The Island Band – Like Swimming
Release in Norway: 16.10.2015
The Island Band is an orchestra led by musician, composer and producer Lars Myrvoll. With the album “Like Swimming” he has constructed a highly unusual and emotionally charged stream of music together with a stunning bouquet of versatile Norwegian musicians from bands such as Ultralyd, Splashgirl, MoHa, Kråkesølv, Sheriffs of Nothingness, Møster and Datarock. In other words, a long list of the Norwegian music community’s innovative “usual suspects”.
The album has a floating, dreamlike atmosphere, and moves between evocative, detailed instrumentals and imposingly produced pop tunes featuring vocals. Some of the combinations of instruments look totally absurd on paper, but sound entirely natural when they emanate from the loudspeakers. A radio edit of the song “Swimming”, with a guest vocal by Maria Due, was released as a single this past summer, and serves as a good example. How often do you hear catchy, lushly orchestrated pop duets with Auto-Tune vocals, a sax solo and a theorbo?
Lars Myrvoll’s LP debut “The Island”, released on the long-discontinued label Safe as Milk in 2009, garnered glowing reviews, but has been unavailable for a while. The album was the result of a six-year process, and the result was described as both deeply moving and original.
The format of Myrvoll’s new album is substantially larger than that of his debut. This time, too, the process has been a protracted one. The basic tracks were laid down in August 2013, and Myrvoll has invested considerable resources and countless studio hours to achieve the result that he is presenting now.
While the now unavailable debut album was recorded in his bedroom, and given a patina and a barely transparent sonic veil by running the sound through several generations of inexpensive recording equipment and tape, the new album could be described as a monumental, well-produced and high-fidelity creation. Music that is atmospheric but doesn’t offer much to chew on is sometimes called cinematic. The music on this album, on the other hand, scores high on all counts.
The Island Band cannot be pigeonholed into a particular category or musical genre. The project is an island unto itself. The combination of experimental verve, production talent and emotional impact found here is unusual. Myrvoll has a uniquely multi-faceted talent, and manages to capture the ear of the listener with both brooding exploration of sound and pop tunes.
Available as CD/DL and LP.