I first came across Norwegian Electro pop artiste Susanne Sundfor by accident, albeit a happy one. Whilst googling a Depeche Mode b-side #Ice Machine, I found a cover the songstress had performed with fellow countrymen Royksopp back in late 2012, live on Lydverket. To-date, this same cover, has scored just under 900k hits on Youtube. Not bad for a one-off live performance.
Curiosity roused, I ordered a copy of Susanne Sundfor’s last album, #TheSiliconeVeil, released in early 2012, and was more than pleasantly surprised with its brilliantly novel and diverse content.
Not exactly mainstream, it is nonetheless electronic pop with a clarity that is very easy on the ear. It weighs in more on the vocal than musical side, and Sundfor has a pure far-reaching vocal range, which flies in a high register, and which has become her trademark. One suspects the production was muted to tailor this effect. That is not to say that the music is second rate, far from it.
The album opens with a strong sounding #Diamonds, with its Eastern influences. Next up the heavyweight love song #WhiteFoxes, a song about “wanting to be peaceful…in the middle of nowhere…to cleanse oneself”. Opening with a sombre piano melody it moves into weighty electronics culminating in a single pulse percussive beat behind Sundfors tense, almost operatic pitch. Also in here are the instrumental, #MeditationsInAnEmergency and #AmongUs all soft hushed synth and strings.
There is little by way of a “standard” to the direction each song takes, as Sundfor invariably changes tack, tone, orientation and sound mid-way through, adding surprise elements, going up and down gear, turning our expectations on their head.
#TheSiliconVeil is a beautifully and carefully balanced production, unique, haunting, powerful, imaginative. Whilst not without its faults, it is a creative success and surely an album which has clearly set our Sundfors’ stall.
Cue 2015, and the imminent release of Sundfor’s latest opus #TenLoveSongs due out on 15th February. Two tracks have already been streamed on Soundcloud – #FadeAway and #Delirious – both to ecstatic reviews from media and fans alike.
Speaking recently about the forthcoming album, Sundfor said:
“To me, love isn’t always what it seems. When I first started to work on the album, I wanted to make an album about violence, and then, as I was writing the songs, there were violent aspects, but they were usually about love or relationships, how you connect with other people. And in the end, that turned out to be 10 love songs….”
#FadeAway, the first release, is a track about falling in and out of love. It is indicative of a shift in Sundfor’s approach to this production, having a heavier electronic feel, and a weightier sound. The production is technical with a lot of layering and texturing, and the overall sound is one of a creditable electronic pop-song.
With the release of the more cinematic, dark themed #Delirious, it is obvious that we are in for another sonic treat from the Norse songstress. Only time, sales and reviews will tell if this is will the album to push her to stardom.
You’ll find Susanne Sundfor on Soundcloud here. See her Facebook page for details of her forthcoming tour.