Somnambule - Writing About Music

Alog ~ Miniatures

Alog are Espen Sommer Eide and Dag-Are Haugan, and Miniatures is their third album since 1997. These two Norwegians make wonderfully organic electronic music which dissolves barriers if only for the duration of their music (and those barriers are nothing as dull as the boundaries between musical genres). Heartwarming, generous, moving, tender. How often is electronica described thus? Yet Alog’s music teems with sprite voices and the heat of feelings. It seems to vibrate in time with something larger than the listener’s or its own self. In so doing it lifts and expands the heart with much more than just a heartbeat or thrumming of the fingers. Much of Alog’s music is made of meaty pulses and throbs threaded through with a longing that’s sometimes foregrounded, sometimes almost not there at all. Such observations find their corollary in the title of the first track: ‘Severe Punishment And Lasting Bliss’. ‘Steady Jogging Of The Heart’ focuses inward upon a more slender thread. It’s a racing interior monologue laced with pathos and a sense of entropy woven into its warp and weft. There’s something endearingly muddle-along about the whole enterprise as if this music were the sounds of an absent-minded, magical creature’s daily routine. ‘St Paul Sessions II’ – familiar to some from Rune Grammofon’s celebratory compilation ‘Money Will Ruin Everything’ – arrives like a sleigh-bell ride interpretation of Neu’s motorik template or a Steve Reich composition played by the Portsmouth Sinfonia. Leyden Jar is a clockwork radio gone awry, signals sent out in all directions rather than received and rearranged along anything as linear as a waveband. Miniatures ends with the Building Instruments, a ruminative meandering piece which, replete as it is with minor key keening, unfortunately outlasts its welcome at over thirteen minutes.
Colin Buttimer
April 2005
Published by Signal To Noise magazine