Transfixed (Hubro Music; 2013)
Oystein Skar (keyboards)
Stephan Meidell (guitars; bass)
Ivar Loe Bjornstad (drums)
Precision guitar drones, pulsating electronics and drums make Norwegian trio, Cakewalk's newest release, Transfixed the perfect soundtrack for your subconscious. While their music may bring comparisons or reference points (see my discussion of their first album Wired), Cakewalk are really bringing their sound into their own. And their vision is clear. A simply deconstruction of preexisting thoughts on genre.
"Ghost" and "Dive" are studies in the pushing and pull of sound. The effectiveness of the melodic tones on both tracks draws the listener deeper into the notes. The crashing drums of "Ghost" and slowly stretched out keyboards on "Dive" emotionally pull you in very dark directions. Beautiful and effective.
"Transfixed" is really driven by Meidell's long looping basslines and Bjornstad's heavy but slow pounding on the kits. The electronics are layered in the background and provide atmospherics but the bass really is the haunting force of this piece. "Transfixed slow builds with Meidell adding the screeching guitar chords towards the closing.
The majority of the work on Transfixed is improvised. But you would never know but how well the notes come together so smoothly. And that's when you know you've heard a work of beauty. When the origin is never discernible.
Cakewalk are a growing, working trio that should emerge as one of the most important over the next few years. Transfixed is the perfect document of that philosophy. Highly Recommended.