subota, 16. veljače 2013.

That Beneva vs. Clark - Sombunall (2008)

Norvežani Frank Benjamin Finger i Rudi Simmons pune svaku pjesmu kontrastima i kontadikcijama, melodijama i apstrakcijama, djetinjim zvukovima i ambijentalnim noisom.

streaming : MySpace

That Beneva vs. Clark Nova names one of Sombunall's songs “Institute Benjamenta” is certainly telling, as Frank Benjamin Finger (Beneva) and Rudi Simmons (Clark Nova) share with film-makers The Brothers Quay and composer Lech Jankowski an affinity for wildly imaginative and off-the-wall eccentricity. Last summer's three-inch Flotsam/Jetsam release was certainly a credible enough coming-out but it hardly hinted at just how splendid the group's full-length debut would be. Its audacious material bursts with activity and imagination, and instrumentally Beneva vs. Clark Nova perpetuates the open-ended tradition of groups such as Múm where every possible sound—natural and artificial—is fodder for the group's idiosyncratic music-making (in fact, “I Suppose She Was Telepathic,” with its clicking beats and melodica, could easily pass for a song by the Icelandic outfit). Shape-shifting and mercurial, Sombunall includes a dozen constantly flickering snapshots that rarely settle into any one place for longer than a moment or two.
In “I'm Twins (the Babies Said),” glitch-laden woodwinds, piano and banjo swell into a dizzying phantasmagoria. “88 Kilos of Excrement” presents a dense firestorm of squirrelly beats, shredded voices, and strings. “Thora's Inferno” channel-surfs through episodes of mangled voices that resemble braying cuckoo clocks and scratchy beats that rumble and clatter. The addition of Norwegian vocalist Therese Aune to “His Freefloating Affection” may remind some listeners of Psapp, especially when glockenspiels and a flotilla of percussive noises spill over the song's arresting melodies. “Poligraph Polygraphikov” takes the listener on a rollicking roller-coaster ride before “Nothing; Only Worthwhile” closes the album in a sparkling and high-spirited folk romp. To top it off, the arresting cover photo, Sandy Skoglund's “Babies at Paradise Pond,” provides that rare instance when visual presentation dovetails perfectly with musical content.-

At the end of 2007 we reviewed a 3” CD teaser from this duo, the two-part ambient adventure of Flotsam/Jetsam. The mini-EP served as the opening of Fenêtre’s new 3” series, but also as a teaser
heralding the imminent release of Beneva v Clark Nova’s debut album, Sombunall.
Now it’s here, and wow, what a tour-de-force of new, refreshing sounds. Beneva and Clark Nova, Frank B. Finger and Rudi Simmons hidden behind their artist monikers, are productive and highly
versatile musicians, and on Sombunall they demonstrate their grasp of various genres within electronica, swerving between styles to make an entertaining record to listen to that never lets go of
your attention, it has highs, lows and intermission-like passages, both ambient sequences to lull you gently towards sleep, but then they slap your face with stuttery, fun rhythms, from ventures
into something nearly breakcore-like but also more leftfield and downtempo melodies. Many tracks have a lot of vocal focus, both the rasp voice of one of the guys themselves perhaps, but also the
inclusion of lovely, soulful female vocals belonging to upcoming Norwegian talent, Therese Aune. And as we’ve heard before, here are sampled elements and field recordings a-plenty, the
programming is ace, beats are frenzic, chords both liquid and broken, and it all sounds crisp as heck!
One of my personal highlights comes on “Suppose She Was Telepathic”; a stuttery rhythmic beat accompanied by a lovely melody based around guitar and gentle bleeps and accordion-like sounds.
There’s little distance between the highlights on the record though, and from the third last song with the fabulous title, “Two Men Being Hospitalised When Only One Had To” and out, the album
goes from strength to strength. The song in question, a bit like wild western meets crazed, broken Japanese-sounding vocals with fragmented, reverberated guitar chords, and then we’re off into
Squarepusher-land as “Poligraph Poligraphikov” goes off the hook with its high-paced, catchy melody of stuttered, guitar strums fading in and out over a frantic drum beat, and we end on “Nothing,
Only Worthwhile” with its repetitive guitar strums over a shimmering synth lead that promise of something uplifting to come.. but we’ve just been through something uplifting over the course of
the last 12 tracks, so I already feel fine.
For fans of music like Four Tet, Squarepusher, Autechre, Plaid, Beneva v Clark Nova should become a household name after this, we think! trym

