Susanna Sonata Mix Dwarf Cosmos Review

Released 2007.  

BBC Review

Stark and beautiful. Ms Wallumrod returns without her magical Orchestra...

Martin Longley 2007

This album's title suggests some kind of freaky cataclysm is about to ensue, but its reality is of a completely opposite nature: a whispered, intimate stasis, brushing against the listener's ears, as if designed for them alone. The Norwegian singer Susanna Karolina Wallumrød has now locked out her Magical Orchestra, instead concentrating on a completely solo state, accompanying herself on barely caressed guitar and piano.

Actually, keyboardist Morten Qvenild was that entire 'orchestra', and he does actually guest on a pair of tracks here. Other fleeting contributors include Christian Wallumrød (piano), Ingebrigt Haker Flaten (bass) and Helge Sten (guitars/Mellotron), the latter also being the producer of this album, under his Deathprod guise. Despite all of these guests, the general palette remains exceedingly quiet, and their activites are heavily rationed.

Susanna's careful enunciations are introspective in the extreme, and all of the songs are originals, in marked contrast to the Magical Orchestra concept of unlikely cover versions. No AC/DC here! Unfortunately, if the voice and its song are going to be so totally alone, the writing of melody and words needs to be absolutely compulsive, to justify such nakedness. This is not the case here. Often, these songs waft across without adhering, drifting aimlessly. Creating an impressionistic atmosphere seems to be the chief aim. Susanna makes a deliberate attempt to be direct and heartfelt in her scribing, not exactly obscuring her meaning with dense poetic imagery. It sounds like she's just singing what she's thinking. Is this winningly childlike, or just plain unimaginative? Such naked simplicity is to be admired, but the album ends up being left becalmed, floating in a somewhat one-dimensional state.

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