~ I'm going to let my inner fangirl have the keyboard for a minute and say: If all this, and this, and this, and *especially* this don't finally prove once and for all that Magne is by far the most bad-ass and crushworthy member of a-ha, then I give up. What could be sexier than a man who can replace a Ferrari and the international road rally experience of his dreams with a
~ I haven't posted yet about the 'Norwegian Wood' exhibition opening, or about London in general. In short, it was all really fun/awesome/artsy, I had a great time seeing friends and I was so glad to be there for Magne's first solo show in London since 2009, especially because of the Beatles connection. It was my first time seeing his work at the new Stolper gallery location across from the British Museum. The weather was beautiful, which was good because the gallery was overflowing with people and folks were standing outside with glasses of wine and enjoying the evening together. Unfortunately the place was so packed that you couldn't get a real look at the works - I tend to want to stand still and gaze at art and really take it all in, but people were moving back and forth through the room, and standing right in front of the works, so spending the time I wanted to look at each one was nearly impossible. Anyway the whole two days were such a special experience, it's up there with the Payne's Gray opening weekend in 2004 :-) A few of us were saying that it's wonderful to still have such strong ties despite the end of a-ha, and how amazing it is to have made lifelong friendships around the world just because we took a chance to get to know one another outside of a shared passion for music.
~ A friend from Norway brought me a copy of Martin Halla's album last week when we met in New York. The samples on iTunes really don't do the songs justice, and having already bonded with 'Time's up' and 'If he's the one', the rest of the album is now on high rotation. This is actually one of the topics I wanted to write a longer post about, because the lyrics have really grabbed me and there is so much about the album that I like - unexpectedly I might add, since I saw him perform in Oslo last year and was not overly impressed. I mean yeah, he's a great singer, but maybe the live arrangements were not the best? I have no idea about these things, but anyway I am so glad I have the album now.
One thing that impresses me about the album is that it is so mature. He must have a rare sensitivity in one so young to evoke such complex emotions, or maybe I am too far removed from 22 to imagine them to be within his own experience ;-) Interestingly though, at this particular time the album strikes a very personal cord, whereas even five years ago I would probably have found it 'nice but too slow/mellow'. Kinda makes me wonder how much music I have dismissed over the years simply because it arrived at the wrong time for me to relate to it!
There is a quality of deep and beautiful longing, together with genuine admiration, throughout the album. It's like one long caress that is at times playful, sorrowful, regretful, caring, supportive, protective and kind. And there are little special elements that keep bringing me back - the piano in 'Time's up'; Karoline's sweet and expressive vocals in 'My little wonder'; the almost a-ha song 'All the red lights', which makes me imagine the song with Morten's voice; and the pure piano and heartfelt honesty of 'Everybody's angel' - even songs I didn't think I'd like on first listen are growing on me like crazy, like 'When I see you', which is now my most played track.
"When I'm with you / I can't stop smiling all the time"
"I would've given anything / to hold you close"
Unfortunately, the only song I don't like much is 'Winter days', the one song Martin wrote alone. It's kind of interesting to look at the different songwriting teams on the album and wonder who contributed what, and of course which parts were Magne's.
I still think that 'Falling Slowly' is a stunning song, especially with Tini's vocals (can't wait for her album now!), but having spent the past six months listening to the live version from Desembertoner, the album version is not as good IMO. Maybe it's a familiarity thing though, but I skip the album version most of the time in favor of the live one.
The most strange thing, though? I heard 'Time's up' in a dream recently, and I *never* hear music in my dreams, which is already strange enough, considering how much of my time I spend listening to music and going to concerts. I had no idea that song had impressed me so much - even songs I have loved for many years have not been in my dreams (that I know of).
The last thing I'll say about the album right now is that I need to find out more about Glen Scott. He plays on almost every track, piano/synth/organ, with such wonderful expression and warmth, his contribution is a huge part of what I like about the album as a whole. I need to hear more from him. EDIT: I mean, Glenn Scott? Oh yes.
Oh and here is the center of the linter notes - great pics from the studio :-)