Paris Transatlantic

Those Norwegians are pretty extreme when it comes to Black Metal, but there's something quite accessible about this debut album of Trondheim-based Petter Vågan (lapsteel, acoustic guitar, electronics) and Tor Haugerud (percussion, signal generator, field recordings). Well, maybe that isn't the word to describe all nine tracks on Shapes & Phases – there's plenty of aggressive fuzz and buzz and a lot of nasty friction going on in "Attractor", the longest of them – but it certainly applies to Vågan's mournful lapsteel on the opening cut, and there's a real feel for melody in the descending chromatic scales lurking behind the blips and beeps of "Solitary Wave". Elsewhere, the album pushes all the right buttons as far as recognisable influences go, and with its savvy mix of EAI, drone, field recordings and nearly-tonal (well, diatonic) harmony, one senses Giuseppe Ielasi, who's in charge of mixing and mastering here, is one of them. If your personal collection includes Tetuzi Akiyama, Emeralds, Alan Licht, Toshi Nakamura and Oren Ambarchi (Supersilent too, but I guess that goes without saying), you'll certainly enjoy this. For myself, I'm curious to see which of the many avenues this album opens up these lads will choose to explore in the future