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Huntsville: For Flowers, Cars and Merry Wars

 

HUBROLP2505
Released in Norway march 2011.
International release June 2011

 

180g LP white vinyl + CDiTunes Spotify

 

 

On Huntsvilles very first release on vinyl, “For Flowers, Cars and Merry War”, the group is heading in a heavier, darker, more rock-flavoured and electric direction.
 
Huntsville, an improvisational trio with a distinctive sound, has already released two unique, critically acclaimed albums on the Norwegian label Rune Grammofon. The group has toured in Europe and the USA several times, has collaborated with Sidsel Endresen, Wilcos Nels Cline and Glenn Kotche, and recently held a concert in Spain with Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth.
 
Like so much other good music, Huntsvilles music is difficult to categorise. Music journalists have tried calling it “yoga country” and “abstract drone Americana”, and this time around it is not improbable that there will be comparisons with both “krautrock” and bands such as Black Dice. But this is primarily Huntsville music. Nobody sounds like them.
 
On the monumental track that fills the entire A side they are joined by the superb alternative pop vocalist Hanne Hukkelberg. The album was mixed at Propeller Studios with Kåre Chr. Vestrheim (Motorpsycho, Jaga Jazzist) at the board. This is clearly the most cohesive album the trio has made so far. Hypnotic and energetic music that deserves to be played at a high volume.
 
Limited edition LP in white vinyl with a printed inner sleeve. Free CD version included.

 
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Reviews:

  1. “Huntsville seldom use fixed scores, or scores of any kind, and yet they eschew the term ‘improv’. But neither do they recognise comparisons of their recent work with krautrock – which, supposedly, none of the group have listened to. The labelling-phobia of musicians is as old as the practice of music criticism. But I was surprised by the parallels with Norwegian group Diskjokke. There’s the same minimal drumming, though Huntsville inflect it with post-rock layering, and imply no hint of Krautrock psychedelia.Instead, they display an incredible rhythmic subtlety and sophistication that comes from the intense empathetic listening and response of free Improv. In a delicious frisson, for instance, the title-track develops a favourite device, a kind of half-tempo polyrhythm, and stretches out towards a drone – it segues into a quiet conclusion, in a way that’s a little reminiscent of the transition to “Shhh Peaceful” on In A Silent Way. The result is genuinely hypnotic, even trance-inducing music – really magnificent drone-based, er, Improv.” – Andy Hamilton, The Wire (UK)

  2. “They´re clearly admirers of Sonic Youth, John Cage and Sunn O))), but there´s a lushness to Huntsville´s austerity that makes their third album much more than a dry execise in tonal nuance.”
    – Uncut, 4/5 (UK)

  3. “Huntsville brilliantly probe and re-evaluate their basic sound template and in doing so have made their finest album yet.”
    – Rock A Rolla (UK)

  4. “Who says a single has to be three minutes long? Not Norwegian indie combo Huntsville, who enlist vocalist Hanne Hukkelberg on a main track of nearly 19 minutes long. Luckily, these musical atmospheres really are worth lingering over.”
    – Metro (UK)

  5. “With this latest album, Huntsville continue to create extremely sharp and imaginative sound constructions with a very clear individual sense, but their hypnotic rhythms are now closer to linear krautrock grooves than to rock or jazz ones. For Flowers, Cars And Merry Wars is the sumptuous record of a band which appears to evolve with no boundaries to contain them.”
    – themilkfactory.co.uk 4.7/5 (UK)

  6. “These three players know how to add small variations in the way they are playing. By altering the way they strum or add small tricks that I am not aware of. It makes this music very vibrant and speedy, highly energetic. The best option, I guess, is to hear this played loud in concert;
    the second best option is to play this at home really loud. Drone like LaMonte Young, Velvet Underground and Black Dice. An excellent manifestation of drone rock meets improvised music.”
    – Vital Weekly (NL)

  7. “Their long pieces unexpectedly marry the nervous syncopation of Can’s motorik transport to the inward beauty of Eastern drone forms. It can feel like the equivalent of three simultaneous carnival rides, with speed, blurred colours and unexpected jolts aplenty.”
    – Exclaim.ca

  8. “Unhurried, string-driven extemporisation, with hints of country, jazz and post-rock peeking through. Add some subtle glitchtronica – and Hanne Hukkelberg´s fey, enigmatic vocals on the title track – and the result is both dreamlily transcendent and grippingly immediate.”
    – Jazzwise 3/5 (UK)

  9. “Music from Norway can have moods and textures that aren’t found elsewhere. Templates are thrown away and boundaries between genres are non existent, bringing a thrilling unpredictability(…)For Flowers, Cars and Merry Wars is very precise. It begins with an insistent pulse that continues through the title track. Bells, a Terry Riley-esque synth wash, saw tones and gurgling sounds shimmer over the top. Guest vocalist Hanne Hukkelberg drifts in and out. The elements coalesce, a simple one-string guitar refrain is repeated. The pitch of the pulse rises, creating an incredible tension. It’s the non-rock Ash Ra Temple.”
    – TheArtsDesk, disc of the day (UK)

  10. “There’s a satisfaction in the way Huntsville quietly move their sound, the way that they change their focus constantly, without the listener really hearing where and when. Theirs is a beautifully refined, rewarding sound, a warm subtle clever uncluttered sound, a sound that always has point and purpose to it. Huntsville are from Norway, and this four track full length album is a pleasure to get lost in…”
    – Organ, “Thing of the day” (UK)

  11. “For Flowers” delivers fully on the promise of the band’s earlier works.
    – TheJazzMann.com, 3.5/5 (UK)

  12. “A deep and rewarding listen.”
    – Musicohm.com, 3/5 (UK)

  13. “I’m not sure how much the trio Huntsville have, if anything, to do with the Alabama city. A band from Norway, their choice of instrumentation has taken in tablas and shruti boxes, and they are prone to getting into grooves which sound distinctly German in provenance(…)Despite the geographical confusion implicit in their work, it sounds like Huntsville themselves always have a pretty good idea about where they are coming from, if not always where they are going to.”
    – TheLiminal (UK)

  14. “Norwegian trio, Huntsville´s “For Flowers, Cars And Merry Wars”, despite the evocative femal lead vocal, offer a jazz-infused post rock sound with avant-garde electronic frills that is broadly atmospheric and often hypnotic.”
    – HiFiWorld (UK)

  15. “Hunstville kan med ”For Flowers, Cars and Merry Wars” ha åpna en rekke nye dører og ører. Hvor de dukker opp neste gang er ikke godt å vite – jeg tror neppe Huntsville vet det sjøl heller.”
    – Tor Hammerø, Side2.no, 5/6 (N)

  16. “Den gode produksjonen og miksingen (utført av henholdsvis Huntsville selv og Kåre Chr. Vesterheim) skaper en merkelig struktur i alt det glidende. Det blir aldri blir for forvirrende å være i landskapet de etterlater seg når rytmen blir borte. Det blir aldri helt uhåndgripelig. Og etter å ha slappet litt av i kjølvannet av den intense rytmedelen, begynner man å føle at noe nytt stort er i emning.”
    – Groove.no 5/6 (N)