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Kate Havnevik - Melankton Review

by Erika Szabo

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Kate Havnevik, the Norwegian singer/songwriter from Oslo, debuts with a charmingly euphoric album called Melankton. Generating introverted, internal and intense meditations on emotion, Havnevik and fellow producer Guy Sigsworth (Imogen Heap, Bjork, Madonna) further hone her already tranquil sound. By successfully constructing a balanced mixture of orchestra and tiny rhythms, Melankton strengthens its emotional bonds with sound. Most of Melanktons' emotion comes from the beats and melodies rather than from the lyrics, and Havnevik's luscious voice provides a bridge to its expressive core. These instrumentals and micro beats provide a strong base for her crooning voice as she scales all the highest personal mountains. Both strange and alluring, Melankton conjures up all the emotions we ourselves may feel, allowing us to commiserate with Havnevik. My question is: Could what be stirring her heart consequently have effects on our own? Or is this simply the heady feeling music conjures?

Upon listening to the first track, I thought I knew what I was getting myself into. "Unlike Me", an airy interpretation of a past love, is full of twinkling harps and demanding strings. The continuous rhythm, both soothing and riveting, leads the listener to believe that Melankton will remain a simple, common album. However, if you listen carefully, you'll find more than you bargained for. Micro beats, reminiscent of Bjorks' Vespertine, shine beautifully throughout songs like "I Don't Know You", "New Day", "Nowhere Warm", "Sleepless" and the very faintest in "Travel in Time". Meanwhile, one of the most experimental and entertaining songs on this album would have to be the ravishing "Suckerlove". With what begins as a quiet, moody beat turns into a trip-hop infested instrumental odyssey. Another song worth mentioning is the melancholy "Kaleidoscope". With strikingly sincere strings and musical beats accentuating Havneviks' otherworldly croon, not much else could be expected from such an emotionally captivating song. Though Melankton is vividly promising, the onerous "Timeless", blundering "Serpentine" and isolated "So: Lo" lack the creativity and emotion of Havnevik's other songs. "Timeless", a contrived single full of detached trance infused beats, left me expecting more from Havnevik. "Serpentine", though welcoming, falters to conjure emotions. As a bonus track "So: Lo" felt so alien from the rest of the album that it's no wonder it was made into a extra cut. Fortunately, these minor faults can be disregarded. Melankton's entrancing beats and engaging instrumentals sets this album apart from the rest.

It should be duly noted that Melankton isn't for everyone. Anyone looking for a lyrically direct album is looking in the wrong place. This album only treads so far into lyrical emotional depths, and what's left are the uncertainties of these emotions. But anyone curious enough to venture into unknown territories and explore various emotions through sound will enjoy Melankton. The right listeners won't mind looking for all the whimsy in this melodious album.

Track listing
1. Unlike Me
2. Travel In Time
3. I Don't Know You
4. You Again
5. Not Fair
6. Nowhere Warm
7. Serpentine
8. Kaleidoscope
9. Sleepless
10. Suckerlove
11. Timeless
12. New Day
13 So : Lo (Bonus Track)


CD Info and Links

Kate Havnevik - Melankton
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