CD on sale for $10
$9 – $18
The celebrated Norwegian ethno-electronic sound-sculpting duo Green Isac (Andreas Eriksen & Morten Lund) is back with their first full length release in 10 years – PASSENGERS, a groovy minimalist ambient recording, packed with melodic hooks and driven by a heavy dose of world-flavored percussion.
A completely realized triptych combining three shorter works, Backwaters, Kites, and Larynx – EP’s which were previously only available on iTunes – PASSENGERS is an irresistible blend of electronic and ethnic soundscapes that meet at the crossroads of global percussion and electronic soundworlds.
“Even though it was planned from the beginning to release all the tracks as a complete album, the process of working in smaller segments has been a little different than the making of our previous albums,” explains Eriksen.
“The idea of making smaller units – the EP’s – was a kind of inspiration when we started out this project,” adds Lund, “but when listening to the complete album it’s not obvious which track is from which ep, and that was our hope, so we are quite pleased.”
This stylistic consistency that runs through the album is mainly due to the imaginative creativity of Green Isac’s sound, and PASSENGERS shows the innovative duo continuing to expand on the Afro-influenced electronic approach they have pioneered for well over two decades, producing an organically fresh neo-IDM vibe; an innovative and vibrant sound that is original and ageless all at once.
With the pieces in place and the mesmerizing picture finally complete, PASSENEGERS transports listeners across a virtual trans-continental soundscape, constantly moving through sublime spaces, exotic melodies, energetic percussion, and otherworldly soundscapes.
We know it at once when we fall on something different. Very different. And it's a bit much what is happening when our loudspeakers release the ethnic rhythms of this last album of Green Isac. I say the last one because the band from Norway already has some albums to its repertoire, but “Passengers” is the very first one on a major label. It is an album built on the last 3 EP of the eclectic duet which mixes deliciously the electronic art to tribal rhythms skilfully fed by highly contagious percussions. It is thus more than 10 years after the very applauded, but how much always unknown, Etnotronica that the Morten Lund and Andreas Eriksen duet gets out of his dumbness and proposes another mixture of rhythms to the ethnic colors and with electronic moods very near the meditative psalms. Rhythms of the world to others very near contemporary dance music in which live some meditative atmospheres, “Passengers” is the best example of a music without borders.
And as soon as the first ringings of percussions are opening "Ormen Lange" we are besieged by an ethereal ambience where the lonely singings of a charming flute are floating along lines of synth which coil up in a sonic horizon to the colors of desert. The manual percussions and impulses full of restraints of a secret bass are shaping a rhythm which remains ambient, as a little bit all around “Passengers”. "Particle Talk" is a silky piece of music well sat on a pattern of tribal percussions with tints and hits as much effective than bewitching while the subjugated guitar of Morten Lund floats with fragments of ethereal airs. But nothing is molded in the ease with Green Isac. The very evasive melody and the African rhythm of "Particle Talk" are coated by heterogeneous noises which give a fascinating ectoplasmic approach to the track. I like and it is melting quite well in the ears. The guitar which opens "Commandante" reminds me of a U2 mislaid in mists of ether. The riffs flow like lost chords whereas that quite slowly a more incisive rhythm bites a mood where a kind of paranoia circulates at the same time as the death-agonies of the six strings. Except that the title eventually burst with a very poignant guitar. The title-track offers a beautiful rhythmic wealth where some fragile arpeggios are dancing with hesitation on a great bed of percussions and beneath a sonic sky painted of resounding dark lines. A slight drawback however! When the rhythm is getting spicier and turns into a beautiful lunar down-tempo, the music stops abruptly. It seems like the end is missing. That, I have to say, annoyed me! "Palomatronics" is a rather meditative track with a guitar/sitar fusion among which the harmonies and solos are eventually floating on a delicate clanic beat. Each track of “Passengers” lives under a pattern of percussions with rhythms as wild as balanced, if it is not both at the same time, dragging the structures in intractable rhythms to unforeseen outcomes. Like "CSA" and its wave-like approach, caressed by a soft guitar, which battles along some very lively percussions, bringing harmonies and ambiences in a tumult equivalent to the fury of Andreas Eriksen's percussions. Soft and ambient, with its delicate ethereal ballad, "Gepra" reminds me as much Erik Wollo as Darshan Ambient. Moreover the moods of solitary nomad and his tears of spectral guitars as well as his notes of piano froze in cold are haunting a lot of tracks on “Passengers”. Like in "Fisher" and "Na Tariko" and their musical structures sounding like African documentaries à la Vangelis tempered with a touch of madness. "Zakopane" and "Recycles" stand out with wild rhythms forged by some great and furious manual percussions and a mix of guitar/synth layers which sing, otherwise scrape, in almost boosted moods. The percussions are very good. "1034" ends “Passengers” with a good down-tempo full of emotions. I would tell you that it is a mixture of Patrick O'Hearn and Erik Wollo that I will be right on the nose. Piano and guitars are striking while, always so indomitable, the percussions weave a base of rhythm which the ethereal visions of melodies.
