Renowned singer songwriter Ane Brun returns to her rapidly growing US audience in July.
Singer-songwriter Ane Brun is set to embark on a new tour in the United States with Australian artist Xavier Rudd in July, following two successful tours around the country earlier this year.
Ane Brun currently lives in Stockholm, Sweden, but she grew up in a small town called Molde on the north western coast of Norway. She has released two albums so far, entitled ‘Spending Time With Morgan’ and ‘A Temporary Dive’, both of which have been critically acclaimed. The latter also earned her a gold album in her native Norway. She has since been busy touring in Scandinavia, Europe and the United States, gaining more fans across the globe.
Brun kicks off her US tour with a gig at Pittsburgh’s Rex Theatre on 18 July and continues with 13 more dates on the West and East coast as well as performances in the Midwest.
May saw the US release of her acclaimed latest album ‘A Temporary Dive” the singer/songwriter’s second outing. The album firmly established Brun in the Championship League of Norwegian music with solid sales and massive airplay at home and abroad. Her distinctive and powerful voice recalls such great performers as Ani DiFranco and Beth Orton and her strong tunes have a timeless quality that pay tribute to icons and influential songwriters like Jeff Buckley and Damien Rice. Standout tracks on ‘A Temporary Dive’ include My Lover Will Go and Song No. 6 featuring Ron Sexsmith. Fans of classic, epic songwriting and those who are not afraid of a dose of melancholy can look forward to some rewarding hours with Brun and her ‘A Temporary Dive’ – one of the year’s strongest releases regardless of genre.
A Temporary Dive was released in the US on 9 May and has since then racked up an impressive array of strong reviews. Time Magazine selected the release as one of May’s five best outings.
Below is a selection of US as well as one UK review(s):
The US debut of this winsome, warbling Norwegian suggests the oddball folks movement of the US acts like Banhart and Joanna Newsom is resonating. It also shows, once again, how raw, idiosyncratic American music should look overseas for packaging tips. Musically, Brun resembles Norah Jones as much as she does Newsome; here, here elegantly strange songs mix surreal whimsy with Scandinavian darkness (“I am a lump of jelly/ I am a dead fish”). Camoes by Ron Sexsmith and Syd matters help extract the singer from her navel.
Singer-songwriter Ane Brun is probably not a household name--unless your
house is in Norway, where she's won all kinds of awards for her lovely new
album, A Temporary Dive (V2/DetErMine). Beautiful, haunting and, yes, even
fun, Brun's music is folk with all the modern conveniences, having more in
common with Beth Orton and Zero 7 than, say, Pete Seeger. That said, anyone
who's fond of the lush mope of Nick Drake or the loose-limbed jaunt of Rufus
Wainwright will find much to love on gorgeous tracks such as "To Let Myself
Go," "This Voice" and "My Lover Will Go."
Time Magazine selects her album as one of the 5 best albums in May. Writes Josh Tyrangiel:
“This Norwegian girl with a guitar has a whiff of the coffeehouse about her, but it's a good coffeehouse. Her depressing songs are monumentally mordant (many are about breakups, one's about death), but she also flashes a sense of humor ("My friend, you left me in the end/ I can't believe I'm writing a song where friend rhymes with end") and really comes out of her shell on Song No. 6, a sweet, stomping duet with fellow melancholic Ron Sexsmith. Most compelling of all is her voice--a mix of Bjork's unpredictability and Joni Mitchell's directness that makes even the dourest material affecting.”
