Susanna – Sonata Mix Dwarf Cosmos (Rune Grammofon/Fuse)

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A seriousness of presence animates Susanna Wallumrod’ first solo album (after dropping her ‘Magical Orchestra’), a trait which is manifested in the attention to detail, the ascetic clarity of production, and the deceptively casual rigor of each song. The topography is that of a permutatory minimalism. ‘Hangout’, as the embodiment of a particular struggle, an unbridgeable lacuna that separates people, at the same time determines the horizon of the albums totality. Morton Qvenild’ celesta leaves little dribbles across the piece like splashes of ink , adding a rich, subtly exotic feather-flicking magic to the skeletal piano melody and Wallumrod’ beautifully weightless falsetto.

On this piece and others, a small scattering of solipsistic tones are organized and nursed into a fine palette of sounds by Helge Sten, whose signature is clearly discernible though not altogether dominant in the endlessly steaming and evaporating aura of these cadaverous compositions. No doubt, Wallumrod and helpers (asides from the aforementioned, Ola Flottum of The White Birch also lends a hand on guitar) reveal an aptitude for heightening desire and enjoyment through stripping key elements out, the threadbare use of flashes of color and drama also play a part of some importance.

All of these elements twine like mirrored plumes of smoke. Be it through nocturnal, seesawing guitar of ‘Stay’ or the serene piano ballad, ‘Lily’, pieces impress in their centered state and commitment to a simple form. Sonata Mix Dwarf Cosmos gleams with a beautifully sparse and luminous music – and it stands as a personal and mature work.

Max Schaefer

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