Out Of Control
By Pearls & Gold
Back At Dawn
Fenomenon er Kjetil Ingebretsen og Håvard Rosenberg fra Stavanger. På begynnelsen av 2000-tallet gav de ut et par EP-er på London-labelen Nuphonic før de gikk konk. Spor fra disse to EP-ene var med på utallige samlere og playlister, og var med på å etablere Fenomenon den internasjonale nujazz/downbeat scenen.
De hadde allerede spilt inn et album for Nuphonic, men da de fikk en deal med Beatservice i 2004, bestemte de seg for å lage et helt nytt album.
Etter "Hourglass"-albumet, som stil-messig var et slags nujazz møter 80-talls-estetikk, slapp de funk/soul albumet "In Stereo" in 2005. Begge albumene ble godt mottatt rundt om i verden.
Men Nuphonic-sporene var fortsatt etterspurte blant fans, og dukket stadig opp på nye samlere. Sporet "Solara" havnet også på fjorårets sci-fi/action film "The Island" fra Dreamworks, med Ewan McGregor og Scarlet Johansson!!
Og nå er albumet "Pacific Memories" endelig ute! Det inkluderer alle minus ett spor fra Nuphonic 12"-erne, som nujazz/downbeat klassikerene "Pacific Memories", "Out Of Control" og "Solara", hint av broken beats, en dash latinske rytmer og deres velkjente kreative produksjon og Kjetils jazza vokal. Som vanlig har de fått hjelp fra kompis Thomas Dybdahl, som spiller gitar og er med komponist på et par spor. Hilde Drange fra Slowpho bidrar også på vokal.
Fenomenon is Kjetil Ingebretsen and Håvard Rosenberg from Stavanger on the west coast of Norway. In 2000, they signed with London label Nuphonic, and released two critically acclaimed EP's before Nuphonic was suddenly liquidated. Tracks from the two Nuphonic EP's appeared on numerous compilations and playlists, making Fenomenon a household name in the international nujazz/downbeat scene.
They had already made an album for Nuphonic, but when they got a deal with Beatservice in 2004, they decided to make an all new album.
After the "Hourglass" album, which was a kind of nujazz meets 80’s aesthetics, they released the funk/soul album "In Stereo" in 2005. Both albums were well received around the globe.
But the Nuphonic tracks were still sought after by fans and on compilations, and the track "Solara" also ended up on last year’s sci-fi/action movie "The Island" from Dreamworks, starring Ewan McGregor and Scarlet Johansson!!
And now, the "Pacific Memories" album is finally out! It includes all but one of the tracks from the 12"-ers, including the nujazz/downbeat classics "Pacific Memories", "Out Of Control" and "Solara", hints of broken beats, a dash of Latin rhythms, and their trademark wicked production. Not to mention the jazzy vocals of Kjetil and guest vocalist Hilde Drange from Slowpho.
Norway's Fenomenon first burst onto the scene around the turn of the century, with a couple of well-received downtempo 12"s on the then hot Huphonic imprint. Sadly, Nuphonic' liquidation in 2002 put paid to plans to release their debut album, 'Pacific Meories'. By the time they finally got round to releasing a full-length two years later, they'd ditched the Nuphonic tapes and recorded a whole new set: something much nearer the nu-jazz/broken beat sound they were loving at the time. Pleasingly, they've now decided the time is right to dust down the old master tapes and give their 'long lost' debut album a proper release, this time through current home Beatservice. For those who loved the promise of their early 12"s, it's a wonderful listen. Much of it, particularly 'Solara', 'Picturebook' and 'Out Of Control' is very reminiscent of early Zero 7, before they turned to making bland, coffe-table nonsense. Sure, 'Pacific Memories' has a few more nods to broken beat and Latin rhythms, but it boasts a similar sense of dubby atmosphere, blissed-out soul and musical simplicity. Judged against contemporary music trends it seems rather quaint and out of touch, but that's missing the point: 'Pacific Memories' is a great downtempo album that never was.