Slant Magazine also awards the album a glowing review:
“I receive hundreds upon hundreds of CDs, but only once or twice a year does something reach out and grab me by the neck, effectively securing a spot on my year-end list months before I'm even aware of it. Such is the case with Scandinavian singer-songwriter Ane Brun's sophomore disc A Temporary Dive, the first album of 2006 to reserve its spot. From the very first note out of Brun's mouth—no, even before that, from the very first strum of her acoustic guitar on the opening song—I knew I was listening to something special. Brun doesn't break down any barriers or forge any ground uncharted by the late-'60s British folk artists whose footprints she so delicately presses her presumably petite feet into, but her songs are refreshing and pure, a throwback to traditional folk while at the same keeping one foot firmly planted in the no-longer-neo neo-folk movement. Brun evokes Billie Holiday's sadness and diction on the steel pans-and-glocks title track, and creates a heartbreaking new arrangement of Purcell's mournful "Laid In Earth" from his 17th century opera Dido and Aeneas. Her finger-picking and ominous, lonely arrangements are reminiscent of Ani DiFranco at her experimental peak, angelic background vocals peeking in and out of the solemn, repeated refrain of "To Let Myself Go," which Brun describes as "a brief and personal philosophy of life." The track sets the tone for much of the album, which, despite a less than logical song sequence where the admittedly "sobby, pink" "Song No. 6" is sandwiched between a punch-in-the-gut like "Where Friend Rhymes With End" and "The Fight Song," which features Ron Sexsmith on vocals, is alternately matter-of-fact and metaphorically elegiac. In the age of iPod, though, it probably doesn't matter—even broken into parts, A Temporary Dive's impact is anything but transient.”
Pitchforkmedia’s Mark Pytlik also praises A Temporary Dive: “Since Sweden's José González hit with "Heartbeats" late last year, Ane Brun has been the Scandinavian most likely to follow in his footsteps. Like González, the Norway-born, Sweden-based Brun ballasts her culturally exotic back story with sparse, English-language songs fluent in the well-established idioms of North American and British folk. But unlike, say, Sondre Lerche, Kings Of Convenience, or even the Cardigans, all of whom pepper their songs with occasional North Germanic trills and slightly skewed-in-translation lyrical quirks, there's nothing in the hard DNA of Brun's music to immediately suggest where she's from. Instead, Brun's surroundings are telegraphed to us obliquely, through the thick fog of her lonely, crystalline songs.
Re-constructed for North American release, this version of A Temporary Dive contains all 10 tracks from Brun's 2005 sophomore outing as well as an extra offering from November's Duets record. Clocking in at just over 42 minutes, it's an easily digestible collection of acoustic ballads and minor key melodies that flits between folksy prettiness and something a little darker. With an unaffected delivery and a clear, clean soprano that occasionally sends up traces of Beth Gibbons or Nina Nastasia, Brun aims for the kind of subtle, spacious songs that work best at 2 a.m., and more often than not, she delivers.
A tangle of guitars, keys, synth drones, and choral voices, opener "To Let Myself Go" establishes the album's glacial, unhurried pace. A love song that morphs into a sort of sleepy hymnal, it makes for an arresting start, but the spell is quickly broken by the twangy, mid-tempo romp of "Song No. 6". Featuring uncharacteristic oversinging from Brun and guest vocalist Ron Sexsmith, the vampy duet is the album's only serious misstep. It feels at odds with the remainder of the record, which hews more closely to the slower, bleaker side of things. As highlights go, there's also the shimmering "Balloon Ranger", which winks at PJ Harvey with a pretty turn about halfway through, the string-drenched "Laid In Earth", and "Where Friend Rhymes With End", wherein Brun cuts through her navalgazing with a jab at her own expense: "I can't believe I'm writing a song/ Where friend rhymes with end".
Despite the fact that most of the songs on A Temporary Dive benefit from a spacious, hands-off production approach, the best thing here is ironically also the most ornate. With creeping strings that sometimes veer into dissonance, xylophones and a shuffling rhythm section, "My Lover Will Go" has a psych-folk undercarriage that's right in line with Gibbons' very underrated solo album, Out of Season. It's hard to hear it and not wish for Brun to go deeper in that direction on her next record, but for now, this is a welcome start.”
A Temporary Dive has also racked up several strong UK reviews. The Independent awards the release a total of five out of five stars: “Already a star across Scandinavia, the Norwegian singer-songwriter Ane Brun is clearly a major talent, mining a similarly enigmatic seam of quiet melancholy to that of her fellow Swedish resident Jose Gonzalez. Several of these songs reflect a pronounced introversion and uncertainty about her position, while The Beatles pun in the title of "Rubber And Soul" masks a stark metaphor in which she claims she wears "rubber bands round my soul/They keep me from crawling". And when dealing with sexual matters, she prefers to lurk behind balloon and equine metaphors in "Balloon Ranger" and "The Fight Song" respectively. This furtiveness is complemented in the arrangements of co-producer Katharina Nuttall and multi-instrumentalist Staffan Johansson, who create haunting backdrops of guitar, celesta and harmonium.