Silje Nes Silje NesOpticks
Silje is Norwegian. She grew up on a fjord. She learned to play the piano as a child. Later she moved to Bergen. It never stopped raining. She learned to play the guitar. Later she learned to play the harp. And the violin. She started to compose songs. She moved to Berlin. She bought a laptop, a microphone, and she recorded a demo with three songs (Martian folk, something sort of like Joanna Newsom armed with a MiniDisc and unafraid of the sampler), which she sent to Fat Cat, her current label. Yes, the guys from the record company listened to four songs and signed her. This gave rise to a first album, “Ames Room,” which earned her comparisons with Leila Arab, Tujiko Noriko , and Lau Nau. So she continued with her own particular experimentation (ethereal pop, a folk ambient with inverted choruses that look at themselves in the mirror and reflect in an almost liquid sound loop: take “Symmetry of Empty Space” as an example), experimentation that has crystallised in “Opticks.”
To start off with, “Opticks” is a multifaceted album. Multifaceted in the sense that the songs constantly offer reflections of themselves, as if they were inside a sort of sound kaleidoscope ( “The Card House” is the star of the show in this sense). But it is also an ethereal album, a Sunday afternoon submerged in a glass of water made into the underwater kingdom of the girl who picked up shards of broken glass ( “The Shades” but especially “Rewind,” with all of its background noises, with all of its interferences), a handful of interior landscapes, similar to those painted by Chan Marshall ( Cat Power) during the “Moon Pix” period ( “Silver Blue”), and strings that threaten to break ( “Branches”) and end up turning into delicious capsules of good-nights that could pass for lullabies sung by lost little girls ( “Ruby Red”).
Making her way into the art of building rooms of sound in the middle of the forest, Silje Nes takes a giant step ahead with “Opticks,” a perversely vulnerable album that surpasses its predecessor in its conceptual ambition and fit, but which doesn't entirely take advantage of Silje's numerous virtues; the player of several instruments who grew up on a fjord, too bored for almost everything, limits herself to pressing down on the accelerator in key moments ( “Hello Luminance”) but she never goes all out. Let's say that the day the lost girl decides to get all of her sound toys out of the closet, her project will definitively take off. Meanwhile, we'll enjoy her delicate atmospheric constructions.
Silje Nes - Ruby Red