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På skive


«Dog Days»

«Dog Days» chronicles Norwegian singer-songwriter-vocal artist-educator Eldbjørg Raknes working at home, alone, at the beginning of 2021. Like many of her colleagues, Raknes attempts to make sense of the current strange days, contemplates the passing times and lost relationships but finds some rays of hope amid these unsettling times. This intimate and lonesome setting led, naturally, to the reflexive atmosphere of this album, as stated already in the opening song «Who Will We Be»: «I keep analyzing / I keep reflecting / the scream on the screen, in the mirror, is overwhelming». This melancholic atmosphere is solidified by the unique phrasing of Raknes, her sincere and open delivery, and the dark color of her voice, floating in layers of spacious vintage synths.

This sense of being lost deepens in «Dripping Drops»: «…tingling numbness trigging fearlessness / Mindfulness out of phase / My mind fills with outer space…». And this feeling intensifies with a sober realization about a missed relationships in «Good Riddance!» and «Could Have»: «Could have expected me to fall out of my air ballon today / Could have accepted a greet from the man upon the moon today» and «What has come along the way / to leave words behind like this?». Raknes sings these touching songs with imagery that follows Joni Mitchell.

But Raknes is not the one who would succumb to self-pity, even in dire times. Her perspective, life experience and sense of irony carry her beyond the foggy horizon, as she insists in the driving «Stuck in a Bubble»: «…She should seek lightness / She should seek brightness / She should seek calmness / She should seek float alone-ness…», followed by «Heart Beat»: «I’m letting it go / I’m shaking it off / I’m scratching it off”…»

Raknes sketches a strong and feminist portrait of a woman who needs to define her own freedom and her space in the church-like hymn «Listen»: «I now know far more than I need to know / I don’t want to hear anymore / I stand here and listen / again and again». And she accepts the cycle of life in «Sirius»: «In the darkest night / it starts to shine / pink yellow and white / might bring / joy or fight…».

Raknes concludes with a moving, sparse interpretation of «Did you hitchhike with an eagle?» (originally performed in a trio setting on Raknes’ «Hitchhike», MyRecording, 2017), a song that captures beautifully the thoughts of time passing by and missed loved ones, as the unifying theme of «Dog Days». Raknes is at her best.

Eyal Hareuveni

Eldbjørg Raknes (v, keys, live sampling, elec, perc)

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