Thursday, 26 January 2012

Casiokids - Aabenbaringen Over Aaskammen

If Aabenbaringen Over Aaskammen is a bit of a WTF? title for you, then it's worth remembering that Casiokids are from Norway. In fact, you'd better bear that in mind while you're listening to the album, too, as you're probably not going to understand most of the lyrics.

Luckily, Aabenbaringen Over Aaskammen is a musical powerhouse, a feast for the ears that transcends such earthbound concerns as whether you can tell what they're singing or not. Decidedly electronic compositions with typically Norwegian vocals, this album is one for you to crank up the treble (and maybe the bass too) and float away on a magic carpet woven of songs that sound like a-ha on drugs.
Aabenbaringen Over Aaskammen - Casiokids
High Points

It's worth saying that, for once, Aabenbaringen Over Aaskammen is an album that is almost impossible to judge based on 30-second preview clips. That doesn't mean the iTunes album preview is totally useless, but don't let it form your entire opinion - each track has so much variety, so many phases with different instrumental combinations and vocal overlays, that any one clip really is just a snapshot.

Title track and album opener Aabenbaringen Over Aaskammen is worthy of its prominent status, launching with a slow but optimistic fanfare that spans the entirety of the track, before leading straight into its follow-up, Det haster!, a four-minute cycle of upbeat electronic riffs that changes the pace and mood of the album, bringing in the vocals on what could easily have been the theme tune to a particularly forward-thinking 80s sci-fi movie.

Special mention, too, for Elefantenes Hemmelige Gravplass, moody yet melodic at a shade under five minutes in length. Yes, 'elefantenes' does translate as 'elephants'. The full translation is Elephants' Graveyard Secret, and the atmosphere of the track again deserves the title - you could easily hear this one piped through some kind of techno haunted house.

The Verdict

It's not that Aabenbaringen Over Aaskammen sounds like the 80s. It's more that it sounds like 2012 was expected to sound, when 80s movies showed the future. Personally, I think that's a pretty good thing, and judging from the reaction to the TRON: Legacy soundtrack, plenty of other people agree. It certainly makes a change from the bland or deliberately controversial music put out by some of the mainstream artists and their studios/labels.

But Aabenbaringen Over Aaskammen deserves more than just a comparison to the mainstream: it is, in its own right, an excellent composition. Variety within each track does not detract from the clear delimitation between different songs. Without exception, every track seems to last for longer than it actually does - and in a good way. Far from dragging, Casiokids' compositions manage to fit an unlikely amount of music into three minutes, or four minutes, or whatever time is available to them.

The concept of 'verses' is thrown somewhat to the wind, but instead we have progressive phases of music, sometimes alternating between instrumental and vocal sections in the electronic equivalent of a fugue. It's a style of music that's actually pretty rare, and it's good to hear it here.

Final Score: 79%

Aabenbaringen Over Aaskammen - Casiokids

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