NORMAN WESTBERG – The All Most Quiet LP / CD / DL
Since SWANS‘ 1983 debut album “Filth”, Norman Westberg has essentially been a permanent member of this project. Anyone who has experienced SWANS live on one of their recent tours will know who Norman Westberg is: the almost stoic, tall man, who coaxes rhythmic sounds from his guitar with an incomparably minimalist power and elegance.
With “The All Most Quiet,” Norman Westberg has returned to Hallow Ground with a new solo album. The play on words in the title can be applied to Westberg’s own musical work, because whereas SWANS are hard to surpass in terms of brute force, the artist’s solo work is much more subtle, and therefore also quieter. The resulting juxtaposition between the dense metropolis of New York, where “The All Most Quiet” was recorded, and the album’s minimalistic strains open up virtual spaces for attentive listeners. The opening, nearly twenty-minute title track begins with a lucid echo-like and extensive sound that seems to expand spatially and then contracts again. At the same time the piece is evocative of lighting effects: mostly the music is slightly cool but rather bright. Individual beams break open or darken the mood. The consistent subtlety of the collages provokes the increased attention of the listener and every sonic shift is consciously perceived. The track “Sound 2,” which fills the entire B-side, begins with atonal and slightly bumpy delays, which become increasingly confused and develop an unpleasant undertow. It is a kind of clamorous minimalism combined with an ability to conjure up sounds from a guitar that hardly sounds like guitar that makes Norman Westberg’s music so unique.
1.) The All Most Quiet (18:47)
2.) Sound 2 (18:52)
Vinyl/CD/digital release via Hallow Ground May 2016
Distributed by A-Musik and Cargo Records