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Úvodní stránka » NEWS » Stian Westerhus — Redundance
Stian Westerhus — Redundance (March 5, 2020)NORWAY FLAG Stian Westerhus — Redundance (March 5, 2020) Stian Westerhus — Redundance (March 5, 2020)
λ→   Stian Westerhus vydal tři sólová alba na norském labelu Rune Grammofon, čtvrté Amputation na House of Mythology (2016) a toto je tedy jeho páté. Stian také nahrál dvě alba — Didymoi Dreams (2012) a Bonita (2014) s norskou zpěvačkou Sidsel Endresen. Plus absolvoval dalších 9 spoluprací (Puma, Fraud, Terje Isungset, Monolithic, Bladed, Eldbjørg Raknes a Eirik Hegdal, BOL, Pale Horses a Ulver). Jako producent napomáhal albům: Eldbjørg Raknes — Sense (MyRecordings, 2010), PELbO — Days of Transcendence (Riot Factory, 2011) a Nils Petter Molvær — Baboon Moon (Sula Records, 2012).
λ→   Today, Norwegian guitarist & singer Stian Westerhus releases his new album titled Redundance via House of Mythology. The album is made up of seven intense tracks that are unique yet form a cohesive listening experience with a lot of unexpected twists and turns. “If Stian Westerhus’s previous album Amputation sounded like a corporeal attack, a war being waged between voice and music, Redundance is the (relative) calm after the storm. That’s not to say it’s any less vital or engaged — just that a détente has been reached, the debris of conflict stripped back. Westerhus’s remarkable vocals are more upfront than ever — naked, raw and achingly melodic — while the instrumentation serves the songs rather than threatening to overwhelm them.”
λ→   Redundance směřuje do světa. Zahajovací track „Chase The New Morning“ je nadčasová polemika proti represivnímu čínskému režimu, který ovládá své občany prostřednictvím online propagandy, což je výzva ke svobodě, která se v Hongkongu setkala se silným odporem. Stian píše o tomto politickém boji a bojuje za to, co je i vaším krédem: to inspirovalo Westerhusa k tomu, aby přemýšlel o své vlastní situaci a upravil písně, které se předtím „nikdy neodvážil nahrát (kvůli tomu, že jsou příliš přímé, příliš jednoduché)“.
λ→   Většina písní si dobře posedí v dobré lázni střihů a smyček, glitchy sampletroniky. Formát je  vlastní reakcí na tradiční písně, Stiana zajímají spíše lineární průběhy než tradiční poezie. Jeho kytarou je stále možné produkovat fascinující záblesky osvětlením porozumění a pochopení, hezky do hloubky. Ale je to zejména emocionální síla písní, odvolání se k citu — srdci tak, aby to ještě hlava pobrala. To je skutečné zaměření alba. Ano, težce abstraktní, ale upřímně řečeno, s ohromující krásou. Pověst Westerhuse jako pátrajícího, idiosynkratického kytaristy — jak ve spolupráci (naposledy s Ulverem), tak jako sólový umělec — se v průběhu let dále zvyšuje. Přesto Redundance také ukazuje více lyrickou stránku jeho hraní. Snad nejpřekvapivější skladbou je „Walk The Line“, nebeská akustická balada, hraničící s tradičním pojetím singer~songwriterstvím a jeho typickým teritoriem..., než dramatický nárůst elektrického šílenství nás vyrazí ze snění. Na druhém konci spektra je „Hold On“ špinavá věc zlověstného, roboticky garážového rocku, zde Westerhusova kytara kvílí radostí. ST
Born: 2 April 1979, Jådåren, near Steinkjer, Nord~Trøndelag
Location: Oslo, Norway
Album release: March 5, 2020
Record Label: House for Mythology
Duration:     42:51
1. Chase The New Morning   8:11
2. All Your Wolves   8:48
3. Verona   4:49
4. There’s a Light   7:30
5. Walk The Line   4:02
6. Hold On   2:53
7. Redundance   6:38
λ→   IF STIAN WESTERHUS’s previous album Amputation sounded like a corporeal attack, a war being waged between voice and music, Redundance is the (relative) calm after the storm. That’s not to say it’s any less vital or engaged — just that a détente has been reached, the debris of conflict stripped back. Westerhus’s remarkable vocals are more upfront than ever — naked, raw and achingly melodic. While the instrumentation serves the songs rather than threatening to overwhelm them.
λ→   The passion and intensity remains though. Redundance confronts psychological trauma head on, Westerhus addressing an intolerable situation, cutting away at his personal history in order to forge a new way forward. There’s anger and sadness in here, but also a righteous desire to redefine the turbulence of the past, to tell the truth and to move on. As Westerhus sings on the title track, “Swallowed my pride just to keep us alive, but never ever again”.
