Review Summary: Beyond pretty.
When talking about obscure Norwegian singers, the furthest thing from mind would have to be a gentle and harmless female folk singer that occupies her music with wistful guitar and post rock-esque melodies. Silje Nes is an uncovered gem of an artist that has been in hiding for much too long, and her latest release, Opticks
brings some of the most tantalizing yet gentle folk music that you will hear this year. Silje Nes first came to attention with her debut LP Ames Room
which was recorded solely in Nes’s bedroom. Though before Opticks
came around FatCat records got her signature and Nes had much more liberty in recording and access to much better resources, yet this still doesn’t change the aesthetic of the production, as it still feels in a sense, homely.
begins with the “The Glass Harp” and an extremely simple but none-the-less grabbing, plucked guitar line, which really sets the tone for things to come on Opticks
, since simplicity seems to be the main theme found throughout. Added to this simplicity is quite a surprising factor, which is that of many post rock influences, with a major one being Sigur Ros, as you can hear the definite drones and string sounds that Jonsi and crew rely on. Though don’t fret on the similarities too much as Nes makes Opticks
all about her, as these familiar background noises are mixed with beautiful vocal interplay and melodies that are beyond charming. Both these facets of Opticks
are heavily played upon on “Hello Luminance”, which gives off an unbelievably textured and thick sound for a such a simple song.
While the lyrics are somewhat indecipherable at times – even though she sings in English, there is a great wealth of beauty to be taken out her writing, and are another form of the simplicity found throughout, as “Branches” shows:
“Branches will take care of us
Make us fall safely, slowly, slowly
Carry us in little movements, until we reach the ground”
is something different, but is something that makes a whole heap of sense. The simplicity of the composition with the added extra’s and flourishes added on the sides makes for a feast of an album. Opticks
is a canvas that you lose yourself in as it swirls from simple folk to a tinged post rock sound that keeps you guessing of the songs direction, but not at its heart. Silje Nes has made a force to be reckoned with in Opticks
and is sure to make herself a name that is on every underground music fans lips.