We regard Splashgirl as one of the most exciting young instrumental bands to come out of Norway in the past few years. With Pressure, its third album and certainly their strongest to date, the band is taking yet another giant step forward. Here the musicians are opening the doors to several new musical rooms – to the dark, dank cellar as well as to the attic – where all their forgotten memories are stored away.
Splashgirls’ second album, Arbor, was Hubro’s very first release in 2009. The group’s course of development from its 2007 debut, Doors. Keys (AIM), in which the inspiration it derived from Paul Bley’s jazz piano recordings was obvious, to the more genre-defying, low-key band collective on Arbor, was enormous.
The band’s foundation remains acoustic: piano – Andreas Stensland Løwe (Thelma & Clyde, Lama, Jæ), double bass – Jo Berger Myhre (Ingrid Olava, Solveig Slettahjell) and drums – Andreas Lønmo Knudsrød (Sacred Harp, Lama). But as on Arbor, the members of the trio also work with some simple analogue electronics.
This time they can also present some outstanding guest appearances by guitarist Juhani Silvola (Sacred Harp), vocalist Mari Kvien Brunvoll, tuba player Martin Taxt (Jæ, Hanne Hukkelberg), trombonist Erik Johannesen (Jaga Jazzist) and Lasse Passage with field recordings and tape feedback.
The musical dynamics on Pressure have a broad scope. Modest and lyrical. Ranging from gloomy prophecies of doom that flow onwards like hot tar to the ethereal, minimalist-inspired song “Concerning This Square”. The opening track, “Devata”, would have been perfect as film music for a Western filmed in the Antarctic. In any case, what is most striking this time is the enormous sense of concentration and the impressive focus on subtle details that are an integral part of Splashgirls’ music.
The album was recorded by Alex Kloster-Jensen at Malabar Studio in Oslo, and was mixed by Randall Dunn (Earth, Sunn O))), Jesse Sykes) at Aleph Studios, Seattle.