Music for Moviebikers

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Norway's John Erik Kaada is an "atmosphericist," a guy who sees movies in his head and the music that should accompany them. On 2001's Thank You for Giving Me Your Valuable Time, he built cinematic pop songs around surprisingly organic sounding samples and loops, a style he's taken to an even more natural place on the dreamy Music for Moviebikers. Recorded in just three weeks without any programming or studio trickery, with an ensemble that included 22 musicians on a myriad traditional and homemade instruments, Moviebikers, described by the artist as "13 connected calm songs that I like," falls somewhere between Amelie composer Yann Tiersan ("Smiger"), Tom Waits ("Retirement Community"), and Ennio Morricone ("Mosquito and the Abandoned Old Woman") with a heavy undercurrent of Angelo Badalamenti melodrama. Kaada draws out his silent film slowly, introducing the occasional wordless vocal, glass harmonica, and dulcimer with a mix of trepidation and precision, breaking into full-blown pop on the rousing "Mainstreaming." This is not the Raymond Scott Orchestra providing the kinetic energy required by Looney Tunes icons Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd to bash each other's brains in; rather, it's the rainy twilight streets of the Tin Hat Trio or even German dirge collective Bohren painting the night with equal parts hope and terror.

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