“Echo”, the first album for DFA from acclaimed Norwegian avant garde pop vocalist Nils Bech. It is set for release on October 14th.
A busy stage actor and singer already well known in his native Norway for three albums released on Oslo’s Fysisk Format, “Echo” marks a pivotal turning point for Bech, and something of a radical sonic departure too. The keys to the seachange lie with Bech’s new collaborator, the young underground DJ, producer and beat maker Drippin’, known for his work with American rap artists such as LE1F and Cakes Da Killa. As a result, where his previous work was strange, ethereal and otherworldly – completely and utterly unique - “Echo” throbs with a renewed sense of vigour and urgency, without losing any of the idiosyncratic beauty which marked Bech’s work out before.
The sound created here is strange and immediate. Stuttering sharp bass kicks combine with clanging 5-alarm snare drums made of glass, orchestra stabs and melancholy piano lines jump in and out of the arrangements. These new elements and ideas are married to the already singular voice of Nils Bech, with “Echo” becoming something new, exciting and 100% Norwegian - homegrown and ready for the world. Just listen to new track “Waiting” for evidence of his truly inimitable vision, as martial drums anchor Bech’s floating, weightless vocals, to create something swoonsome, beguiling and defiantly its own creature.
The music comes to full fruition when performed live, as proven at two packed performances at the 2016 By Larm Festival where Nils was joined onstage by both Drippin’ & Øyvind Mathisen, who also produced, arranged and played on the album alongside Bech. Make sure not to miss the completely original and striking sound of Nils Bech.
Too Little Too Late
Glimpse Of Hope
A Sudden Sickness
black vinyl edition and CD feature a full color art inner sleeve.
Of the many arresting moments that fill LCD Soundsystem's This Is Happening, perhaps the most unexpected comes less than halfway through album opener "Dance Yrself Clean." The seemingly unassuming, low-key rumble of a song morphs from its mumbled beginnings into an outsized flash of synth ballast and wailing vocals. The sudden shift is like the flicking on of a light, the perfect example of frontman-songwriter-mastermind James Murphy's effortless balance of restraint and release, organic rock and electro pop, and muted cool and vibrant emotion. This study in contrasts pervades LCD Soundsystem's third, and possibly final, release--an album where Murphy refracts images of heartbreak and longing through the scattered light of a disco ball.
The cautious observations and honest reveals that follow are literally and figuratively quieter moments than that initial blare. On "All I Want," against a wall of whirling guitar, Murphy recognizes a relationship that can't be saved, and instead asks for "your pity" and "your bitter tears." "Get Along" shuffles over pulsing keys and bubbling percussion as Murphy tries to bridge physical and emotional distance, singing, "You might forget, forget the sound of a voice / Still, you shouldn't forget the things we laughed about." Conversely, the sparsely decorated, sauntering "Somebody's Calling Me" is almost hopeful in comparison: "Somebody's calling me" Murphy half whispers, "to be my girl."
There are stretches of lyrical levity here, too. "You Wanted a Hit," which sits atop shiny synths, a driving bass-line and layers of handclaps, laments record label demands on what turns out to be one of the album's hookiest tracks. "Pow Pow" veers toward past "talkies" like "Losing My Edge," and features keyboardist Nancy Whang shouting in unison with Murphy.
With This Is Happening, Murphy has created a work of both nuanced introspection and distanced observation. DFA is proud to offer the vinyl version of this much lauded release, which also includes contributions from drummer Pat Mahoney and sound collagist Gavin Russom.