"Drawing from electronic and acoustic instrumentation, the Norwegian duo have succeeded in creating the most impressive "folktronic" release since Four Tet's mesmerizing Rounds back in 2003, and there's certainly room to argue that BvCN even surpasses this mark. Sombunall comes with our highest recommendation." -The Silent Ballet

”A tour-de-force of new, refreshing sounds. The programming is ace, beats are frenzic, chords both liquid and broken, and it all sounds crisp as heck! For fans of music like Four Tet, Squarepusher, Autechre, Plaid, Beneva vs. Clark Nova should become a household name after this, we think!" - Soundscaping

"Sheer weirdness and skill, eccentricity of palate, control of form and ability to blend the diverse and seemingly disparate are all here in multiplicity. The scope and beauty of such a broad vision should give Beneva vs. Clark Nova quite a following and the possibility of an unending project."
-Cyclic Defrost 

"Stunning Norwegian electronica that mixes knife sharp beats with floating instrumental tracks and field recordings. Check this out if you like Boards of Canada, Greg Davis or The Notwist!" -Tiger

"A beautiful bridge between electronic and non-electronic genres. A band and a label to keep an eye on!" - Caleidoscoop

We first witnessed Frank Benjamin Finger (Beneva) and Rudi Simmons (Clark Nova) in battle at the Great Easter Party (held rather unseasonally in autumn) at Indigo, Oslo in 2005. The host was the wacky Skrudd collective and the programme included music in almost all conceivable directions. Beneva vs. Clark Nova was the stand out act with their careful musical paintings of inner landscapes. We were struck by this beauty and got in touch shortly after. Since that evening over two years ago, they've been been tinkering with a debut album, and Sombunall is the final result of this process.

The listeners got a sneak peak of the duo’s abilities last summer, when Fenêtre Records released their 3” EP Flotsam/Jetsam, which received several good reviews. But this EP showed just a few of the many facets of Beneva vs. Clark Nova. While Flotsam/Jetsam was a trace of the duo’s floating and abstract side, Sombunall is where they show their pop face.

Working together with the up-and-coming Norwegian vocalist Therese Aune, who sings on “His Freefloating Affection” and “With Love, Etc.” (duet with Rudi), the duo could be compared to the off the wall pop sound of Hanne Hukkelberg and Silje Nes. Mix this with the electro-acoustic world of Four Tet, the complex rhythms of Autechre, the indietronica of Broadcast, plus a good dose of charm, melodic oddity and some introverted enthusiasm, and you’ll maybe get a grasp of what Sombunall is all about. Tracks like “88 Kilos of Excrement” and “Thora’s Inferno”, with their catchy rhythms and melodies, have been small ‘hits’ on the duo’s Myspace site. The uplifting “Nothing, Only Worthwhile” rounds off the album, which we believe is one of the most exciting releases of 2008.

Dramadadatic (2009)


Frank Benjamin Finger and Ruby Simmons make up the Norwegian duet Beneva vs. Clark Nova. Outside this project they release solo albums and actively work in nearmusic field. Dramadadatic is their second joint full-value album after impressive and very beautiful Sombunall. This time Beneva vs. Clark Nova make a resolute step to the side of cocky electronics, which in contrast to the first work, actually captivated their creativity. At the same time there left the mood and their brave, uncommon sound solutions, marking out well the project on electronic scene.

This album is full of very bright, cheerful, nice madness and craziness. It is as if guys filled plastic child's guns and rifles with pieces of sounds and they start to pour all around with brightly colored splashes. And it all without any harm to melodism and emotionality of compositions which give a whole spectrum of feelings compressed into 40 minutes of the record. With the sounds of Dramadadatic the surrounding objects start moving, it seems that everything submits to live music vibrations - slows down and slightly trembles at melodious, downtempo moments and then explodes and becomes again the irrepressible vortex. In the complicated mosaics synthesizers and electronic drums get on well together, as well as real instruments - we can hear piano, strings and wind instruments, sometimes speech samples and vocal and always very sappy percussion. Wear colored sunglasses and don't forget to fasten your seat belts. With their music Beneva vs. Clark Nova will roll by on a car with folding top along very different and motley landscapes. With release Dramadadatic they continued their creative way, having transformed and developed a little bit the theme of Sombunall, getting slightly more crazy, but not losing anything valuable and distinctive on their way.

