Thank You For Giving Me Your Valuable Time – WINTERS MITTENS (Review)


Kaada – Thank You For Your Valuable Time – (2003) – [041503]


Norwegian musical stylist John Erik Kaada created this thankful album two years ago. Fresh on the heels of the critical success – limited to the Norwegian press – of his trio Cloroform, a group that mixed jazz-funk groove with rock and electronic music novelty. From the beginning, Kaada’s solo debut, Thank You for Giving Me Your Valuable Time, amazed all of Scandinavia with its Beck-like masterpieces of sampledelica. Fortunately for us, an unknown party mailed a copy of the album to the folks at Mike Patton’s Ipecac label. Where Beck has been known to use his heavy-handed sample funk as a vehicle for his fake Dadaist rants, Kaada avoids all that and in a sense keeps a purity to his artful plunder. Even without charismatic nonsense, Kaada’s record spins a categorically magical web of desirable nostalgia, and it is easy to see how the Ipecac label fell in love.


Kaada collaborator and member of the Harlem Gospel Choir. “Burden” makes a heartbreaking soundtrack out of what seems to be the entire concept of burden itself. He uses different screaming-falsetto vocal samples and breathy distorted unintelligible vocal lines that act as trumpets, all over a background that switches smoothly from a standard 50’s rock/soul progression to an epic neo-romantic set of gut-wrenching chord changes. “All Wrong” takes the mono-harmonic vamp of electro-jazz, over 12 bar blues (actually taken from his own Cloroform project) and features more falsetto singing, this time from the Bee Brothers’ “Sing.” “Honk” is an inclusive 60’s soul party to which you feel you have been invited (and you have to dance! Motherfucka dance!) with Alan Steed contributing original vocals once again. The only pre-requisite for the party is that you’re “a good person” and like your soul with a funky-fun horn section. “I Need You,” follows the party so you can cool off and pairs military-meets-the-funk drum rolls with a rest-your-weary-feet lover’s blues sample taken from Czechoslovakian avant-jazzist, J√≥zef Skrzek’s BBE.

Kaada’s merit goes beyond mere soul rediscoveries. “Mainframe,” pays 60’s surf-style tribute to the human “mainframe [that] keeps things together.” With samples from Climax’s “My Momma Got the Beat” Kaada layers harmonica Elvis-like “baby’s” and big kahuna beats to provide a background for his mantra “She is My Mainframe,” which he performs with a mixture of rock star soul and Kraftwerk fervor. “Black California” takes its inspiration from an obscure 70’s film of the same name. It takes on 50’s and 60’s onomatopoeia and reinvents them in early 70’s grooviness. “No You Don’t” is a haunting track that sounds like it could have a place on one of Radiohead’s more recent albums. Soul-penetrating falsetto lyrics sing “please don’t ever leave me/ If you do, I’ll go crazy.” The repeated minor key cadence seems to move forward over visual terrain while a tale-telling accordion and bassline drive the vocalist along. “Go Brown” is a nightclubbing, hipster gigue that has instructive sounding samples about Dane, Mr. Oscar Brown, but I have no idea since the vocals seem to be in Danish?


The title track, “Thank You for Giving Me Your Valuable Time,” appropriately ends the record with Allan Steed soulfully expressing gratitude. Then in comes Kaada himself reiterating the word “value” over and over in a stop-start manner that’s truly endearing. You have to love these guys. You get the real feeling, while this track with the beautifully thick 50’s basslines is playing, that you just have to tell them “the pleasure is all mine.”


– Joel Andrew Tyson –