They play only two songs (for a total of 8 minutes), but they cram a lot of interesting sounds into these songs, including a flugabone. Kristoffer Lo plays that mournful horn and Ingrid Helene Håvik compliments the yearning with words that are mysterious and somewhat dark.
For “The Man on the Ferry” the song opens with the horn playing mournful notes while the percussionist plays a tiny steel drum and Håvik plays a kind of autoharp. There’s the fascinating lyric: “It made the Indian in me cry.” (It’s especially interesting since the band is from Norway).
Håvik has an inflection something like Björk’s (although her singing style is very different) and there are some delightful harmonies.
The melody of the second song “Since Last Wednesday” is familiar to me. Or the combination of steel drum and horn is just really compelling. It’s fascinating to watch the guitarist wield his horn in one hand while holding the guitar with the other and singing harmonies. The song is also kind of mysterious (that horn again) with the lyrics:
He would never do graffiti or vandalize that house. And he would never be caught spray painting on those people’s walls. But no one has seen or heard from him since last Wednesday.
As the song progresses some really dark lyrics crop up, all under that beguiling melody.
The blurb lists some of their other titles: “Leaving No Traces,” “I, The Hand Grenade,” “The Man on the Ferry,” “Science & Blood Tests” which really says quite a lot about this interesting band. I definitely want to hear more than eight minutes from them.
[READ: February 20, 2016] “The Repatriates”
I was fascinated by this story because I hadn’t really heard of the phenomenon of Russian emigres returning to Russia because they felt the conditions were better there than in America
The story starts by telling us that Grisha and Lera’s marriage has dissolved. In 1994 Grisha’s visa had been processed and he was brought to America by Hewlett-Packard. He found it demeaning and like servitude ans as soon as it was up her quit and got a new job with Morgan Stanley–building market models for mortgage traders (for those of us who doesn’t know what that is, it’s not rally that important).
But Grisha felt empty. He said there as no spirituality in America (even though he himself was not spiritual)
Eventually Grisha started travelling back to Moscow (they had not been able to sell their apartment there, so he had a place to stay). He would visit old friends and make news ones. He started going more frequently. And then one of his trips lasted for two months.
He called to say he was not returning to Morgan Stanley or America. He was tired of working with people whose main qualifications seemed to be that “they could quote from Star Wars and recall Yankees scores from the Nixon era.”
He hoped that he could grow Russia’s robust mortgage industry (so the area of business he works in is relevant, but you don’t need to know it to appreciate his plans).
Within three months, Lera had sold their New York house and planned to move back. Their daughter Masha was going to stay in the States because she was going to school there.
Lera was somewhat happy to be back, but since we know the marriage has already ended, we know things won’t work out).
Grisha seems very different–he’s wearing a cross now. So Lera decides to spruce up the place to maybe make their home more homey like their New York residence. It cost more money than she realized and when she checks the account, she sees that Grisha has taken a lot of money out of the account as well. He says he’s spending money to make money.
Then little things begin to add up. And soon Lera is rethinking everything.
This was a surprisingly long story (but good) for a story that told you what would happen in the first paragraph. But the details were interesting and I enjoyed the way the story switched from Grisha to Lera and how she decided to handle her own decision making from then on.