wed 21/02/2024

CD: Huntsville – For Flowers, Cars and Merry Wars | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Huntsville – For Flowers, Cars and Merry Wars

CD: Huntsville – For Flowers, Cars and Merry Wars

Norway takes Krautrock for trip to the countryside

Huntsville: Krautrock, Americana and inner space

Music from Norway can have moods and textures that aren’t found elsewhere. Templates are thrown away and boundaries between genres are non-existent, bringing a thrilling unpredictability. Huntsville, a three-piece with roots in improv music, jazz and folk, take a repetition rooted in Krautrock and imbue it with the organic feel of Americana – they’ve previously collaborated with members of Wilco.

The opening cut of third album For Flowers, Cars and Merry Wars, the almost-19-minute title track, journeys into inner space and compresses time. Once over, the ride seems as though it’s barely begun.

Huntsville are Ivar Grydeland, Tonny Kluften and Ingar Zach. The former are resident in Oslo, while percussionist Zach has spent time in Madrid. They also work separately. Grydeland plays banjo and pedal steel in addition to guitar. Kluften doubles on electric and acoustic bass. Zach supplements the normal percussive array with tabla, sarangi box, sruti box and something called a drone commander. Huntsville have composed and played live for dance performances. The mix of instruments and platforms of expression hasn’t brought a lack of focus.

For Flowers, Cars and Merry Wars is very precise. It begins with an insistent pulse that continues through the title track. Bells, a Terry Riley-esque synth wash, saw tones and gurgling sounds shimmer over the top. Guest vocalist Hanne Hukkelberg drifts in and out. The elements coalesce, a simple one-string guitar refrain is repeated. The pitch of the pulse rises, creating an incredible tension. It’s the non-rock Ash Ra Temple. At eight minutes there’s a drop-out. It then comes cascading back in with a new pulse, that of heartbeat. The whole ebbs, flows, loses form, reshapes itself. Tone set, Huntsville quickly despatch the 26-second “For the Working Class“ (a previous album was called For the Middle Class) and let the skittering 12 minutes 40 seconds of the equally intense “Ear/Eye Connector” unfold. Huntsville are on their own.

Visit Kieron Tyler’s blog

Listen to an extract of the title track from For Flowers, Cars and Merry Wars

Add comment


Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters