Friday, April 10, 2015

Nils Bech, One Year. Album Review.

The Cover depicts a young man standing in front of a blurred woodland scene. His face is covered in blue paint and his light hair and weary eyes counter his young appearance. Nils Bech is a Norwegian performance artist, who mixes his music with dance and performance art, and despite being a Norwegian who wears face paint does not burn churches*. The album comes along with a full size poster/calendar. It is obvious that One Year is a concept album. Throughout Nils plays a mysterious character, he sings in a pleasant soft voice yet there is a darker undertone to the lyrics and music. He sings tenderly of his crimes of passion and sexual jealousy. The first  set of songs, are about reconciling a relationship, "my behaviour has been strange, am I pushing you away with how I behave?" while on 'Shame' he sing's "when you read about me in the paper did you feel ashamed of me?  we never get to know what he has done.
It's hard to listen to 'One Year' without feeling like you've only got half of the  package. Each copy should come with a troupe of dancers to interpret the songs. This is all before we get to the music, which is varied and complex as the story itself.  The nearest UK equivalent would probably be James Blake or Years and Years. He uses minimalist electronica as a base on which he sings, adds drums and even orchestras into the mix. Some tracks on the album are just mental jazz instrumentals. It's hard to pin point or box Nils Bech's music, but it is pop music at it's most sophisticated. Minimalist yet complex, clean sounding but with traces of darkness. 'One Year' is a strange record, but it marks Nils Bech as a true auteur, who alongside Ariel Pink, Dean Blunt and Connan Moccasin is one of the few music has left.


*That jokes not in bad taste right?

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