Different but rather interesting, the music of “Passengers” invites us to an ethnic fiesta filled with unpredictable rhythms and wrapped in ethereal ambiences. Green Isac likes playing with its short structures by injecting in it a small cacophonous dose with outer elements, in particular whispers and totally wild percussions, on ethnic rhythms and ethereal melodies. This sounds quite like a nice mixture of Vangelis (for the ethnic percussions) and Erik Wollo (for the evanescent melodies) that will undoubtedly find a special place for those who love something else than usual. Me? I actually well liked even if we are far enough from the sequence based or floating EM.
As I’ve dropped in on the work of this Norwegian duo through the years, trying to follow their trajectory through a delicate balance of electronica, ethnic percussion and folk, and their progressive approach to melodic mostly-instrumental sounds has been a bit of a challenging process, and not always to my liking. On Passengers, a compilation of three previously released EP downloads, it seems they got everything right and the result is their most satisfying release since their debut Strings and Pottery, way back in 1990. The two principals are composers ans multi-instrumentalists Morten Lund and Andreas Eriksen, who produce nearly all the sounds here, although in a live setting they expand to the five-piece Green Isac Orchestra. The fact that this is only their fifth CD release in almost 25 years, and their first in 10 years has made it additionally difficult to connect the dots, but this time out everything seems to have converged. Their sound takes a film soundtrack approach, constructing colorful melodic and rhythmic pieces from keyboards, electronics, and guitars with looping, repetition, and fragmentary brushes with dark and light, all over an ever-present bed of ethnic percussive rhythms, sometimes seemingly purely of acoustic origin, other times electronic or heavily processed. One will find a fair amount of variety across the twelve cuts herein, yet in that is a surprising stylistic consistency. Guest players have been brought in to cover additional instruments on certain tracks, but for the most part this is purely the work of Eriksen and Lund. As electronic music goes, this tends toward the gentler side, even with its rhythmic drive and exotic ethnic fusions. Trying to come up with comparisons isn’t an easy task, but the listener will find plenty in Passengers to challenge the senses.- Peter Thelen, Exposé Magazine
Norwegian duo Green Isac have been producing worldly, ethno-tinged electronica for some time, but “Passengers” is their first release in 10 years. It all begins with the Eno & Hassell-inspired “Ormen Lounge”, which is a subtle, mysterious piece with trumpet. That piece flows into “Particle Talk”, which is a pulsing ambient piece with sounds evoking a Middle Eastern radio transmission intercepted and placed atop a bed of smooth shuffling beats. Very nice, transformative, and evocative indeed!
The remainder of the album continues in this path — inspirations from around the world are woven seamlessly into Green Isac’s smooth electronic ambience. “CSA” even draws in some synth pop to their web, and it works well. “Zakopane” brings an air of futuristic mystery, manipulating more Middle Eastern sounds around a bed of subtle synthetics. “Na Tariko” could be a less angry Muslimgauze, whereas “1034” is a reflective, haunting slice of piano and electronics.
All said, “Passengers” is a superb, warm, and invitingly subtle album that weaves together world influence into a modern sound travelogue.- Todd Zachritz, Goatsden
Described as Norway's "ethno-electronic sound sculpting duo," Green Isac (multi-instrumentalists/synthesists Andreas Eriksen and Morten Lund) achieves agreeable balance between structured songcraft and impressionistic soundscaping on Passengers - a 12-track compilation of three previously released download EP’s.
Assisted by others on duduk (Armenian woodwind instrument), "guitar textures" and "cello–effects," the pair works from a musical toolkit that is both wide–ranging and ethnically exotic. Alongside multiple electronic keyboards, organ and mellotron they employ drums, guitar and an array of aboriginal acoustic instruments, some of mysterious identity. (If you are unfamiliar with what a shahi baaja or bogarabou are, join the club.) The subtle differences between complementary electronic and acoustic timbers are always apparent, lending to Green Isac's uniqueness as master of textural homogenization.
African-style drumbeats beneath flowing/shifting synth atmospheres – embellished by subtle electronic effects, processed/ muted voices, etc. - provide Passengers' general mode of transport. Pace and mood vary slightly along a typically relaxed/meditative continuum, the energetically danceable "Recycle" being a notably exception. Elsewhere, minor melodic figures on "Comandante," "Palomatronics" and other pieces lend distinctiveness beyond the dreamily ethereal.- John Collinge, Progression Magazine, Issue 67