nedjelja, 16. prosinca 2012.

Erland Dahlen - Rolling Bomber

Često neodredive udaraljke i elektronički komadići. Zvučne skice koje su japanski graditelji katedrale na Mjesecu zaboravili u napuštenoj tvornici kave u Oslu gdje su voljeli ispijati jutarnju kavu i pročitati novine.

Chances are you’ve heard Erland Dahlen’s drumming, one way or another. In recent years his main day job was as drummer for Norwegian rock band Madrugada, but he’s appeared on numerous albums and in various collaborations (over 130 since the mid ’90s), alongside artists such Arve Henriksen, Mike Patton, Hanne Hukkelberg and Serena Maneesh. Rolling Bomber is however, his first solo album and in many ways, it’s a wide, warm and startling thing.
The first thing I noticed about the album is the sound – a thing of resonant spaces and warm velvety depths. Rolling Bomber was recorded over 3 days in February and April 2011, inside an abandoned coffee factory in Olso, a space Dahlen has utilised in the past. It consists of comparatively little – drums, obviously, subtle electrical fields, similar to something Helge Sten might eructate in his dreams, gamelan-like vibes, Dahlen’s other signature instrument the bowed saw here and there – but everything seems to levitate inside a wider field of force, the sounds expanding to the edge of your hearing. The timbre is largely a metallic one, yet there is a real tactility to the sound, as if you could clasp it to yourself.
A huge part of this comes down to Dahlen’s drumkit , after which the album is named. The ‘Slingerland Rolling Bomber’ originated in World War 2 and as most metals were in high demand, the parts traditionally made from steel, chrome and nickel were actually built with rosewood. What you get, especially on a track like ‘Monkey’ as well as the great booming depth of sound from the calfskin covered floor toms and snare, is an incredibly intricate insect like clicking as Dahlen plays the full surface area of each drum and the set’s constituent parts.
The album does descend into less sonorous depths, with ‘Pryamid’ in particular occupying a deeper sonic substrate, with the gamelan instrumentation offering an atonal sprinkling over Dahlen’s primal thump. ‘Piratman’ has a similar repetitive atonality to it which approaches a hypnotic almost Reichian intensity – something which could easily have been stretched out and explored in more depth.
In terms of influence, it’s a bit of a struggle to come up with anything coherent. There’s the distant ghost of Peter Erskine perhaps, but probably mostly through the choice of kit more than anything else; the aforementioned Steve Reich and some vague nods towards some of the more fractured kosmische bands of the early ‘70s; Jon Mueller’s mantric workouts also come to mind, some of the squelchier moments of Supersilent… On the whole though Rolling Bomber feels pretty sui generis, and it’s a triumph of minimalism and atmosphere that emphatically achieves the task of leaving the listener wanting more. It’s also another triumph for the Hubro label which has provided a number of intriguing releases in its short life span. It’s also evidence that Dahlen has a good deal more to give. We await. -

Erland Dahlen never attended the Dave Grohl School of Drumming, though the former sticksman for Madrugada, one of Norway’s biggest rock acts, suffered a similar fate to the Foo Fighters frontman. In his case, the sudden death of guitarist Robert Burås in 2007 brought about the break-up of the band with whom he’d spent the last year playing. But, rather than step out from behind the kit, Dahlen has chosen to collaborate in the years since with an impressive list of his country’s more forward-thinking acts, including Hanne Hukkelberg, Serena Maneesh and Mathias Eick. His debut album sees him focus on his kit to the exclusion of almost any other instrument, using it to conjure up dark, ambiguous atmospheres and hypnotic, engrossing soundscapes that bear little relation to his former work with the Norwegian heroes.
Proof that his kit is the central focus of this intriguing debut lies in its title: the Rolling Bomber is a Slingerland drum set from the Second World War era made out of rosewood. (Most metal was required by the war effort.) Consequently its tone is unusually warm, despite the recording sessions taking place in an abandoned Oslo coffee factory, and Dahlen’s approach is also far from conventional. At times it seems as though no part of his kit is safe from his sticks, and the additional use of electronic embellishments and a musical saw – both used sparingly but resourcefully – mean there’s no Monkey Wrench here for arena crowds.
Instead there are seven tracks of crepuscular intensity that combine a love for complex but driving rhythms and the free structure and experimentation for which Norwegian jazz is known. Flower Power sounds like a music box malfunctioning as it falls down a grand but squeaky wooden staircase – a recommendation, as it happens – and Monkey could be a Lalo Schifrin soundtrack stripped of all but its percussion and sound effects. Piratman, full of cymbal splashes and eerie sounds, is particularly effective, a distant cousin of Moon Over Morphosa, the 2004 collaboration between sometime Stooges drummer Toby Dammit and Bad Seeds drummer Thomas Wydler. Overall, it’s confusing, sometimes creepy, with anthems entirely absent, but it’s also an enlightening reminder of how versatile a simple drum kit can be.Wyndham Wallace

