Tuesday, 30 September 2014

a new nature - esben and the witch

i realise most of my reviews are overwhelmingly positive. i do listen to and watch stuff that is shit, but why would anyone care about that? if you're interested you'll check it out anyway, and if you're not then i've just reaffirmed your uninformed deprecation. at least this way you might be inspired to check out something you never heard of before, like esben and the witch.

i've been listening to a lot of moody, experimental music recently, cos winter is coming i guess (unintentional game of thrones reference)? dunno. feels right.  anyway, i came across esben and the witch on bandcamp. they have a website and stuff. at first glance they look like a basic three-piece - drums, guitar, bass and vocals - but their sound is kind of cinematic, and bigger than you would expect from three people playing actual instruments. cinematic is the wrong word, because i don't mean like hans zimmer/john williams cinematic. i think i'm saying that because they recently performed a live score to that argentinian silent film, la antena. but even though these are songs in the traditional sense the music feels like it's the soundtrack to something, like you can imagine it playing in the background of every jim jarmusch film ever made. i'm so far away from my point now i'm not sure it still fits, but three-piece vs. cinematic sounds like a contradiction, and that's what i like about the album - it's full of contradictions. my favourite track is called the jungle. it's fifteen minutes long with this huge, epic intro but when it kicks off i found it to be one of their most accessible songs. and while the lyrics seem to be describing an actual jungle, the sound conjures up this oppressive, industrial setting with the repetetive drums sounding more like machinery in a factory than anything in anture, or that's what it did for me anyway. then there's another contradiction with the track those dreadful hammers which feels like it's going to be this epic, half-hour dirge but is actually the shortest track on the album. this unwillingness to stick to a formula is really refreshing and makes a new nature one of the most interesting albums i've heard in a while. also the video for dig your fingers in is amazing.

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