Susanna: Sonata Mix Dwarf Cosmos

[14 January 2008]

By Mark W. Adams

Before you listen to these 12 songs, you might want to consider your context. One sunny afternoon, the album’s lack of tangible tempo and overwhelming spaciousness nearly ground my day to a halt. But on a cloudy Sunday morning, these skeletal and sonorous sketches enveloped me warmly. In Sonata Mix Dwarf Cosmos, Norway native Susanna Karolina Wallumrød has crafted a solo effort comprised of her own compositions instead the cover tunes favored on the most recent release with her band, Susanna and her Magical Orchestra. Certainly, this record’s most lasting impression is of Susanna’s haunting voice, which is subtly accompanied by nine musicians on theremin, slide guitars, mellotron, and memorymoog. The harp-led “Hangout” echoes Joanna Newsom’s instrumental palate, while “Demon Dance” affirms the quiet strength of Susanna’s voice. The piano-and-bass-led “People Living” eschews a strong melody in favor of the vocalist’s enunciation of a few phrases. Interestingly, Susanna achieves the most striking impact in “Home Recording”, which features only her voice and her guitar. The landscape created by these 48 minutes is not a wholly distinctive or sonically-varied vista, but it is one of serene and delicate beauty.

Published at: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/susanna-sonata-mix-dwarf-cosmos/