Boomkat Product Review:
Stunning recordings from Norwegian pianist Anja Lauvdal, who follows-up last year’s Laurel Halo-produced ‘From a Story Now Lost’ with an album of improvisations made on a Wurlitzer electric piano, featuring the great Lasse Marhaug on mastering duties. Pastoral, personal, heartbreaking gear that’s required listening if you’re into Harold Budd, Loren Connors, Dominique Lawalrée, Robert Wyatt, Vincent Gallo.
'Farewell to Faraway Friends' finds Lauvdal at her Wurlitzer, captured by two mics in the room, with no additional overdubs or edits. Her set of hushed, jazzy flourishes and pregnant pauses is so well realised that it’s hard to believe they were improvised, while the “kitchen feel” of the room recording (as Marhaug describes it) enhances a sense of brittle intimacy. Much in the same way that Dominique Lawalrée imbued his ostensibly naive music with glimpses into a multifaceted inner life, Lauvdal explores an ocean of feeling through the most humble components, transporting us through some alchemical act of emotional teleportation.
Lauvdal avoids meandering flights of fancy, instead exposing a filigree level of detail and beauty through the cracks of her spartan recordings. There are no arbitrary found sounds, no sound design or overdubs, just Lauvdal and her Wurlitzer, occasionally singing at a barely perceptible volume in the background. If there's melancholy, it's not self absorbed or effacing, but trapped behind sunny rays and poetic, romantic phrases.
One of those effortlessly impactful records we’ve not been able to stop listening to for a while now, ‘Farewell to Faraway Friends’ is apparently the first in an ongoing series. Here’s hoping.