Album Review: Stina Stjern – Kap Herschell

Norwegian artist, Stina Stjern, has just released a gorgeous album entitled ‘Kap Herschell’ that is an enigmatic, haunting masterpiece that seems to capture the Arctic chill of the north while offering a warm enveloping refuge.

The album was mixed using unusual recording techniques where the tracks were taken apart, played through old cassette tapes and synthesizers and then re-recorded again. The result is an intriguing collection of what is at first listen is apparently low -fi but is rather more complex and colourful: verging on a dreamy pop soft shoegaze shuffle throughout yet maintaining a sound and feel that is quite unique.

Stjern’s voice is luscious, emotive, paradoxically both cold and distant yet warm and comforting.

‘April 2013’ has an instrumentation that recalls for me Bowie in his Berlin period while Stjern’s lyrics are both romantic and yearning – the song is mesmerising and hypnotic. Pulsating electronica is replaced at times by contemplative acoustic driven songs like the altogether too brief ‘The Hider/The Watcher’.

Single ‘Nassuac’ showcases the melancholic, languorous style: Stjern’s vocals displaying an extraordinary range over a percussive spine.

‘Taste of Spring’ and ‘Sinking’ indicate a strong pop sensibility to Stjern’s songwriting as well as the often witty lyricism.

You can listen to and download the album at all the usual sources including here:

According to Stjern, in this album she explores the loneliness of the big city and the loneliness of a small cabin on the north-eastern side of Greenland. When Stina’s grandfather was in his early twenties he traveled to Greenland to work as a hunter. When Stjern was in her early twenties she traveled to New York to write and play music. Along with her producer Kyrre Laastad, she explores the gap between these two choices and their effect on one’s life and one’s identity.

This is an extraordinary innovative album that seduces and does so to the point of addiction. It is an antidote to the mundane and shallow: an intelligent and evocative album, difficult to categorise but a joy to listen to.

Feature photo: Jacob Hoffmann

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