on 20 January 2014
Powerful art often make its audience feel and think. Music to soundtrack art on the other hand supports and augments another medium, steering the audience subtly or otherwise. Out of context, and unless we're dealing with iconic scores, such music is forced to become its own entity. Breaking free of its mooring it could lose its purpose, but Rebekka Karijord's literal Music For Film And Theatre is surprisingly cohesive, especially given that it's comprised of 15 tracks composed for over 30 various projects. Karijord is not one therefore to bend her general aesthetic as required.
All the same, in recent years, she's concentrated on more traditional piano-based singer-songwriting, releasing two impressive LPs full of shadows in the process. Here, however, Karijord is stripped of one of her biggest weapons. Gone is her stunning vocal, reduced to angelic cameos. Thus, a new focus has to be established and the sparsest parts of her solo work are complemented well through intelligent arrangement and open space.
Karijord is not afraid of the dark and neither is she of silence, many of her ambient offerings finding themselves at the crossroads between chilly Scandinavian post-rock and modern string compositions. They're wonderfully evocative too, casting out artistic freeze-frames with every bar. There's a natural cinematic quality to tracks like "Jag Ser Dig", its tight strings played like rain drops against swooping angelics. "Salhus" again houses echoes of Julianna Barwick, while the freak-folkish "I've Always Been Jealous Of Migratory Birds" prefers bent strings and a windblown vocal. The tense plucked strings of "Snö" are simply beautiful, the gentle lapping of piano elsewhere deeply melancholic.
Other, more experimental, cuts avoid melody entirely deploying organic drones and electronic chatter. And though there's frequently no lyrics that's not to say there's no meaning in Karijord's otherworldly swirl. Music For Film And Theatre is far from some vanity project. It's a world to give yourself to completely, one that doesn't need the crutch of context, capable of forging its own relationship with a new audience.
Best tracks: "Snö" and "Salhus".