Susanna & the Magical Orchestra : List of lights and buoys - CD
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cd cover art Susanna & the Magical Orchestra
list of lights and buoys (Rune Grammofon)

Norwegian duo of Susanna Wallumrød (vocals) and Morten Qvenild (keyboards) features nine low key, sparse and austere original songs plus highly personal interpretations of Dolly Parton's 'Jolene' and Leonard Bernstein's 'Who Am I'. Unique contemporary music from Scandinavia.

Press notes from the label:
Absolutely brilliant debut release from young Norwegian duo consisting of Susanna Wallumrød (vocals) and Morten Qvenild (keyboards). Nine beautiful low key original songs plus highly personal interpretations of Dolly Parton«s "Jolene" and Leonard Bernstein«s "Who Am I" makes this one of the strongest Norwegian debut releases in a very long time. If you´ve heard "Believer" (also included here) from "Money Will Ruin Everything" you know what to expect. Produced by Andreas Mjøs (Jaga Jazzist) and Deathprod.

Norwegian newcomers’ magical debut. A Scandinavian duo in their mid-20s, singer Susanna Wallumrød and keyboardist Morten Qvenild make impossibly sad, starry-eyed music belying their years. An accomplished debut, ”List Of Lights And Bouys” is a breathtakingly beautiful, deceptively simple, deeply affecting collection of ghostly electronic melancholia, with Wallumrød’s sensuous voice (a Björk comparison is obvious but apt) to the fore. When she sings “Jolene”, slow and skeletal, it’s as if she penned it yesterday. A dolorous delight. - Uncut (UK)

Barely a minute into ”List Of Lights And Buoys” and 24-year old Susanna Wallumrød and ex-Jaga Jazzist Morten Qvenild have pulled you into their sparsely furnished alternate world where some Jennifer Warnes-like eidolon reveals tales of romantic grief in reedbeds of Eno-like spooky boom. Beautiful, spare, hypnotic, like Sinatra’s ”Where Are You?” Aimee Mann’s ”Bachelor No 2” and all great torch-song collections, ”List Of Lights...” is the sound of midnight chill, hope and longing whispered by the ghost of relationships who still haunts the old places. - Mojo (UK)

The stand-out track on Susanna Wallumrød and Morten Qvenild’s nakedly beautiful album of Eno-tronic heartbreak. One of the greatest break-up songs ever: “You are a believer, I am not.” - Mojo´s Top Ten (UK) ”List Of Lights And Buoys” is distinctly tasteful. Even though the flickering electrical sound effects, the swelling bass strings, and Susanna’s voice, somewhere between an in-tune Nico and a Hebridean folk singer, are unsettling, the overall sound has such a stately pace that it never becomes merely freaky. The songs themselves, proper torch songs, sung in slightly accented English, are all adult loneliness (especially on the understated cover of Dolly Parton’s ”Jolene”) and existential pondering, giving the whole an air of a slow but sophisticated arthouse film. It’s not exactly fun, fun, fun, but as small-hours pondering records go, it’s a keeper. - Word (UK)

Kicking off your debut album with your own version of two classic songs is nothing short of suicidal. This is however exactly what Rune Grammofon’s most recent signing have gone and do by opening ”A List Of Lights & Buoys” with a cover of ”Who Am I”, taken from Leonard Bernstein’s ”Peter Pan” musical, and Dolly Parton’s ”Jolene”. This is, in this case, a bold statement and sets the bar extremely high for the rest of the album.Produced by another of Jaga Jazzist’s members, and Rotoscope founder, Andreas Mjøs and Deathprod’s Helge Sten, ”List Of Lights & Buoys” is a stunning piece of work. Delicate in its melodies and arrangements, the essence of this album is to be found somewhere between the crystalline ambiences of Björk’s ”Vespertine” and the acoustic structures of Carole King’s ”Tapestry”. Yet, the pair craft here a very personal record, based almost entirely around Wallumrød’s voice. If the music offers subtle sombre contrasts to her colourful touches, it never disturbs the clarity of tone or the precious silences in between words. ”List Of Lights & Buoys” is a superb stylistic exercise and a captivating piece of work. Both Susanna Wallumrød and Morten Qvenild show great maturity and control over their respective contribution, making this album a very promising record and one of the strongest debuts heard in years. 4.9/5. The Milk Factory (UK) I know it's still a relatively new year, and god how I hate to resort to the overplayed "one of 2004's best," but I'm almost certain that even as I type this, a dozen people have scribbled the name Susanna and the Magical Orchestra on their respective "best of" lists. The debut album from this atmospheric Norwegian duo is that special. Vocalist Susanna Wallumrød and keyboardist Morten Qvenild have created a stunning understated mix of pop, jazz, laptop and minimal electronica that oozes sensuality. It's so personal that you'll keep pushing your headphones closer to your ears. The minimal arrangement of Dolly Parton's "Jolene" is so stripped that Wallumrød makes this desperate plea her very own. Tracks like the melancholic "Believer", the sad, dreamy romance of "Sweet Devil," and the lush multi-tracked vocal refrain of "Time" will literally make your arm hairs stand on end. It's all really beautiful, right down to the CD sleeve designed by Kim Hiorthøy. Recommended! - Other Music (US)

”Believer” is a simple ode to the destruction of a relationship, perching Wallumrød´s clear and pure vocals against a stark background of two different keyboard sounds that tentatively pluck out the verse and confidently glide into the chorus. The brunt of the blame lies on Wallumrød, as she remains resolutely an unbeliever, having to ”destroy it all”. And while it is easily the highlight here, there are numerous other reasons to recommend this recording. The cover of Parton´s ”Jolene”, for example, strips the song of its country tinge, revealing that only six notes are needed to render a compelling version of the song. Additionally, ”Time” is a gem of a song, mining the same sort of electronic naivete of Björk´s ”Vespertine” songs with a calliope-esque melody providing the chorus amid Susanna´s most buoyant vocal performance on the album. One of the most promising debuts of the young year and comes highly recommended. - Stylusmagazine (US)

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