Title: Like Spinning EP
Record Label: Unsigned
3:00a.m In the crowded Seattle Greyhound Station years ago I decided I would kill myself the following morning. Ten thousand miles away from home I was a cold, homeless and hungry; some other poor bastard had just stolen my belongings and leaving me stranded in that December winter island. My iPod and headphones were inside. Something within broke instantly, lost faith in this race and myself. Made the dire decision in some random bench and stayed there in my sad fever for some minutes: dreaming of just how lost we all are in this fucked up world and were my energy to change it had gone. Some nameless girl sat besides me, perhaps also as lonely. I didn’t recognize her. There was unspeakable warmth in her eyes and in how she meditated next to me in silence, we just looked at each other. Dawn was suddenly near. And she, saved me.
Deconstructing Like Spinning’s structures, composition, and production nothing truly revolutionary stands out. It took me somewhat a month to decipher that additional component I could hear in their EPs that lacks clear objective or exact name. The realization came with the memory of that girl I saw once years ago in Seattle. That which no label can buy, that makes branded instruments worthless, patrician producers and legendary studio spaces futile. As in the gaze of strangers when metaphysical strength withers and the need for soul becomes imminent in Like Spinning you will find Humanity. It is not the raw humanity we expect nowadays in post-modern acts such as stellar Wu Lyf or Arcade Fire but rather the introspective and infinitely delicate extra-musical sense of Mark Kozelek. It is the humanity I imagine when the first man looked up to find the first moon hanging unrecognizable until then. It is a deep value long lost in the prosaic music industry and unfortunately even in the self-emulating indie scene.
The band in essence is comparable to a hundred other indie/folk/pop groups. I know at least two in Vancouver who could musically be easily confused with Like Spinning side projects. But the simplicity of their youth, almost naïve beauty and unrelenting honesty I can only remember with endearment in great ones. It was there in Chan Marshal (Good Woman), Elliot Smith (Twillight), Geoff Farinas (Wait), Hope Sandoval (Into Dust) and Fiona Apple (Sullen Girl). All of which have left a mark that goes far past the feelings reserved for conventional words, sufficiently familiar to remind us of childhood friends and enduring journeys.
Where form serves only as vehicle to the content, the words and guitars Like Spinning’s triumph is the uncommon and subtle filter of good taste, in melodies and beyond. Encompassed in the limited scope of the EP they are sometimes sad without lamenting, passionate without theatricality, melancholic without self-pity. Each song is pregnant with its tiny truths, some universal and many others quite plainly full of autumn permanence. It is art.
Originally hailing from Oslo, Kari Kamrud Jahnsen is the very breathe of the five piece band and her voice fronts both EPs. Originally from Norway, now based in East London.
The single Forces is somehow reminiscent of a modern Ode To My Family by The Cranberries. It carries that same anxiousness of age when confronted. With an almost wistful pain that strips down in the chorus and picks up again in Jørgen Nordby’s ever-opportune drums. Martin Berger’s bass excelling in creating the necessary paced atmosphere, dark enough to let Jacob Manhaliso’s electric guitar bloom. Kari’s voice hangs in between lines, swelling to a promise and receding in regret. But there is one precious second moreover: last line and last word when a final ‘go’ strikes summing up the intentions of Forces in one sole beautiful mistake as her voice breaks. It collapses saying what no other instrument or singer could add to Forces.
How Could I Have Known is a ballad of harps and paper-thin guitar chords, with the intimacy that makes listeners blush. Anna Lena Bruland (from Anna Lena and the Orchids) and Eva Moa provide the backing vocals, a contribution that appears at first impossible or not necessary when only having as reference Forces. But with Don’t Tell Me as prime example the substance gained through their almost invisible layering and Nordic range transforms the composition from aesthetically stunning in its simplicity to plainly soulful. The EP is complemented with the more playful tune of Crush (and Naivety), a teaser track that allows listeners to further anticipate what directions a full LP could take in the near future. Flocks of morning birds accompany the singer and guitar in the background of Volcano.
There is a sense of flight in the band recorded as it follows carefully crafted poems that span great length to pour unto us tales of loss of paradise, fear of oneself, secret joys of discovery, promises unlikely to be kept and birds in the patio. Their music is one of evening fireworks, flashes of bright lights that in seconds merges back with the dark backdrop.
Year 2012 has now reached a midpoint, a breaking point with some spectacular releases: enough post-punk to feel adolescent fury again like it was 1997, synth hits riding the post-Drive wave to sway like it was 1987 and a revivalism of indie folk that has infused novelty to the genre for the first time in almost a decade. The one thing 2012 missed so far was soul. So after so much missing let Like Spinning not go unnoticed. These are songs of late night urban walks; sounds for wine, compositions that allow strangers reach silence together. They make the rain outside better. With the warmth that only unfettered humanity can bring forth. Sounds to be closer. Reaching through headphones, speaking almost too personally to each. Almost as if locking eyes with ours. Even to the extent of saving some.
Words by Chris Kummerfeld