(3/5) Matt Anniss
Norwegian duo Kjetil Ingebretsen and Havard Rosenberg introduce their third album, a compilation including cuts from early EPs released in 2000. This is a 12-track collection of smooth nujazz/downbeat numbers, perfect for post-clubbing or chilling around the house.
In fact, there are few places where Pacific Memories wouldn’t go down well, such is the sophistication of their spotless production values. Broken beats jog effortlessly throughout, vibed by twinkling piano, acoustic guitar, memorable synth hooks and jazzy vocals from Kjetil, Hilde Drange and Slowpho.
Pacific Memories also varies the style of its downtempo moods, incorporating Latin rhythms on Romeo Avenue and a sense of cinematic elegance such as on Color Conscience. Often this type of album is enjoyable but mostly set on cruise control, however there’s some really lovely tracks on this album, and few better than By Pearls & Gold, with its smooth vocals, warm synths and gorgeous melodic hooks.
Pacific Memories actually improves as it develops, the trumpet-led instrumental track, Ripen, rides the calm waters superbly, whilst the acoustic guitars weave a magical tranquillity on Clayton Ravine.
With such superbly polished production and sumptuous tunes, as far as downtempo is concerned Pacific Memories is near impossible to criticise and makes for excellent easy listening.
One week to live
For those of you who are unfamiliar with Fenomenon, they are a couple of guys from Stavenger on the west coast of Nirway. This collection brings together a bunch of tracks originally released in various vinyl incarnations as far back as 2000 when they where signed to the now defunct label, Nuphonic. Whether you call it future jazz, chillout, ambient or down beat, when you go for a vibe as mellow as it accomplished here the danger is that you end up with the audio equivalent of a warm mug of Horlicks.
Thankfully thought, producers Håvardd Rosenberg and Kjetil Ingebretsen have avoided such pitfalls and created an audio landscape that is both gentle and engrossing. They achieve this by mixing organic, almost hip hop-sounding sampled drums with more synthesized electronic sounds. Layered on top are sparingly used keys and horns, and the mixture of organic and electronic is strangely compelling. Each track is carefully buildt up and broken down, layer by layer, with immaculate timing to keep this album more chill pill thant sleeping tablet. Male and female vocals are also employed on about half the tracks to keep things just stimulating enough.
Tracks are not presented here in order of release date, although it is still possible to chart the duo's evolution from the downtempo, almost trip-hoppish early tunes like 'Picturebook', to the more broken beat 'Even Stranger'. That said, even the earliest tracks sound crispy produced, and there is nothing on here resembling the stinkers you often find on compilations of early or unreleased tracks. If you need something to pop on after a hard nights raving, or even a stressful session at the office this is for you.
Ach, sie sind dann doch echte Kitschschleudern – das Duo Ingebretsen/Rosenberg alias Fenomenon. Diesmal haben sie längst vergriffene Frühwerke neu eingespielt und sitzen dabei gedanklich irgendwo an einem palmengesäumten Strand, saugen am Drei-Tropen-Drink und blinzeln in die Sonne. Musikalisch äußerst sich dies in feinen Klangmustern und einem stets verlässlich dahin trippelnden Klanguntergrund, während orchestrale Synthie-Geigenwolken davon schweben. "Romeo Avenue" und "By Pearls & Gold" lauten denn auch die Titel.
Zuweilen erinnern sie dank ihrer Rückgriffe auf feinziselierte Gitarrenschnipsel und gelegentlichen knappe Orgeleinsätze kurz an den manierierten Rockjazz der Achtziger, doch gelingt es ihnen immer wieder rechtzeitig, das Ruder herumzureißen und diese eigentlich unerträgliche Musik mit den Mitteln des energischen Dancefloor aufzumischen und in einen flotten, fließenden Sound zu überführen. Nett auch der Gastauftritt von Hilde Drange von Slowpho, die immer allerbestens singt. Und ehe man sich versieht, schnippt man mit den Fingern, wiegt in den Hüften mit und bekommt irgendwie seltsam grundlos gute Laune – will man gar nicht, aber ... Tja, wie machen die das bloß? Und wo ist noch mal meine Badehose, die Taucherbrille, das Flugticket?
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