Album: eberg

Plastic Lions, ROTATOR
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The Independent Culture

Further confirmation of the rude health of questing Icelandic music comes in the form of this debut album from laptop troubadour Einar Tonsberg, aka eberg. Blending whimsical songs with electronics, digital effects and melodies played on his own invention, the E-harp ("an adapted coat-hanger with guitar strings, hooked up to a laptop"), Tonsberg's not so much Iceland's Badly Drawn Boy as its Slightly Smudged Son, his music marked by a wavery, oozing quality that proves surprisingly engaging. On "Smoker in a Film", the dominant element is a rhythmic electronic flutter that resolves periodically into a subtle but winning hook; for "Small Hours", quizzical organ figures combine with smears of cello; and the use of reversed beats in the drum programme of "Skuffukaka" smudges the rhythm's normal push and pull movement. With vibrato, shuddering gated samples and pitch-shifted vocals throughout the album, the overall effect is akin to shifting sand-dunes: just when you think you've got a foothold on a track, it slips away in a manner analogous to the creeping nostalgia described in "DreamChild": "The time is now in error mode/ We sit and watch the sands erode". Unusual music for an uncertain world.

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