"The titles are quotes and fragments from different farewell utterances... things that people said when they were about to die." - Kaada
Diverse and prolific Norwegian composer and multi-instrumentalist Kaada (aka John Erik Kaada, pronounced CODA) has a career spans a string of critically acclaimed solo albums, major motion picture scores, high-profile collaborations with key players such as Mike Patton (Fantômas, Faith No More, Mr. Bungle), as well as numerous live appearances at home and abroad.
Kaada's new album Closing Statements is set for a May 25th release on Mirakel Recordings, and it's a visceral fifty minutes of new music composed and recorded over twelve-month period, and centered around the subject of death. The spiraling arrangements feature Kaada's deft layering of piano, keyboards, cinematic guitars, electronics, although the distinction between the organic and electronic are intentionally blurred. "Sometimes I’ve tried to make the acoustic sound electrified and effectuated, and sometimes I’ve tried to make the electrified sound organic. Listening will hopefully be like an ever folding reveal," Kaada says.
As a result, the orchestral scope created a backdrop that was... fun? This might seem a bit contradictory, since after all, the theme of the album circles around obituaries and last words before death. But it's true, and presents a thematic juxtaposition that plays out throughout the album. The new tracks "Farewell" -- where orchestration gives way for a circular synth backbone -- and "Unknown Destination" are both streaming via Soundcloud, offering two glimpses into the new works. Pre-order the album here.
"There is a mysterious aim over the final words of the dying. What does these last words reveal about life, death and consciousness? These words give a glimpse into the individual’s overall feelings and experiences," Kaada explains. "The underlying message of the album is that we have to listen to each other. In a modern world where people mostly don’t have the time or interests to get to know one another, we need to be reminded that we need to listen. At least... when somebody is about to say their last words."
Kaada's confidence in theme and style on Closing Statements comes after years of style evolution and collaboration. 2001's Thank You For Giving Me Your Valuable Time (Ipecac) melded desperate styles, while 2006's Music for Moviebikers was an evocative work featuring a 22-piece ensemble. 2004's Romances was a collaboration with Mike Patton where homage was paid to Kaada's music upbringing of musical upbringing spanning Liszt, Brahms, Mahler, Debussy, Ravel and Bartok. 2007's Kaada/Patton Live DVD documented a collaboration with a 7-piece ensemble from the 2005 Roskilde Festival, whereas 2016 saw the release of the latest Kaada/Patton collaboration Bacteria Cult.
More recently, not unlike peer Hauschka and Dustin O'Halloran, Kaada dived deeper into orchestration and sonorous experimentation and went on to compose scores for a variety of feature length films and several international productions, earning him numerous awards for his distinct compositional style. He scored the 2014 French blockbuster La Liste de Mes Envies, 2015's Sunshine Superman (US), and 2017's Angels Are Made of Light (Canada).
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LIke tman1015, I am a little scared of this album. It is a deeply shocking and accurate musical portrayal of senile dementia -inasmuch as I've (sadly) observed members of friends and family become gradually subsumed by it.
Yet it is captivating, there are many moments of beauty along the way. I cannot stop going back for another listen.
I wonder if anyone (apart from the artist) has managed to listen all the way through in one sitting. I am not even close to managing yet. Simon Woolf