Music for Moviebikers
or a man who runs a blog solely dedicated to describing his equipment fetish, Kaada’s Music for Moviebikers is a pretty startling release. It’s a purely orchestral album, without a single obvious gaffer taped electronic gizmo in earshot. His 2003 debut, Thank You for Giving Me Your Valuable Time, left clues that there was a much more sensitive and sober soul below, but you could only hear it beneath home-built equipment and off-the-wall samples.
Music for Moviebikers strings together pieces of low-key classical work recorded live in the studio over three weeks’ worth of sessions. While Kaada has done work for independent Norwegian films, this is a soundtrack to a film-that-never-was, taking a cinematic, yet simple approach to this genre that avoids big budget bombast. Regrettably, he doesn’t pull off the difficult task of a stand-alone soundtrack.
It doesn’t help that each song seems to follow a rigid formula. The self-imposed limitations of this palette, and the overall similarity in moods reveal little of Kaada’s emotional or instrumental reach. Taken in single shots, there are undoubtedly moments of beauty: “No Man’s Land” is one of the better examples, able to stand out from the crowd despite relying on the model. A picked acoustic guitar framework provides a base for hummed melody lines and supporting strings, then Kaada slips in an element of oddness. In this song’s case, it’s a la-la female vocal part and a bowed saw.
Despite some interesting instrumentation from the twenty-two piece orchestra, Kaada doesn’t allow for much more than a few cutely spirited sections of music. Music for Moviebikers’ anomalies make for quick flashes of interest, as on the sepia strings of opener “Smiger” or the warm touches of Tom Waits’ The Black Rider on “Spindle.” A full play of the album, however, sees it beginning to drag—heavily. Perhaps working alongside visuals, the album might work, with the patterns becoming themes rather than repetitive problems. Sadly, Kaada’s first attempt at a serious soundtrack album falls short of the mark in a heavily swollen field.
Reviewed by: Scott McKeating
Reviewed on: 2006-09-22