Nattavaara Rocks is an ambient/drone/dream-folk recording project of Anreas Norberg. He lives and works in the university town of Umeå, Sweden. He’s released a couple of EPs and at least one album under that name, and he’s primarily used guitars, pedals, and loops in his recordings. He’s said that his sound is somewhere between the melancholy of The National and Grouper. I’m totally on board with anything that’s described that way.
I haven’t heard his older stuff, and I hadn’t even heard of him at all until I got an email about the new album, which came out last week.
I wouldn’t really say that this reminds me of either The National or Grouper, but I really like what he’s doing on this album. On tonight’s song, there’s a magnificent drum part that’s totally retro-goth/80s post-punk. I don’t know if he’s programming that through a midi sampler, using a new school drum machine or what, but I’m reminded of the vintage drum machines like the E-Mu Drumulator that Cocteau Twins used so much in their early days. And I absolutely love that. (For the record, I didn’t know that piece of equipment from memory — I had to look it up).
I really recommend listening to the entire album as one big chunk, but the songs hold up just fine on their own.
Anyway, here’s tonight’s song:
“A Rite of Passage” by Nattavaara Rocks
It’s dream-like and floating high above the earth. It’s not kissing the mesosphere as the likes of lovesliescrushing, but it’s way up there in the stratosphere.
Like I said, I really recommend listening to the entire album. You can buy a download of Ox Choral from bandcamp here, which gives you access to three live videos and pdf version of the album artwork. The physical format of the artwork is a 24-page book with some very cool photography on nice thick paper and a download code for the album. This is very similar to the way that Kristin Hersh released her last solo record Crooked. There never wasn’t a physical format for the initial release of that album — just a book of essays written by Kristin and some really lush photography done by one of her friends. When her band Throwing Muses released the most recent album Purgatory/Paradise, was also released as a book, but the book included a CD copy of the album. I didn’t mean to go on a Kristin Hersh/Throwing Muses tangent (but it’s real easy for me to do that). It’s just that the new Nattavaara Rocks album/book release reminds me of those.
Buy the album. Listen to it in one sitting. Relax. Enjoy.