λ→   Redundance faces out onto the world as well. Opening track ‘Chase The New Morning’ is a timely polemic against an oppressive Chinese regime that controls its citizens via online propaganda, a challenge to freedom that has been met with fierce resistance in Hong Kong. It was writing about this political struggle and fighting for what’s rightfully yours that inspired Westerhus to reflect on his own situation and revisit songs he’d previously “never dared to record (for being) too direct, too simple”.
λ→   Against a synthetic, often minimal, backing, the deep, resonant cadences of Westerhus’s voice represent the indomitable human spirit on Redundance. He’s vulnerable on the jagged distress call of ‘All Your Wolves’ before soaring on an ascending choral wave, while the spiky, skeletal groove of ‘Verona’ is transfigured by Westerhus’s harmonic acrobatics. And even as his voice is distorted and submerged on the industrial funk of ‘There’s A Light’, he’s a man digging his way out of darkness, tunnelling through the earth to deliver another blackly ecstatic chorus.
λ→   Westerhus’s reputation as a questing, idiosyncratic guitarist — both in collaboration (most recently with Ulver) and as a solo performer — is further enhanced throughout. Yet Redundance also shows a more lyrical side to his playing. Perhaps the most surprising track here is ‘Walk The Line’, a celestial acoustic ballad that edges into traditional singer~songwriter territory, before a dramatic swell of electric fretwork jolts us from our reverie. At the other end of the spectrum, ‘Hold On’ is a grimy slab of sinister, robotic garage rock, Westerhus’s guitar wailing with glee.
λ→   Redundance is a mesmerising cry of defiance, a cathartic throwing off of destiny. Westerhus shares the same singularity of vision, commitment to boundary pushing and talent for avant~rock ear~wormery as artists such as Nick Cave, Scott Walker and David Bowie. On the strength of this album, it doesn’t feel hyperbolic to include him in such exalted company.
λ→   Even the most unpredictable artists tangle with the weight of expectation. Stian Westerhus is no exception: having cut his teeth in experimental guitar composition, Westerhus’ ventures have since plumbed more eclectic depths. This broadened scope leaves commentators impotent; scrabbling to cram something amorphous and multi~faceted back in that neat “experimental guitar” box. But Redundance is the latest in a line of releases which affirm Westerhus as someone who can’t really be described in simple terms.
It this all makes Redundance sound like it’s going to be some kind of dadaist, Trout Mask~esque mess of errant ideas, it’s not. Simple until it’s subjected to analysis, Redundance is an album as easy to enjoy as it can be difficult to parse.
λ→   In short, it volleys back any interest you give, and benefits rigorous attention as generously as casual listening. First~half track ‘Verona’ is as freely enjoyable and funky as something Bombay Bicycle Club or Hot Chip would release — but with a fire to its squelchy instrumentation neither band would dare to attempt. It also finds Westerhus channelling David Byrne with some charmingly eccentric vocals. It embodies the appealing swagger of Redundance; how every minute of its runtime is elevated by a confident inflection. Westerhus is living proof that not everyone can pull this shit off — and he carries offbeat choices on his own singular and irresitable appeal.
λ→   Tracks on Redundance regularly sprawl across seven or eight minutes — another manifestation of Westerhus’ confidence — but never feel over~extended, or even long. Title track ‘Redundance’ is as good an example of this as any. It has a lolling, soporific power; the heaviness and inexorable downward trajectory of sleep paralysis.
λ→   Across the board, Westerhus’ ideas are clearly established, and given the exact amount of time they need to develop. If anything, this album could have benefitted from a patience~tester; some kind of massive slog to emphasise the muscularity of its soundscaping and roll deeper into its own trance. But that’s probably just the masochist in me talking. As is, Redundance offers something for everyone — whether they be headphone~set introspectives or the most casual of listeners. For something no one can really describe, Redundance sure has some broad appeal.


3. 4. 2020

Andrew Swainson

1. 4. 2020




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