Admittedly, I’ve not had a lot of time to write my usual, unnecessarily long album reviews as of late.
I’m well aware that I never got to Marina And The Diamonds‘ fabulous FROOT (it’s great, please buy it), and I suspect I won’t have the time to fully unpack the lovely Kate Havnevik‘s new record, &I, anytime soon either. Long story short: I’m going through something very difficult with my family, and I don’t particularly motivated to spend hours and hours writing at the moment. Real life happens, unfortunately.
I did, however, want to say that Kate Havnevik’s new record &I has been one of the things offering a nice little mental escape…and it’s well worth your time, too.
For those of you who aren’t already acquainted, the Norwegian singer-songstress has been on the scene for over a decade. I first discovered her because of a haunting contribution to Röyksopp‘s “Only This Moment,” a song that has very strong personal memories attached, and still one of my favorite songs of all time. From there, I latched onto her debut record Melankton…and it’s been bliss ever since.
Her music is purely the stuff of lush electronic dreams, crafted alongside frequent collaborator, the genius Guy Sigsworth. For those of you who love Imogen Heap and Frou Frou, Kate’s music ought to fit snugly into your collection.
Upon first play, &I already feels like Kate’s most ambitious set to date, incorporating new sounds into her repertoire (the stabbing “Emotional” could possibly be a Garbage track, for instance) and more collaborators than ever before.
There are plenty of favorites upon first listen, including “Signals” and “A Better Way To Love,” but one of the biggest surprises comes at the very end, in which she teams up with Canadian duo Sultan + Shepard for a nearly 7-minute electronic epic (!) called “The River.” (The two have done a ton of songs with Nadia Ali, and they did a remix of Havnevik’s own “Disobey” a few years back.)
The gorgeous album closer is reminiscent of the greatness of Morgan Page‘s “In The Air” (and possibly even a hint of Girls Aloud‘s icy disco mammoth “Untouchable”?) building ever-so-slowly from light sparkles and strings into a full-on Kaskade-like trance euphoria — and all without reeking of festival fodder.
The gradual climb to the finish is truly beautiful, but it all really comes together around the three minute mark as Kate delivers her divine chorus:
“When I’m with you, are you with me?/Do you see what I see? Here comes the river…“
It’s an incredibly emotional and, dare I say, transcendent production that truly challenges the notion that dance music has gone stale.
So grab the song, grab the album…and remember to tell someone you care about in your life that you love them. Today. Seriously.
‘&I’ was released on March 13. (iTunes)