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Cakewalk: Wired

 
HUBROCD2514
International release: February 2012

 
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Hubro is proud to present the recording debut of the rocking improvisational trio Cakewalk, a relatively new band whose members hail from the groups Sacred Harp, Highasakite, The Sweetest Thrill and the Hedvig Mollestad Trio.
 
With synths, cymbals, strings and effect boxes, the members of Cakewalk improvise intense and captivating drones and riffs. The musicians have an impressive, nearly telepathic form of interplay as well as a strong sense of structure in their improvisations. Their music spans a wide range of styles, and gives the listener associations to motoric Krautrock, industrial electronic music, noise-rock rock and the Bowie/Eno “Berlin Trilogy”. It is hectic and energetic, and the three musicians push each idea and every riff to the boiling point, and then cool our ears off with more introspective sound improvisation.
 
Øystein Skar (keyboard) comes from Vinstra, and began playing classical music early on before adding improvisational music, pop and jazz to his repertoire. He is also an active composer, and several of his works for solo piano and larger ensembles have been performed publicly in the past few years. In addition to his collaboration with Cakewalk, Skar is a member of the duo Glow and the groups Sacred Harp and Highasakite.
 
Stephan Meidell (guitar/bass) was born and raised in Kristiansand, but is now based in Bergen after having lived in Amsterdam for several years. With his background in jazz and improvisational music he plays in the rock, pop, noise and sound art genres with the bands Cakewalk, Krachmacher, The Sweetest Thrill and Vanilla Riot.
 
Ivar Loe Bjørnstad (drums) was born in Surnadal, and comes originally from a rock background. He lives in Oslo, and has since the turn of the Millennium collaborated with countless bands and constellations in a variety of genres. He currently plays mainly with the Hedvig Mollestad Trio, the Hilde Marie Kjersem band and Cakewalk.
 
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Reviews:

  1. Norwegian trio of Stephan Meidell, Øystein Skar and Ivar Loe Bjørnstad terrorise ghosts of fusion and jazz rock with their hypnotic angular improv grooves, hammering home strobing images of Konono No 1 tearing it up with greasy Benzedrine hoodlums in a No Wave New York Loft.
    -MOJO, Andrew Male 4/5 (UK)

  2. The key to Norwegian trio Cakewalk´s success as an improv rock group lies in the muscularity of their rythm section. On “Glass”, drummer Ivar Loe Bjørnstad offers a bruising take on the tense shuffle of Jaki Liebezeit while Stephan Meidell´s basslines simmer with controlled aggro. “Descent” and “Perpetual” are similarly brutish, recalling the steroidal, circular post-punk of Nisennenmondai, albeit without their thickly daubed distortion. Like the Japanese unit, Cakewalk are dedicated to non-orthodo rock music that is viscerally engaging and physically compulsive: at its best, Wire often sounds like something Radiohead might cook up were they ever to lock Thom York out of the studio, particularly on the aforementioned “Glass” and the triumphant, almost anthemic colser, “Kammer”.
    - The Wire (UK)

  3. Bold, ballsy and confident, Wired is quite an impressive debut for Cakewalk. The trio wear their influences on their sleeves, but it is how they channel them into something which is totally theirs which gives this record not only its incredible level of energy, but also its overall density and depth. If this first output is anything to go by, Cakewalk’s future promises to be extremely bright.
    - TheMilkFactory (UK) – 4.8/5

  4. The debut from this Norwegian power trio is a steroid-fuelled frenzied noise whirligig which careens relentlessly onwards for a short but perfectly formed thirty minutes before collapsing in an exhausted heap of fuzzy bleeps. Cakewalk have taken the template of motorik-groove krautrock and imbued onto it the unruly combinations of perfectly mangled free jazz stylings accompanied by circuit-torturing electronics. At times this makes for almost hysterically overloaded eruptions of sound, particularly the near-cataclysmic escalations of Descent and the aptly named title track itself. Elsewhere, the soothing burbles and bloops of Soil provide some respite from the mayhem, being reminiscent of some lost´60s sountrack by the BBC Radiophonic Workshop for imaginary lunar explorations. A few more pieces such as this would have fone down well admids the sinus-synapse cavity-blasting of much of Wired. Final piece on this brief set, Kammer, winds the window down to cruise the same endless motorways of Kraftwerk and Neu! but now encrusted with rust-coated fuzz. Hopefully there is more to come later down the road from Cakewalk.
    - Rock-A-Rolla, Euan Andrews (UK)

  5. A superb debut, his, from the new Norwegian trio named Cakewalk, aka Øysten Skar on synthesizers, Stephan Meidell guitar, bass and boxes, and Ivar Lee Bjørnstad, drums. Wired (from the excellent Hubro) is brief but richly compelling: six tracks in half an hour, all except one being taut, highly compacted, vivid in detail and compulsively vigorous.
    - Dalston Sound (UK)

