Simon Steensland

"This album is supposed to be a sort of "Greatest Hits" compilation of hundereds of "songs" I've written for the theatre over the years." Damit ist auch schon das Wichtigste über diese Scheibe des schwedischen Multiinstrumentalisten gesagt. Entstanden sind diese 36 Miniaturen (der Großteil der Stücke schafft es nicht über die 3-Minuten Grenze) in den Jahren 1993-2001 und wurden alle von Steensland mehr oder weniger im Alleingang eingespielt. Nur für die wenigen Gesangsparts und einige Instrumentalsolos hat er sich ein paar Gäste eingeladen.

Schwer zu beschreiben, diese Platte! Das ist ein 70-minütiger, sehr abwechslungsreicher Trip durch avantgardistische Klangwelten, der unmöglich stilistisch festgemacht werden kann. Mal jazzig, mal folkig, mal zheulig-neoklassisch, mal zappaesque bizarr, mal symphonisch bombastisch, mal kirmesartig witzig, mal ambientartig schwebend, mal ... wasweißdennich, meist basslastig, meist eher schräg, meist etwas melancholisch, selten laut oder wüst und immer irgendwie seltsam. Klänge und Stimmungen, Momentaufnahmen aus einer abstrusen Gedankenwelt, wie bei einem Patchworkteppich aneinandergeflickt, der Soundtrack zu einem wirren Traum. Langweilig wird es hier nie.

Für mich ist die Scheibe das bisher beste Werk des Schweden! Wirklich eigenständig, komplex und sehr abwechslungsreich. Natürlich ist dies keine leichte Kost, aber alles in allem macht die CD wirklich Spaß! Liebhabern der Prog-Avantgarde sei das Teil wärmstens empfolen! 11/15 achim breiling 

Even for fans of Simon Steenslands other albums, this album is a bit of an odd bird. It's not exactly a studio album, for the music contained on this disc was not written to be released as part of an album. Instead, the tracks here are collected as a representation of what Simon writes when he writes music for theater.

If you've heard any of Simon Steenslands other albums, you probably know that he tends to write music that is rather odd. Of course, he is listed under RIO/Avant so such is probably expected - but in reality, the stuff he is involved with are far from anything else I have heard to date. He is apparently all self taught both in playing and composing, and I think he is an artist where having an approach to music that he came up with on his own has really worked well.

Although this music is intended for the stage and is in many cases utilitarian - as he explains in the liner notes, some of the music is written to be played while the cast changes the set, etc. - there is still some really interesting things in here. They never quite go as far as his pure studio albums in terms of interestingness, and in terms of memorable moments I find a lot less contained on here. Still, the variety of sounds enclosed on here (even if some are far too short to really develop very far, with only 14 of the 36 tracks contained surpassing the 2 minute mark) does yield some interesting pieces.

You do have to read along with the liner notes to understand what was happening when the music was playing though. As I have said, Simon's approach to music is quite unique and so there is very little that fits into the conventions one might expect from music that is intended to evoke specific emotions. The sad music, for example, would probably never be heard in Hollywood (for anything really).

Ultimately, the album does suffer from the mix of different music that appears on it. There really is very little cohesiveness to it; even music that comes from the same play, is often split apart on the album. Interesting themes often rely on fade outs instead of closing in more interesting ways. These weaknesses do bring down the value of this collection a decent amount.

This collection should be interesting to you if you are a fan of the man (as I am) or simply want to hear some unorthodox theatre music. the gazzardian

While Simon Steensland's style is rather derivative from bands like Univers Zero and Present*, with this album, he surely demonstrated that's he's capable of creating something completely unique. A man of rare talent. His entire discography is absolutely essential for anyone interested in avant-prog. Although this album gets relatively poor reviews (extreme eclecticism is what turns most people off of this album; I personally think he succeeded at making music that's both eclectic and accomplished), it happens to be my personal favorite from him. psychedelist