 Rolling Bomber is the solo debut of one of our favourite musicians: drummer Erland Dahlen. He has played on over 130 records since the mid-1990s, and has toured with an impressive list of top-ranking artists in a variety of genres: Kiruna, Mike Patton/Kaada, Ingrid Olava, Eivind Aarset Sonic Codex Orchestra, Mathias Eick, Serena Maneesh, Arve Henriksen, Hanne Hukkelberg and Marit Larsen, to name just a few. He is probably best known as the drummer in the successful band Madrugada for the last years of the band’s life, and as the drummer in Nils Petter Molvær’s explosive new trio.
The idea of doing a solo project had to mature for ten years before Erland finally went into the studio for three days in February and April 2011. The album is named after the special drum set Erland plays on the album, a Slingerland Rolling Bomber kit from World War II, which he bought from free-jazz drummer and collector Roger Turner. The mechanical parts of this set are made of rosewood, as the arms industry appropriated all available metal during the war. “When a drum has so much wood in it, it gets a very warm sound, which appeals to me a lot,” says Erland.
In addition, he uses an instrumentarium consisting of a variety of percussion instruments, electronic instruments and specially constructed instruments. Erland has played the saw for many years, and the saw is an important melodic instrument on the Rolling Bomber.
The album has a playful, richly visual mood, but is also quite dark and menacing in places. Elements of krautrock, drone music, ambient music and contemporary music are woven together with rock-inspired energy. Erland produced the record himself along with Jens Petter Nilsen and Hallvard W. Hagen, who form the electronica duo Xploding Plastix. Erland has worked with them for nine years. The dark second cut on the album, “Funeral”, is a remix by Hallvard W. Hagen.
The album was recorded in an abandoned coffee factory that Erland rents in central Oslo. It was mixed by Jens Petter Nilsen at tinfoilaudio and mastered by Helge Sten at Audio Virus Lab.

Norwegian drummer Erland Dahlen's solo debut proffers several areas of interest, as he uses a 1940s Rollingbomber Slingerland drum kit (presumably using new heads) and overlays an array of small percussion and string instruments, electronics and other implements to craft a striking electro-organic expedition. However, the program intimates an inside view of a drummer exploiting his toys to remodel paths previously taken.
"Monkey" tenders an all-inclusive display of Dahlen's methodology. He gets matters off to a rapid pace via snappy temple block hits and layered percussion grooves, communicating an audio experience that could serve as the opening for a cinematic action thriller. Moving forward, it may be akin to a puzzle—a challenge to guess what Dahlen is playing throughout these tightly arranged patterns. Otherwise, he uses his toms for over-the-top accents, incorporating sprawling electronic drones to lay out a broad horizon and harrowing soundscape, contrasting the driving rhythmic impetus. Dahlen even uses his drumsticks to mimic a traditional slide guitar motif to round out the composition, spiced with streaming treatments and a rapid-deployment game plan.
Dahlen unites an ethereal yet vibrant setting with unconventional designs. He paints a flourishing picture, embellished by an abundance of enchanting frameworks and opaque vistas that, for the most part, defy categorization.
Personnel: Erland Dahlen: Slingerland Rollingbomber drums from the mid-40s, musical saw, timpani, gongs, bow on cakeform with springs, tank drums, cuica, maracas, kalimba, temple blocks, steeldrum, logdrum, bells, electronics, megaphone and sticks/mallets on string instruments (monkey drummer with battery).- GLENN ASTARITA

Having worked with an impressive list of artists across a wide array of genres (from Arve Henriksen, Eivind Aarset or Nils Petter Molvær to Hanne Hukkelberg, Mike Patton or as part of rock band Madrugada), Norwegian drummer and percussionist Erland Dahlen steps out in the limelights with his first album as a solo artist. Released on the decidedly inspired Hubro Music, Rolling Bomber was recorded early last year in Oslo during three sessions with long term collaborators Jens Petter Nilsen and Hallvard Wennersberg Hagen, who both regularly officiate as Xploding Plastix, and was mastered by former Deathprod mastermind Helge Sten.
The album takes its name from Dahlen’s main instrument here, a vintage Slingerland Rolling Bomber drum kit dating back from World War II, which had the particularity of having some of its parts made of wood instead of brass, copper, nickel and steel which were all required for the war effort, resulting in its sound being warmer than traditional kits. To complement his sonic palette, Dahlen plays anything from musical saw, bowed cakeform with strings and megaphone to a vast collection of steeldrums, logdrums, tank drums, timpani, bells, kalimba and cuicas, upon which he adds discreet electronic touches.
Rolling Bomber is as varied and open as Dahlen’s career, taking from rock, ambient, drone or avant-jazz and. As he expertly blends them together, he defines areas of various intensity which range from haunting (Funeral, a piece remixed by Hagen), brooding (Dragon) or sombre (Pyramid) to poetic and dreamy (Flower Power), hectic (Monkey) and hypnotic (Piratman, Germany).
The scope of this record is matched by its textural richness. Drums, expectedly occupy an important place throughout, but the assortment of bells and percussions used here renders these pieces in a variety of tones, at times evoking spellbinding gamelan rhythms, at others the motorik drive of Krautrock. Dahlen’s use of the musical saw, an instrument which has been part of his range for years, on Flower Power and Germany, adds an eerie touch to the record, while Funeral, with its deep rumbling or grinding noises and sparse electronic touches, is by far the most atmospheric piece on here.
Rolling Bomber exists in a world of its own, without clear influences or roots, yet Erland Dahlen creates a rather impressive and consistent soundtrack as he finely balances his pieces between sheer energy and more delicate moments. -

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