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Saturday, August 15, 2009

In The Country Whiteout

In The Country
Rune Grammofon

The third album from Norway’s In The Country continues a journey through an ambient landscape where the sound is intimate and the tone is subdued.

Consisting of Morten Qvenild (keyboards and vocals), Roger Arntzen( double bass and vocals) and Pal Hausken drums and vocals), this a late night place filled with spongy wisps of Fender Rhodes electric piano, and muted sepulchral scene-setting from the rhythm section.

Morten Qvenild’s love affair with prog rock-like themes can clearly be discerned here. Ursa Major breaks into a canter with rolling drums and low-register weaving synth lines that wouldn’t sound out of place on any number of prog-orientated albums of the seventies.

The slowly ascending coda of the following track, w.a.r.m, is adorned with those wistful male voice harmonies that used to be found in the backing vocals from 1970s Genesis or Fairport Convention.

The jazz content here percolates through a Pat Metheny-like gauze of impeccable production values and desire to create something that is uniformly smooth and highly polished.

That it achieves this without being bland or pallid is to the group’s credit, although folks seeking harder textures are advised to look elsewhere.

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