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coverpic flag Norway - Full Moon 213 - 01/16/14

Hanne Kolstø
Stillness And Panic
Jansen Plateproduksjon

Hanne Kolstø put out her third album just before advent time started last year. Three solo albums in three years is an impressive frequency, right. In addition to this, she has been highly (and hyperly?) involved in several band projects, such as the 1990s flirtation with quintet Love:Fi (who released an album, 18 in 2009), the pop-jazz-electronica quartet Post (album: Common Rand Of People, 2010), and the electro-trip-hop duo Thelma & Clyde (album: White Line, 2010). All summed up has released six albums in four years.

Kolstø is one of several young women who's had success (critically, commercially, and/or creatively) along Norway's more experimental, cross-genre-hopping scene landscapes over the last years, such as Susanne Sundfør, Hanne Hukkelberg, Susanna Wallumrød, Jenny 'Rockettothesky' Hval, Ingeborg Selnæs, and Sandra Kolstad. Kolstø's leaning some more towards an experimental pop expression, and she's been compared to Swedes such as Lykke Li and Karin Dreijer (her Fever Ray project). By judging the cover art Kolstø's music float through some morbid moods. Riot Break (2011) sees Kolstø as a black eyed cover star, and on the cover of FlashBack (2012) she's sawing off her left hand. Kolstø face on the cover of Stillness And Panic has got a more wet and frozen look, but there's still this expression of... pain. Something of beauty meets something ugly, sort of. Hey, it's like a David Lynch movie, right?

Stillness And Panic is Kolstø's first record for the Jansen label (she's been on the Karmakosmetix label), but musically she continues her pop mission from former albums. Maybe even with more grandeur, but done in a discreet way. The album's first single was "One Plus One Makes One Out Of Two", which is a thick- and slow-floating and catchy song. Her voice is the core 'instrument' in her music, which is a nice and rich blend of acoustic and electronic song crafting, even though the easiest file for use is 'electronic pop', and the red thread is 'fear and loneliness'. The album was recorded with old marching band instruments and pianos in her childhood home, and in the chapel where she once started as a solo singer in the children's choir. She wrote the songs after moving to Western Norway (to Sunnmøre), taking some time off after years of touring. The new location, with its silence and epic surroundings (mountains and fiords), gave her the opportunity (through solitary hikes) to reflect and to contemplate about life and its circles and loops, twists and turns.

Stillness And Panic holds enough good songs to be an album ending on the upper half of the Norwegian records of 2013. Key tracks are "One plus one...", "Someone else", "Vertical split", and the closing title track, which is a split personality of a song.

Stillness And Panic is a fine meal, behind the veil of angst. It's an album unveiling songs like small panic attacks shaped like pop.

Copyright © 2014 Håvard Oppøyen e-mail address

You may also want to check out our Hanne Kolstø articles/reviews: Forever Maybe, We Don't See Ourselves, While We Still Have Light.

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