Falling, although a few of the tracks are instrumentals. Some of his influences are Nick Cave, Scott Walker and The Swans, which should already give a certain impression of what to expect. But letís start at the beginning. Although I had once listened to the first two albums, I was not too familiar with them, and my first run through The Northern Transmitter left me rather clueless. The main reason is that there is no common thread running through the material. There are very experimental tracks, some truly abrasive moments, and then, when you least expect it, Lars Kivig shows what an expert he is at the grand piano, and his vocals also have a lot of redeeming qualities. The more often I made my way through his new album, the more it appealed to me. And while Lars Kivig is the undisputed masterpiece behind the music, his numerous guest on all kinds of instruments (guitar, vocals, cello, drums, mandolin, bass, trumpet and viola) make sure that the listener is pampered with a lush and varied sound.

The opener Morals Consumed is a five-minute instrumental starting very hauntingly with ghostly sounds and cymbals, soon to be joined by a dubby bass line, and then later by a noisy guitar, making this a great tune to set the mood. The following The Execution starts with guitar and drums but soon becomes a bleakly dark ballad where the deep spooky vocals are joined by the creaking sound of a gallows swinging in the wind. At times this reminds me a little of Sleepytime Gorilla Museum minus their rock sound. This is truly quite a unique piece of music. Up next is the nearly seven-minute-long Peace Is Over, which starts in an experimental fashion, but then takes a turn into a heart-warming ballad with wonderful piano and trumpet parts, making this one of the albumís highlights. And just when you think that things have become more normal, the strange Transmitter Charging comes across as some sort of audio play with scientists charging up the transmitter, segueing into the albumís second half with The Transmitter, which apart from the title does not have much in common with the preceding track. This is a perfect kind of ballad, led on a grand piano, full of elegy, and I probably havenít heard such a moving song since Lou Reedís Perfect Day. Two shorter tracks follow. Iím Ok is a noisy, abrasive piece of work that reminded my of Gallon Drunk, and Stages Of Change is an instrumental setting the stage for the concluding seven minute closer As We Wait, another ballad to end this amazing album.

At times I felt reminded of the last two records by former pop turned avantgarde rock band Talk Talk, who also often used a lot of different instruments in a scarce analogue setting. And just like them, Acorn Falling donít perform a kind of music you will instantly get. Instead you need to listen closely, pay attention, and sooner of later you will start to get it. One might criticise that the album is a little on the short side with not even forty minutes running time, but I assure you that it is just the right length to let The Northern Transmitter achieve what it set out to do. This is one of the rare albums that will stay with you a long time after you have listened to it, and it is clear this this is a true labour of love. Fans of sophisticated avant rock noir will have an amazing time. That much I can promise you!

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