Friday, April 2, 2010

The Intersection: Alog

Alog (group; formed 1997)
Espen Sommer Eide (percussion, trumpet, electronics)
Dag-Are Haugan (guitar, electronics)
(photo: Thor Brodreskift)

A few weeks ago I downloaded an ep by Norwegian band, Alog. Only to find that when I went over to my record collection, I had two of the major tracks already. While a little gobsmacked at my lack of awareness of what was in my collection I decided to go back and listen to all my Alog records again. I was deeply moved by dark hues and resonance of the music. More so than when I originally discovered them.

For me, Alog (technically a duo) have been incorporated the electronic soundscapes, found noise, percussion and guitar for over a decade. Alog have a similar hypnotic drone vibe to Robert Fripp/Brian Eno ambient soundscapes, spaced out worldly craftiness of Can and Philip Glass technical repetition. This is for a very concentrated listener. While their is definitely a reliance on electronics both are focused on making their acoustic instruments prominent through each piece.

The group have fours albums, a compilation of unreleased tracks and various eps all of which are quite fascinating to experience. I'm not quite sure which is really my favourite since I listen to each quite often now but I would say if you haven't listened to Alog before you might want to give Red Shift Swing (Rune Grammofon; 1999) a try. Red Shift Swing is obviously the foundation for which the later albums expand the boundaries. A lovely combination of atmospherics, subtle vocals and acoustic instrumentation. Tracks like "Drifting West," "Expanded Heart" and the title track show and band experimenting with their influences while creating some intriguing new ideas within the genre. A formidable debut that would only evolve and expand as
they continued to record.

Their most recent album Amateur (Rune Grammofon; 2007) goes even further with the use of instruments that they created themselves probably even more a reference to the album title. Amateur features some stellar moments like the single "Son Of King," "Learning Curve" and "The Future Of Norwegian Wood". An all around solid session that if you've listened to the previous albums seems like the perfect next step in their development. Alog could be a tough listen for some but I think if dig exploration of new found sounds this is a great band to catch up on.

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