Silje Nes’ debut Ames Room has drawn a lot of international attention since its release. The last territory out was America, where the record became available on March 11th. Reviews have been trickling in, of the enthused sort; most recently from Pitchforkmedia.
From the review:
Creating the album was a solitary pursuit, but unlike many bedroom auteurs who try to make one musician sound like many, Nes crafts music that actually reflects that isolation: Ames Room sounds like it's emanating from deep within her imagination. ( )
Even so, her aesthetic isn't stripped down or lo-fi. Her complexly layered compositions are dense with loops, synths, cello, drums, guitar, and a cacophony of unidentifiable sounds. ( )
Ames Room may be an essay on the possibilities of home recording, but these songs, simultaneously succinct and discursive, portray her more as a pop musician than as a sound tinkerer.
Among the esteemed UK label Fat Cat’s most profiled new names Silje has been highly active in Britain since the December release of Ames Room in the UK. She has also toured the US, and played at the SXSW festival in Austin in March. Currently Silje is on tour in Britain, the venues of which included last week’s Great escape festival in Brighton.
Prior to the release of Ames Room MIC wrote of her background:
Silje grew up in the tiny town of Leikanger, in Sognefjord, the largest fjord in Norway, before moving to the rainy, larger town of Bergen in 2000. She began making her own music in 2001, recording on 4-track demo software through a tiny inbuilt microphone on a laptop. Though she’d previously studied classical piano, when she started recording she decided to do so with guitars and instruments on which she had no previous experience of playing. Simply guided by finding sounds she loved and the excitement of discovering new instruments without learned conventions, she made use of whatever equipment she could get hold of - guitars and an old synth, a cello, a drum kit, a laptop, as well as loop pedals to build layers of her own playing. Little by little she also found ways of including her own voice in the mix, both as texture and song, and her music has organically evolved from there.
And of the album:
Boldly Inventive and broad-visioned, ‘Ames Room’ announces the emergence of a hugely talented and distinctive young artist. With the sole exception of the opening track - written and recorded with Kristian Stockhaus from Ungdomskulen - the entirety of the album is Silje’s own work and sounds like someone clearly reveling in the act of creation.
Entirely home-recorded, the album gathers together material created between Autumn 2004 and Summer 2007. Attesting to the primacy of the recording process, the songs were actually written as they were recorded. Silje notes the importance of this presence that comes from recording spontaneously, with all its imperfections. ‘It’s the recording that I enjoy, and I can’t separate that from the songwriting.’ Whilst the early recordings were largely instrumental (often wordlessly using her voice as an extra instrument) and more heavily electronic, over the past year her lyrics and vocal have come increasingly to the fore, as has the use of guitar and drums. Gentle and wispily imbuing songs with an almost childlike sense of wonder and awe, Silje’s voice is breathy and beautifully measured, calmly sitting at the centre of the webs she spins like some playful, benevolent animating spirit.