Susanne Sundfør’s latest met with rave reviews on home turf.
‘The Silicone Veil’ , Sundfør’s third studio album saw its domestic release on 26th March. Barely into its first week on the market, the album is already toted as a possible record of the year by the nation’s music critics and blogosphere alike.
Where The Brothel was seen to gravitate towards a dark, cold and closed musical expression, The Silicone Veil contains melodies that hint of warmth and fullness, bound in multifaceted and complex soundscapes. Thematically, The Silicone Veil centres on the blurred boundaries between one state of being and another, between life and death, between people, and between us and the earth. As Sundfør summarises it: "Apocalypse, death, love and snow".
All tracks on The Silicone Veil are written and composed by Susanne Sundfør, and arranged by Sundfør and Lars Horntveth (Jaga Jazzist, The National Bank). The album was recorded in Pooka Studio and Kikitépe Tearoom Studio, produced by Sundfør and Horntveth and mixed in Duper Studio by Jørgen Træen (Kaizers Orchestra, Jaga Jazzist, Datarock). Musicians from Trondheimsolistene string orchestra appear on five of the album's ten tracks.
' A larva wrapped in silk'
Writes Mojo/The Arts Desk contributor Keiron Tyler in his review of the album: The Silicone Veil is more direct and more abstruse than The Brothel – both at the same time. The songs, generally, have a more linear construction and are more direct than those on The Brothel, but are presented in a more disturbing, more jarring framework. Again, though, her new album marks (and again confirms) Sundfør as one of the most important, impactful musicians of today.
Unlike The Brothel, where the songs could be taken as chapters, The Silicone Veil doesn’t appear to have an overall narrative. Death reoccurs: the “slip away” of album opener “Diamonds”; “I don’t want o die, dive into the sea” she sings on “Rome”; “There is a killer among us” (“Among Us”); “You bury me slowly” (“When”). On the creepy title track it’s strikingly evident: “I go to a funeral every day, I follow these people around, I follow these people like a rat’s tail, I carry their caskets, I sing them good night”.
But that’s a preoccupation rather than a theme. If there is one – and there seems to be one – it’s exemplified by “The Silicone Veil”: “I’m a larva wrapped in silk, I am dying in burning flesh”: “Our souls disabled, You want to rip out the cable” (“Stop (Don’t Push the Button)”); “We are in capsules, Slip away, Disloyal, To the doctors” (“Diamonds”).
Just as silicone alters the body, the concept of transfiguration, rather than submission, runs through The Silicone Veil - the spiritual qualities of The Brothel are present, albeit less explicitly.
The Australian Link
Writes Jenny Hval/Rockettothesky in the Silicone Veil liner notes:
- While listening to The Silicone Veil, I'm travelling to the outskirts of Sydney, from Norwegian winter to Australian summer. I'm in a run-down industrial suburb, a ramshackle Australia. The old warehouses remind me of ruins with their windswept concrete walls, dirty grafitti, and flaky paint. They glow in the desert red afternoon sun.
- The light and the ruins set the scene for The Silicone Veil, or is it the other way around? From the ashes of Rome to the hidden domes, from Sundfør's golden voice and the warm vintage synthesizer arpeggios, I hear ancient, open, glowing brushstrokes.
Writes Norwegian daily Aftenposten in its 6/6 review of ‘The Silicone Veil’:
The uncompromising and willful attitude Sundfør exhibits, is still firmly rooted in the musical expression, and using sharp contrasts throughout the album, exciting dynamics are created.
Examples include when a beautiful and fragile vocals are mated with twisted synthetic rhythms in songs like in "Rome" and "Among Us", or electronic noise used as a disturbing element in the "Stop (do not push the button)" and "White foxes" while no one can imagine the songs without those elements, either.
With ‘The Silicone Veil’ Susanne Sundfø’s r uncompromising expression appears even more pure in its form, but at the same time, whether she likes it or not, captures the zeitgeist. It’s virtually impossible to come closer to a pop-music bullseye than this!
Susanne Sundfør was born and grew up in Haugesund, Norway. She currently resides in Oslo. Over the years Sundfør played a long list of gigs at home and abroad with a 2005 gig with Tom McRae being one of the highlights. Often compared to songwriters such as Joni Mitchell and Carole King, Sundfør also draws inspiration from artists like Jeff Buckley, Radka Toneff, Ane Brun and Thomas Dybdahl.Her lyrics often deals with personal subject matters such as “Africa, America”, “Time out, time”, “It’s all gone tomorrow” or contemporary issues (“Opium”).
March 2007 saw the release of Sundfør’s first self-titled album “Susanne Sundfør”, which was bestowed with highly positive reviews. She won the price for “best female vocalist” at the 2008Spellemannspris – the Norwegian equivalent of the Grammy Award, and was nominated in the category “newcomer of the year” as well. Sundfør’s second album was entitled “The Brothel” and saw its release in March 2010. The album received rave reviews from all Norwegian newspapers and was nominated for 3 Spellemannspris Awards.
Listen to Susanne Sundfør’s ‘The Silicone Veil’ on Spotify