I last listened to the Norwegian septet The Northern Belle, led by singer-songwriter Stine Andreassen and practitioners of ‘Nordicana’ as it is being called back in February; a song that featured guest appearances by top-ranking Norwegian artists Siv Jakobsen and Louien. Now they have revealed details of a collaborative mini album ‘The Women in Me’ which is scheduled for a 17th September release and this is another single from it, ‘Kaleidoscope Dream’.
The EP should be called The Women in Us, because there are eight of them this time, including Siv Jakobsen again and the collaboration was designed to bring back together a musical community that had been fractured by the pandemic. Other tracks feature collaborations include Signe Marie Rustad, Darling West, Mallin Pettersen, Ida Jenshus and Louien again, along with an appearance by the psyche instrumentalists Orions Belte. There are more musicians tied up in this project than there are Statoil rigs in the North Sea.
This track arose out of “an imaginary trip through space and time” when even leaving the house was a criminal offence. Now there’s an interesting dichotomy arising out of this. Stine Andersen says, ““When I sat down to write ‘Kaleidoscope Dream’, I just felt a sudden urge to flee and run away from all of this madness. On one hand we are travelling less and are actually taking care of our planet (if we want to or not) – I love that and I wonder if we will take more care of each other and this beautiful planet from now on. Then there is a little devil on my shoulder that wants to fly away from all of our problems and do all the things that you can imagine. Move through space and time and don’t care about any of the consequences of our actions. I needed to feel alive.”
That observation is one that I believe will tax many people as some freedoms begin to emerge again. The dichotomy is that the environmental footprint of the digital technology sector, which is never blamed for using huge amounts of power for music and video streaming, data storage, and air conditioning of multi-acre server farms may well be every bit as bad, and possibly worse than that caused by aeroplanes. So go right ahead; be a devil and fly away, both metaphorically and literally!
Strange as it may seem this song reminds me of the 1980s classic ‘Together in Electric Dreams’ by Georgio Moroder and Phil Oakey of The Human League. Not because it sounds anything remotely like it – and it’s guitar rather than synth-led – but partly because it has the word dream in the title (seriously!), partly because it too has a sweeping feel to it, one that plucks you away from reality and into a dream world (which was the intention I guess) but mainly because both songs deal with the inability to realise the impossible dream; in Moroder/Oakey’s case the unrequited love for a pretty cello-playing girl by a computer and in this one by way of a hopeless search for new experiences and loves in an era of universal house arrest for a crime no-one committed.
Give it the listening it deserves. Multiple times. Then neutralise the carbon output by booking a flight to Bali. First Class.
‘Kaleidoscope Dream’ is available now via Die With Your Boots On Records.