Karmøy: Landmarks

Enigmatic duo Karmøy (the name means “an island which acts as a screen against the sea”) presents a distinctive marriage of organic and electronic sounds on Landmarks, a six-track follow-up to 2004's Faded Pictures. The new release features three Karmøy originals plus three remixes, two of which are tracks from the first EP re-interpreted by Boltfish co-owners MINT (Murray Fisher) and CHEjU (Wil Bolton). We're informed that Karmøy's crystalline sound is influenced by the shipyards and fishing port of Stavanger and the industrial city of Haugesund, and certainly the Swiss countryside is suggested by gentle cowbell tinklings in “Kopervic.” In general, the group's clean and slightly chilled sound is glistening and bright yet deepened by a brooding undertow.

A melancholy breeze whistles through the delicate “Solafjell” with its Suction-styled backing of shimmying drum machine patterns and sparkling synth layers (Druid later takes the song on a less melancholic stroll in a glissandi-laced remix). In contrast to its retiring ambiance, the soulful “Åkra” drapes atmospheric washes over a rubbery bass line and buoyant beats in uplifting manner. The aforementioned remixes impress too: bathed in showers of reverberant shimmer, MINT gives “Pivotal moments” a stately, house-flavoured 'tundra' mix while CHEjU's “Adjunct” mix leisurely lopes through densely textured thickets.

June 2005