Lisa Nordström: 7 States of Passion
Kning Disk

While we wait with anticipation for Midaircondo's sophomore release, we can tide ourselves over very well indeed with Lisa Nordström's solo outing 7 States of Passion. Echoes of the parent group (now a duo) resonate in the Göteborg, Sweden-based artist's material, demonstrating that Nordström's lost none of the imagination and artistry that distinguished the group's 2005 Type release Shopping for Images. Though the half-hour Kning release is purely an audio recording, 7 States of Passion is a visual-and-audio performance whose visual expression Nordström conceived with her IAMSOAREYOU partner Kajsa Nordström (in brief, the seven songs track her movements over a floor of mirrors inside a small greenhouse whose glass both protects and exposes her). Nordström created the music using voice, cither, electronics, bass flute, kalimba, and percussion, plus incorporated field recordings from China, Italy, Mexico, and Morocco into the sound mix too.

Like a flower's petals opening, her multi-layered voice slowly blooms in the dream-like “At first” before segueing into the release's prettiest piece “Fireworks and the Ocean” where voices overlap until the stirring melodic hook of the title appears accompanied by electronic harp strums. A brief interlude of fireworks appears before the chorus appears again, enchanting the listener once more. There's a fragile, fairy tale-like quality about Nordström's project that's appealing, and never more so than in the beautiful “Fireworks and the Ocean” (the release is rounded out by the song's brief reprise). If nothing else is quite so captivating, it's because the focus shifts in the other songs to atmospheric sonic sculpting where voices and instruments merge restrainedly (“Unquiet slumbers”) and build into combustible masses (“Proper limit”). At times the melodic structures and singing remind one of Björk—in particular, Nordström's voice sounds uncannily similar to Björk's in “Iamsoareyou”—but 7 States of Passion nevertheless asserts itself ultimately as a fully-realized solo work. That dream-related themes appear during 7 States of Passion (in “Unquiet slumbers” most obviously) is appropriate given that the music's often the stuff that fairy tales and dreams are made of. Kning Disk clearly recognized how special the project is by presenting it in a unique four-flap fold-out design that blossoms in a manner parallel to Nordström's music.

December 2008