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På skive



The Norwegian band Action & Tension & Space describes itself as a spaced-out, instrumental lounge-rock outfit, with strong vibes of folk music, jazzy surf, psychedelia, free improvised chill-out, jangly post-rock, traveling bass and possibly a pinch of krautrock. And if this is not enough, «Tellus», the quartet’s fourth album and its debut on Rune Grammofon add two distinguished guests who enrich this sonic envelope even more – keyboardist Sigbjørn Apeland, who largely operates in a landscape of folk music, church music and improvisation, and percussionist Ståle Liavik Solberg, one of the most notable Norwegian improvisers and the curator of Oslo’s esteemed Blow Out! Festival.

«Tellus» was recorded at at Hauge Sjakklubb in Torvastad, located on the west coast of Norway, close to the band home base, Haugesund with its fertile psychedelic space-drone scene. The band members are guitarists Per Steinar Lie (of The Low Frequency in Stereo and Lumen Drones) and Øystein Braut (of Electric Eye), double bass player Julius Lind and drummer Ørjan Haaland (who also plays in The Low Frequency in Stereo and Lumen Drones). Action & Tension & Space heads – geographically speaking – on «Tellus» towards Hardangervidda, the big plains connecting the eastern and western parts of southern Norway, a terrain of wide-open spaces, spare vegetation and unruly weather conditions, especially during the winter. Musically speaking, Action & Tension & Space cooks spicy and layered pieces, with smart hooks and hypnotic drive.

But even with these highly tasteful recipes, there are captivating variations. The opening piece «Chromosomes» revolves around a strong and detailed dance-like pulse and is intensified by snaky guitar lines that force the casual listener to get up, move and dance. The title piece suggests a breezy and spaced-out drive in tropical sceneries, colored by the percussive touches of Liavik Solberg. «Trinity And The Holy Ghost» sounds as taking Action & Tension & Space even further, to the imagined Wild West of Ennio Morricone’s soundtracks to the Spaghetti Westerns of Sergio Leone. The band equipped itself with enough intoxicating but invigorating substances on «Schweppes And Koskenkorva» in order to reach its psychedelic destination, as it reflects on vintage space-prog rock sounds and rests on exotic tribal beats. And just before reaching Hardangervidda, in the 14-minute of the «The Last Petrol Station Before Hardangervidda» Action & Tension & Space offers its powerful, genre-bending sonic vision. This slow-cooking piece mixes cleverly and organically all the impossible ingredients in this band’s bag and serves a soothing dish of many tastes and colors.

Eyal Hareuveni

Per Steinar Lie (lap-steel, el.g), Øystein Braut (g, org, mellotron), Julius Lind (b), Ørjan Haaland (dr), Sigbjørn Apeland (harmonium, Fender Rhodes), Ståle Liavik Solberg (perc)

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