Coming two years after her last release, 'Crystals' is the beautiful new single from Norwegian multi-instrumentalist / singer-songwriter Silje Nes. It arrives in advance of a brand new album, 'Opticks' (due in September) and as she embarks on her first live touring for nearly two years, with a handful shows in the UK and a full, month-long tour supporting DM Stith across the USA.
'Crystals' is a great introduction to the forthcoming album and to Silje's singular vision. With clipped viola and guitar parts, elctronic twirls, and a scuttling, muffled beat orbiting around Silje's gentle voice, its individual parts - plucked, picked, struck, scraped - seem to forgo individual strength / legibility in favour of a more amorphous, swarm-like identity - the more staccato verses swelling into the softly euphoric glow of the chorus. Second track, 'Foggy Window' is exclusive to this single and opens out a more spartan sound-world - with Silje's sombre vocal ruminations set against a web of layered beats and vocal cooing, occassionally intercut with twinkling electronic tones, thumb piano and flute notes.
Now resident in Berlin, Silje Nes grew up in the tiny town of Leikanger, in Sognefjord, the largest fjord in Norway, before moving to the larger town of Bergen in 2000. She began making her own music in 2001, and first came to FatCat's attention via a unique, utterly charming demo received out of the blue in 2005. A quirky, adventurous debut album, 'Ames Room', was released in January 2008, unfurling like a series of intricate constructions - the whole teeming with life and a great sense of fun. Silje subsequently embarked on a couple of short UK / European tours, but since then has remained quiet, spending her time constructing the follow-up.
Silje's new album, 'Opticks', is a gently enchanting new record that - whilst once again home-recorded - dramatically upgrades her sound and sees her making considerable advances on her debut, which drew widespread critical acclaim on its release. Intricately constructed, warm and brimming with melodic hooks, 'Opticks' has a far richer, fuller sound than its predecessor and unfurls a series of increasingly accessible and catchy little songs. Created between autumn 2008 and winter 2009, the album was mixed with Tarwater's Bernd Jestram, and offers a winning combination of melodic hooks and lush, intricate textural detail. Silje's beautiful, breathy vocals are projected further forward in the mix than previously, becoming less another texture than a central focus for the whole. Around her voice, tracks are constructed from a wide range of instruments and effects - guitars, drums, viola, bass, xylophone, loop pedal, electronics, keyboards, concertina, flute, trumpet, percussion and 'basically anything i have lying around, adding random recordings of things, video clips, FX...'