Susanna And The Magical Orchestra is in fact a duo with keyboardplayer Morten Qvenild and singer Susanna Karolina Wallumrød. (Morten is a former member of Jaga Jazzist and Shining, he quitted to concentrate on this duo and his own trio called In The Country. Their debut-album was released in Norway in February 2004, and some time later in Europe and in Japan, and received very good critics around the world. List of lights and buoys contains highly personal interpretations of Dolly Parton�'s Jolene and Leonard Bernstein�'s Who Am I as well as nine originals that show a suprising degree of maturity, especially considering the writers young age and the fact that they operate in a landscape that requires a good deal of songwriting skills to hold your attention. Susanna And The Magical Orchestra combines the availability of the traditional popmusic, the strictness of the electronica and the improvisation in the jazzmusic.
Albums don’t come much more beautiful than ”List of Lights and Buoys”. Despite a certain variety in the instrumentation and an undisputable audacity in the textural dress-up, ”List of Lights and Buoys” relies solely on the strong songwriting team of Wallumrød and Qvenild, and on Susanna’s irresistibly moving, seductive torch singer of a voice. With a desire to nail the listener to his or her chair right from the start, the album opens with two highly personal interpretations. Leonard Bernstein’s “Who Am I” is born out of and sent back to an electronic fog through which Susanna’s voice appears like a divine lighthouse. ”Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” provides the album’s highlight, a showcase for Susanna’s genuine torch singing and Qvenild’s sensitive, minimal arrangements. The duo’s songwriting is then allowed to shine, especially in “Friend”, “Distance Blues and Theory” and the gripping “Believer”. These songs are strong examples of timeless songwriting, the electronic vestments give them a certain edge, but don’t distract from their true qualities. A must-have and one of the most promising debut albums of the year. AMG (US)
Album review “Melody mountain”:
…In places, the results are absolutely stunning, as on the cover of KISS's Crazy, Crazy Nights, where Qvenild turns the original guitar-romp into a stunning, fluttery backdrop of gorgeous swells while Wallumrød seems to bring out another side of the vocals (just like Mark Kozelek did on most of What's Next To The Moon). Likewise, the thumping electronic pop of Depeche Mode is turned into a creepy lullaby on the ultra-melancholy Enjoy The Silence. If the album has a flaw, it's that just about every song on the release is turned into something super slow (and in some places rather languid). On the other hand, Melody Mountain (with production by Deathprod) is one of the most gorgeously-produced albums I've heard in some time. Subtlety is the rule on the disc, and it really seeps into your being on good headphones or nice speakers. Almost cool music reviews
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