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Artist: Nordic Giants: A Tree As Old As Me, EP, 3.99 from website

Reviewer: Mark Wheeler - TNT UK
Reviewed: all Summer to Winter 2012

Neither Nordic, nor Giants, but clever and entertaining

Your old scribe caught the Nordic Giants at Off The Tracks festival in May this year. Away from the main stage, in The Barn, this duo of costumed multi-instrumentalists accompanied short art-house films. The duo were joined by projected images of their singer and co-writer, adding to the hypnotic sensory overload. It is rare for an afternoon festival performance to leave the audience satiated, needing nothing more from the evening main stage.

Describing themselves, rather meaninglessly, as "post-rock", they follow a tradition of intelligent twists on the rock formula, from Talking Heads, Ozric Tentacles, Aphex twin, and being a self sampling duo, an inevitable comparison with Orbital, and readers can add their own list here. As capable as Muse at building crescendo upon crescendo, Nordic Giants are joined by their co-writers of each song as guest performer. The shamanistic attire adopted by DAi Borthwick and George Laycock cannot disguise the fact that they are of normal stature, with the usual number of fingers, despite evidence of their dexterity on a variety of instruments.

"How can a live multi-media performance be relevant to a Real Stereo website?" demand plebs chorus, stage left.

Because this EP CD, like much recorded repertoire, is the first chance most readers will get to hear this band. Clips on the internet are inevitably of low resolution, to avoid interminable buffering for every minute of audio. The CD, or the bought high resolution download remain the only non-live access to music at a quality that enables the nuances of performance to survive the medium. Microdynamics, coherent timing, and power bandwidth all depend on resolution. Nordic Giants' gig list is confined to the Southern half of England, barring just two midlands appearances. This is the point of all that gear in the listening room; to enable these opportunities to broaden musical horizons.

Conclusion

Checking out previously unknown performers led your old scribe to witness a brilliant multimedia performance reminiscent of the best of art school but at the forefront of colliding genres without the narcissistic self indulgent noodling such an introduction might imply. Perhaps the duo's decision to perform behind costumes and masks liberates them from ego. Surprisingly, this does transfer successfully to audio only cd.

Traditionalists might baulk at music constructed entirely from fragments being reviewed on an audiophile website. Albums like Electric Ladyland and Sergeant Pepper demonstrated over 40 years ago that the studio can be as much of an instrument as the guitar.

Music enjoyed while writing this review

  • Nordic Giants: A Tree As Old As Me
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Copyright © 2012 Mark Wheeler - www.tnt-audio.com

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