March 7, 2007


So many months ago my jour­ney to Soup began at Slash­dot, where I was linked to Lasse Gjert­sen’s “Ama­teur”, and in amaze­ment fol­lowed the trail to his oth­er clips and then to the reply videos, one of which was Erlend Viken’s “soup injec­tion”.

Towards the end of Erlend’s vid the music swings into a “prop­er” part of one of his songs, Ambu­lance for Human. I real­ly liked it, so I went to his one-man-band Soup’s Myspace page, hop­ing for oth­er sam­ples. At the time there were three full songs avail­able via a flash music play­er — Pre­lude, My Jus­tine, and Sag­amore — which were all great. (He’s since added the full ver­sion of Ambu­lance for Human).

Hop­ing that Soup’s oth­er web­site would have down­loads, I fol­lowed the link. I glee­ful­ly down­loaded My Jus­tine and Sag­amore, which played while I down­loaded his pre­vi­ous album record­ed under a dif­fer­ent name, Final Concierge — Give it an Empire (link may change, use one above if so).

Give it an Empire’s There’s a City under­neath the Ice part II & III is one of the most beau­ti­ful pieces of music I’ve ever heard, build­ing from a lone­ly, haunt­ing sonar ambi­ence into a del­i­cate chime melody then a sor­row­ful rage against the lon­li­ness. There’s a sub­tle trick with vibra­to fre­quen­cy though­out the melody (par­tic­u­lar­ly not­i­ca­ble around 4:30 into the song) that always freaks me out, since I have a soft spot for the kind of math-influ­enced melodies fea­tured on the Pi sound­track a few years back.

So just over a week ago I gave into temp­ta­tion and ordered Come on Pio­neer, Erlend’s new CD, via Pay­pal on his Myspace page. He’d replied ear­li­er to my email ask­ing about post­ing costs for Aus­tralia, and I was sur­prised that it’d be the same as the US rate.

Yes­ter­day I col­lect­ed my disc from the mail­box and was all excit­ed, even more so when I dis­cov­ered how nice­ly pack­aged it was. I’d heard about half the songs on the album before but now I had a phys­i­cal CD in my hand, with the knowl­edge that the guy who made the music on it had also put the pack­age togeth­er and sent it to me.

The Squash those mis­er­able ants remake on the album is excel­lent. I’ve always appre­ci­at­ed the tech­nique of cut­ting from a dark, haunt­ing tune (Psy­cho) to a hap­py-sound­ing, melod­ic one (Squash), because it makes me care­ful­ly eval­u­ate the lat­ter and in this case I don’t think it’s a hap­py song. :P

Today while I was rifling through things to do, I was lis­ten­ing to Squash. Dis­tract­ed, I thought I’d look up the lyrics. Unfor­tu­nate­ly I did­n’t find any­thing, but I ran over Uhort.no and to my great joy found anoth­er Soup song named Sound­scape of a burn­ing airofloat, about the Hin­den­burg dis­as­ter and con­tain­ing parts of Her­bert Mor­rison’s radio broad­cast of the event. I’d nev­er read about the Hin­den­burg dis­as­ter before and watch­ing the footage over­layed with that broad­cast is god­damned haunting.

Look­ing for­ward to more music from you Erlend. :)

posted by Andrew

3 thoughts on “Soup

  1. Alex says:

    I was won­der­ing, what do you think of Soup’s album?
    I’ve been con­sid­er­ing order­ing it myself, but I don’t know if it’s worth getting.

    Prob­a­bly best to reply to Firenut15@hotmail.com

    P.S. My name’s Alex, in case you were wondering.

  2. Andrew says:

    I think it’s great over­all, and def­i­nite­ly worth get­ting if you enjoy the sam­ples on Erland’s Myspace page. Plus you’re fund­ing the artist direct­ly, and I real­ly like hav­ing the cov­er sit­ting around and know­ing the artist put it togeth­er himself.

    The only issue I have with the CD, some­thing that I real­ly should have men­tioned above, is the amount of com­pres­sion applied. Some of the pow­er­ful tracks like the new ver­sion of “Squash those mis­er­able ants” feel too loud and the details are drowned out. “Sound­scape of a burn­ing airofloat” and “Whore” are good exam­ples of this. I hope Erlend will post less-com­pressed ver­sions of his music lat­er on.

    Hon­est­ly, apart from “Grande Voy­age” (which feels a lit­tle out of place even as an “out­ro” song) I love the album. I’ve still got the tracks on my MP3 play­er months after purchase.

  3. Fee says:

    I have to agree… I have played these songs over and over and over again. I have the music (with Erland’s per­mis­sion) stream­ing on my land in Sec­ond Life, and I nev­er get tired of it. I have been try­ing to per­suade him to come in and talk to his fans in SL… and I haven’t giv­en up on that yet!

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