With its second album, quirky pop outfit Dadafon has hit the jackpot. The mix of vocalist Kristin Asbjørnsen’s unique style and the bands unusual instrumentation is coupled with influences ranging from afro-pop to Tom Waits and Brian Eno. Eclectic and unique might be conceived as worn-out clichés – but in this instance the phrases are highly relevant.
To quote Dagbladet, one of Norway’s biggest dailies: Call it whatever you want, but one thing is certain – Dadafon’s kaleidoscopic journeys through one soundscape more exiting than the other sure sounds fantastic. Asbjørnsen’s voice is in itself a unique instrument. The combination of various vocal styles, electric guitars, cellos and a wide array of more or less exotic percussion makes “Visitor” one of the most refreshing releases in years.
Dadafon’s self-described creaky pop has also found a receptive and enthusiastic listener in Norway’s biggest daily newspaper, VG: Dadafon’s acoustic pop has few, if any equals in Norway and the same goes for vocalist Kristin Asbjørnsen’s uniquely crackling voice. “Visitor” is a wonderful, original and exciting record that tickles your curiosity strongly.
Says Dadafon’s Kristin Asbjørnsen: We’ve put a lot of effort into adapting and transforming African music. I have also listened quite a lot to gospel as well as early blues singers such as Bessie Smith.
For the Norwegian (and a growing international) audience, Asbjørnsen is also well known as a vocalist in another distinctive act; Krøyt. Says Asbjørnsen about the similarities and differences between the two bands: To put it simply, Dadafon is more acoustically inclined than Krøyt. Still, Dadafon brings forth technologically influences and finds inspiration in artists Tom Waits and Nick Cave.
Dadafon was conceived in 1995, and during the first years the band was known as Coloured Moods. Under this name the collective released as self-titled album in 1998. 2001 saw the band transforming into Dadafon and the “And I can’t Stand Sill” album was released to wide critical acclaim. Today the band is made up of Kristin Asbjørnsen on vocals, Jostein Asnes on guitar and vocals, Øyvind Engen on cello and vocals plus Carl Haakon Waadeland and Martin Smidt on percussion, balaphone and various scrap metal.
“Visitor’s” lyrics are a mix of Asbjørnsens own as well as carefully selected works by poets Cristina Rosetti, Walt Whitman and Elizabeth Browning. Says Asbjørnsen to Ballade about Dadafon’s literary influences: There’s a wealth of fantastic poems out there. Walt Whitman showcased a reckless defiance regarding uniform standards and at the same time he channelled his revolt in a positive way. The same defiance is evident in Browning’s works, but one can also detect a clear sense of yearning. “Be It So”, one of the poems we interpreted on our latest EP deals with the balance with between fragile devotion and fatal self-destruction. That’s love’s dilemma.
Commenting on Dadafon’s ecstatic reception in Norway, Asbjørnsen says; I have always felt that Dadafon has been making accessible music. Our tunes are rhythmical and energetic and the melodies are catchy – it makes you want to dance. Our sound has also become more focused and clearer as we have tightened the grip on the arrangements. The simple melodic structures with verse and chorus, which are combined with open hypnotic soundscapes, are what make Dadafon unique as a pop act.
“Visitor” is released on VIA Music and is distributed by Musikkoperatørene.