"It's playful, thought-provoking, intimate music. Highly recommended."- The Silent Ballet

"The prestigious Norwegian label Fenêtre comes with one strong electronica release after the other. (...) a splashing piece that you can easily swallow, while in fact it shouldn't be that easy to consume. This once again shows the strength and creativity of the two men. A great listening trip."- Caleidoscoop

The Oslo based electronica duo returns to the digital underground to go head to head in a fast paced sonic battle of Dramadadatic - as they follow up to their much celebrated debut album Sombunall of last year. Since last time both have released solo albums and worked on other projects beside music, Frank Benjamin Finger (Beneva) as a music video director for a children's show and Rudi Simmons (Clark Nova) as a director for a few animated tv-series, both on Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK).
Dramadadatic is packed with atmospheric samples and a wealth of simple and sweet melodic structures, topped with groovy - often frantic - beats, creating the kind of campfire headfuck we became familiar with on Sombunall, but taking it a step further this time as Dramadadatic is more purely electronic than its predecessor - but with more attitude and confidence.

"A Schlemihl and Human Yo Yo" kickstarts the album, with its looped guitar-chord sample and chopped up, distorted vocal sample and some weird flute in the back. It's soon pierced by slamming beats and crazy noise that grooves for a while until the whole thing breaks down into a muddy AM radio sample that is too short to risk the band being faced with a lawsuit.

From there the album plays out like a magician pulling rabbits out of a hat, from the intense and melodic "Elevator Shoes" to the sweet, childish innocence of "Koala Sideburns" via the clap-a-long pop-groove of "By Analogy, Apocheir". Yes, there is a lot of variety here – take for instance the hiphop inspired "Face Like a Metronome" feat. the droney organ that dropped in during the session and insisted on making some noise. Or the quirky "Once Youth with a Crispy Beard" that combines out of sync combat beats with soft and mellow harmonies. As we get closer to the end of the album things get increasingly intense and noisy until someone pulls the plug and things fade out in a soothing drone.
All in all Dramadadatic is a gutsy display of skills, thrills and wacky ideas, representing a step on and a notch up for Beneva vs. Clark Nova's acceleratingly exciting sonic journey. You'll have these guys dada your drama - or drama your dada even - any day. -

Flotsam/Jetsam (2007)

"If you are a fan of ambient music this is a very worthwhile addition to your collection and it will help augment your Aphex Twin's Ambient Works albums. If you don’t like ambient music, well, this EP may make you change your tune." -The Silent Ballet

"Perfect for a delicate movie, beautiful, nostalgic and emotive moods"-Loop

"This duo opens the window and lets a ton of fresh air into a stale room"-GAZ-ETA

Included in Jørgen 'Sissyfus' Skjulstad's (Metronomicon Audio, Center of the Universe,
Now We've Got Members) Top 10 list for 2007.
A doctor once wrote a book about listening to Prozac; hence, listening to patients intoxicated on ‘happy drugs’. Depressions are weird creatures, and have influenced the arts through all times. The doctor who wrote the book asks himself: “What if Prozac had been available when van Gogh lived?” It is only through Western romanticizing of depression we can gravely ask such a question, and the sufferings will apparently stay an aesthetic ideal for a long time.

The two duelling artists Rudi Simmons and Frank Benjamin Finger have also been through hard periods, fought side by side with Sisyphus in the meaningless existence, and have in common used music as a liberating tool.

On a daily basis they both work with movies; Rudi with animations and Frank Benjamin with video. While Rudi has a background in the rock scene, including concerts at the Roskilde and Glastonbury Festivals, Frank Benjamin was the one introducing him to the electronic sounds and opportunities of the laptop. Together, they have played gigs at smaller venues, mainly home in Oslo, and now it was about time to document and store their activity.
The result is Flotsam / Jetsam, the first release in a series of 3” EP’s by Fenêtre Records. The record is only one of many sides of the duo’s expression; the abstract and floating, crossed between the acoustic guitar’s linking and the laptop’s clinking and grating. The temper is profound and melancholic, the tones are positive – just like listening to Prozac
Fenêtre Records are excited to work with Beneva vs. Clark Nova, and proudly presents the duo for people genuinely interested in music. An album is already in its final stages. Enjoy!

images of Dramadadatic Fenêtre Records
show tracks
images of Flotsam   jetsam Fenêtre Records
show tracks

images of Talking to ghosts Palacmusic

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