Klara Lewis - Ett [Editions Mego - 2014]Swedish composer Klara Lewis' debut release comes to us from Editions Mego, a label well known for putting out intelligent electronic music. Ett is no exception and nicely compliments their catalog. Field recordings are reconfigured, looped, and mixed with new textures to create subtle soundscapes, catchy rhythms, and movie soundtrack styled composition.
"c a t t" starts the album off with a subtle, lightly crunchy beat along with detached, synth vocals. It's tight as well as sparse, and definitely gets one's head nodding right away. This continues into "Untilted" quite nicely, and the focus shifts more toward the beat. Hearkening back to the Tiger Beat stuff of 15 or so years ago, the hissy background and sampled vox add a semi-industrial vibe to the fairly danceable electronic composition Klara has laid out. Not sticking solely to beats, Klara lets the background music come forward and claim its throne. Dark, droning soundscapes like "49th Hour," "Seascape," and "Muezzin" really capture the heart of Ett. While comfortable hanging out and letting the listener bask in their depth, they also use loops to propel themselves along and move further into the subconscious. "Clearing" and "Shine" take a lighter approach to the soundscape, but still remain dense and engaging. The distant, reverbed sparseness of "Altered" summons chthonic imagery through light water sounds and echoes.
Klara Lewis' debut, Ett, is a well thought out and constructed album. Thick soundscapes and subtle electronica keep the listener engaged and without overstaying their welcome. It's a very enjoyable album, but very hard to write about. Not really groundbreaking, but that's ok, 'cause Klara's debut shows a ton of promise and I look forward to what she'll put out in the future.Paul Casey