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Funin - 2011 - "Unsound"

(49:47, Karisma Records)


1.  Unsound 6:56
2.  Everything 5:31
3.  Wonderland 4:01
4.  Tornado 4:06
5.  Last Day 4:11
6.  Inch of Me 6:29
7.  Indestructible 3:34
8.  Rocking Chair 2:46
9.  Machine 7:02
10. Skywalkers 5:12


Marit Elisabeth Svendsboe – vocals, flute
Gaute Stedje - vocals, guitars
Aleksander Tveit - guitars
Oyvind Vie Berg – pianos 
Sissel ?rstavik – violin 
Edvard Mjanger – bass 
Audun Berg Selfjord – cello 
Hans Christian Dalgaard – drums 

Prolusion. The Norwegian band FUNIN was formed around 2005, initially as a duo exploring electronic music only. As the years went on, the band developed into a 7 member strong ensemble, and in 2010 their debut album "Unsound" was released by the Norwegian label Karisma Records. Just about one year later this production was re-launched by the same label.

Analysis. The history of Funin may or may not have come to an end already. Two of the principal members had left the outfit prior to the re-launch of their debut album, and as one of them had a central role in the band’s sound this marks a drastic change for whatever future this outfit might get. But if this disc is to be their sole legacy, it is one that will intrigue listeners for a good number of years, I suspect. In terms of style this is a creation that is markedly hard to place: eclectic and innovative, but perhaps more experimental and indie than progressive per se; challenging and adventurous on a number of different levels, but also accessible and not without a mainstream orientation either. And with one dominant feature throughout that might stop people from listening more intently, namely the vocals of lead singer Svendsboe, a vocalist sharing a rather similar timbre, approach and delivery with Iceland born artist Bjork. Similar to the point of being downright eerie, if Bjork would ever be in need of a short term replacement she better give this woman a call. And the distinctly electronic laced foundations that are the second central element throughout this disc only emphasize the similarities with the aforementioned household pop music name, up to and including massive rhythms and quirky, experimental developments. But it is at this point that Funin separate itself and heads out towards pastures of a more original and less explored kind. Inserts of dampened, lazy jazz later on combining with the electronic backbone, fluctuating space and psychedelic inspired textures, aggressive cello motifs and subtle chamber rock tendencies in general are additional flavors effectively utilized too, sometimes in a dampened and subtle manner and elsewhere applied for a greater dramatic effect. The songs shift back and forth between the various approaches, ebb and flow quite nicely in intensity and frequently take a sharp left turn into territories unknown or, at least, not heavily explored by others. A refreshing production, made with a high degree of skill and a total disregard for most stylistic borderlines.

Conclusion. Norwegian ensemble Funin is, or perhaps was, a band that stayed well outside of most common stylistic approaches: not progressive rock in a common understanding of the word, if anything more closely related to progressive electronic music, liberally flavored with touches of jazz, subtle chamber rock details and fragments and nuances from a wide variety of styles, but in an accessible package. A production that should suit many with an eclectic taste in music, as long as lead vocals in the manner of Bjork are regarded as a positive feature.

OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: March 7, 2012
The Rating Room

Related Links:

Karisma Records


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