There’s a certain peace to being awake in the middle of the night with a baby sleeping on your lap… a certain peace, but also a state which is in many ways different from what you have experienced before … you have to be quite still, and you are almost certainly very tired but need to be just awake enough not to drop them. It feels like a something of a liminal state… I used to watch Battlestar Galactica in those moments, taking me even further into the corners of the mind…
I mention this because this feeling of liminality is perfectly captured on this recently released album from Norwegian trio Slagr, entitled ’Linde’. It was written by the group’s cellist Katrine Schiøtt in the middle of her maternity leave at a time when:
“…lack of sleep, emotional vulnerability, an extreme focus on something outside oneself; providing nourishment and love to the newborn. A minor state of emergency where small moments can inspire to musical fragments and contemplation on the beginning of life, eternity and transience. In this state, this music was conceived.”
So even though my time for doing such things has long past, this album takes me back there in quite an evocative way… I adore the way that Schiøtt has woven in elements of lullabies which summon feelings of being in the nursery and standing over the cot… coupled with that sense of wonder at what you have helped create…
However, I do not think that being a parent is a pre-requisite to getting something out of this set of songs… the playing is so soft (yet also strangely intense) and captivating that it invites you to imagine what you will whilst you are listening to it… it is music that seems to sit in harmony with you in a way which seems to just envelop you.
…and while this feels like intensely personal music there is also a certain broadness to it too… a feeling of distant, if misty, horizons… of the possible… almost utopian in its outlook:
“Slagr provides a contrast to information overload, multitasking, technology, and the constantly increasing pace and transitory nature of every part of our lives. Slagr’s music is an alternative to the current social trends and represents thousands of hours spent on perfecting an ancient craft, an insistence on serenity and the art of listening – both externally and internally, and a binding collective collaboration of many years’ standing. Slagr is archaic, but at the same time radical.” (https://slagr.bandcamp.com/album/linde)
This suggests a further and different sort of liminality, and invites us to take ourselves away from the everyday into something that, when you think about it, is radical since it moves us away from the madness that has become the norm… towards something that is simpler yet harder to attain in this mega sensory extrovert world…
This then is an album that you can sit with and take with you on your own internal journeys explore your own worlds with… it is ambient in the sense that it has no angles or rough edges to it, but not so passive that you can let it pass by you… it has an impact… a subtle charm and enchantment that beguiles you… to come back you my original remarks… it has a magical quality which binds you to it.
I have to say that ’Linde’ is an absolute ‘gem’ of a record… that term which you use when you are all in for something but cannot fully articulate why… something that it different from most things that to listen to on a daily basis (something that is helped by the use of ’tuned glasses’ in the mix here)… and really something that you love so much that it forms part of that locker of special albums that stand out and help you live your life.
‘Linde’ is out now on Hubro on CD and d/l here
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