  6. Keine gute Idee, diese CD beim Autofahren zu hören. Erstens weil man sie so laut stellen wird, dass die Außenwelt verschwindet. Zweitens weil die drei Jungs ganz schön in die Vollen hauen, das könnte aggressiv machen. Und drittens, weil die Musik einen trotzdem so hypnotisch ist, dass eigentlich ein Warnhinweis auf die Hülle gehört. Parallelen ließen sich da viele ziehen: Zum guten alten Krautrock, zu den Anfängen des Industrial, zu diversen Krach-Richtungen. Im Klartext heißt das: knackige Riffs, endlos wiederholt. Flächige Synthies. Drums wie für eine Treibjagd. Daraus entsteht eine Mischung, die immer kurz vor dem Explodieren steht, aber gleichzeitig sediert. Was ja schon ein Kunststück ist – und stellenweise sogar ein tanzbares, wenn man auf eher aggressives Tanzen steht. Ein Album, das unter die Haut geht und dort nervös juckt. Und das als Debütalbum seine Lorbeeren verdient.
    - Nordische Musik (DE)

  7. Die Waffen auf dieser Mission sind allesamt herkömmlicher Natur und so bleibt “Wired” immer organisch und schlägt den Nichtsnutz Pop mit seinen eigenen Schwertern aus Gitarren, Drums, Bässen und Synthies(…)Aber immer bleibt dieses Album spontan, lebendig und unberechenbar(…)Im Abschluss “Kammer” zeigen sich die Norweger dann auch noch versöhnlich und verabschieden den tapferen Hörer mit 70er Jahre Space-Flächen auf satten und leicht verkanteten Drumgrooves. Nicht nur mit dieser würdevollen Huldigung des Krautrocks empfehlen sich Cakewalk damit nachdrücklich für ein weiteres Album, das dann zwar wieder nur einem kleinen Publikum gefallen wird, aber sicher nochmals den Beweis antritt, dass in der Musik eben doch noch nicht alles gesagt worden ist.
    - Prettyinnoise (DE)

  8. Norwegen ist eine schier unerschöpfliche Brutstätte für experimentell veranlagte, creative Projekte. Gerade das Hubro-Label ist ein hervorragendes Sammelbecken für ebendiese. Glow/Sacred Harp/Highasakite-Musiker Øystein Skar (Synthesizer) hat sich mit Gitarrist, Bassist und Effektelieferant Stephan Meidell (Krachmacher, Vanilla Riot, The Sweetest Thrill) und Drummer Ivar Loe Bjørnstad (Hedvig Mollestad Trio und viel mehr) zusammengetan, um einen nervösen, lebhaften, improvisationsschwangeren, dreiäugigen Bastard aus Altindustrial, Noise Rock, Brian Eno, Experimental-Bowie, Krautrock, Drone, Free Jazz, Psychedelic und gar Ambient zum Leben zu erwecken, der sämtliche Konventionen und Schemata geordneten Musizierens in seinem Schlund verschwinden lässt und mit dem Verdauungsresultat zeigt, was er von auf Konsumierbarkeit getrimmtem Klanggut hält. Flatsch, stink, dampf. Nur: Der Haufen Scheiß ist ein ziemlich heißer.
    - NoisyNeighbours (DE) 13/15

  9. Also a trio is Cakewalk: Oystein Skar (synthesizers), Stephan Meidell (guitar, bass and boxes) and Ivar Loe Bjornstad (drums). They have been active with other bands such as Scared Harp, Highasakite, The Sweetest Thrill and the Hedvig Mollestad Trio. If Ballrogg can be seen as morning music, at least by me, then Cakewalk is perhaps best seen as evening music. Music with a great drive and energy, taking cues from rock music spiced with improvisation, and especially krautrock never seems far away. Especially when the train has left the station, the ball gets rolling and, the drums are on, then its on. Guitar and synthesizer add drone like, sustaining sounds, but here too the element of rock seems never far away. In ‘Soil’ we get a moment of rest, but its a sparse moment among the driving forces.
    - Vital Weekly (NL)

  10. Dette er improvisasjonsmusikk med hjernen i jazzmodus, mens hjerte, armer og ben buler av rock. Midt i blinken for deg som er svak for kraut, Explosions In the Sky, tidlig Sonic Youth eller norske Puma.
    - Bergens Tidende (N)

  11. På cakewalken finn vi keybordist Øystein Skar (opphav Vinstra) som spelte tidleg klassisk musikk og er komponist med fleire verk på samvitet, no på ein annan planet saman med gitarist Stephan Meidell (Kristiansand) og trommeslagaren Ivar Loe Bjørnstad (Surnadal), som spelar både med Hedvig Mollestad og Hilde Marie Kjersem. Vi snakkar om ein generasjon musikarar allereie med fartstid som ikkje skyr nokon
    når dei slår lydane sine saman.
    - Dagsavisen, Roald Helgheim (N)

  12. Sjølv om den samla speletida på CD-en/LP-en ikkje er spesielt sjenerøs, så er det mangt å gleda seg over, m.a. det minimalistiske opningssporet «Glass», den velstrukturerte «Descent», «Perpetual» med bassostinat lånt frå «A Love Supreme» og ein kraftprøve av trommeslagar Loe Bjørnstad. Det heseblesande tittelsporet «Wired» er Meidells glansnummer – strålande gitarspel.
    - Dag og Tid, Lars Mossefinn (N)