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André Bratten: Strong, patient, graceful techno

February 26, 2016


André Bratten’s latest album, Gode, is just as striking and vivid as the landscape of his native Norway. Thespian and emotive, the album captivates its audience through stunning piano, string sections, and unconventional techno that will melt the walls in your bedroom.  It’s strong, patient and graceful, exemplifying those three values that root the album.

Between November and late January, Norway’s sun never rises above the northern horizon and daylight across the nation is sparse. “Intro/Cave” resembles this climate, sounding like a dream engulfed by synthesized beats, heavy-eyed vocals, and distorted piano.

“Bivouac” is another cinematic cut, beginning like the opening scene to an intense Mel Gibson or Colombian surrealism flick. Think Apocalypto mixed with The Revenant; it’s all about the landscapes. But what starts as an atmospheric track morphs into one of the groovier pieces on the album; it gets quite loungey, with a sharp, minimal techno beat and jazzy piano.

The story continues on “Ins.,” a sad, beautiful string arrangement that sounds like the pivotal moment in a classical, romantic movie. The volume dips in and out like your consciousness is wavering. It’s so trippy that it’s worth mentioning, even if the song is barely over a minute long. “Math Illium Ion” picks up where “Ins.” leaves off; it has patient piano and a dignified, elegant polish.

Still, Gode is largely dismal and smoky. Tracks such as “Quiet Earth” and “Cascade of Events (feat. Susanne Sundfør)” are sultry and steamy via rumbling, billowing techno beats. “Space Between Left & Right” sounds just like that: two polar forces pulling away from each other, only to be snapped back — that is, until a series of what sounds like gun shots at 2:50 settle things and a bit of calm takes over. “Zero” is the most atmospheric, with bits of home recordings and a duration of over seven minutes. But the standout is “Primordial Pit,” an emotional, building, percussion-heavy force, pushing forward only when it needs to and never losing itself throughout.

Gode expresses emotions through experimental and earthy electronic soundscapes. Gode says everything Bratten wishes to say, having enough trust in his music that no more than a handful of syllables are needed.–Rachel Haney

Stephen Carradini and Lisa Whealy write reviews of instrumental, folk, and singer/songwriter music. We write about those trying to make the next step in their careers and established artists.

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