Closing Statements – Smells like infinite sadness

Kaada ‘Closing Statements’ Review
by SLIS on MAY 31, 2018 in ALBUM, MUSIC, REVIEW

Kaada ‘Closing Statements’ Review: Norwegian instrumentalist offers a moving meditation on death.

Norwegian composer and multi-
instrumentalist John Erik Kaada has had a diverse and multi-faceted career. While he’s perhaps best known for his work with vocal virtuoso Mike Patton, he’s also had a varied solo career as well composing film scores.

And his cinematic take on sound infuses Closing Statements (out May 25th on Mirakel Recordings), his latest solo album, which is a concept album based on mortality.

“The titles are quotes and fragments from different farewell utterances… things that people said when they were about to die,” he noted in a press release, and this sense of loss, melancholy and pathos is pronounced over the album’s 11 tracks, beginning with It Must Have Been The Coffee, a languid piano and string-led affair.

The album is deft at showcasing Kaada’s ability to seamlessly blend electronic and orchestral elements, leaving one to try to fit the various sonic puzzle pieces together in their head. This was intentional, given he recently stated that “I’ve tried to make the acoustic sound electrified and effectuated, and sometimes I’ve tried to make the electrified sound organic. Listening will hopefully be like an ever folding reveal.”

This offers multiple sonic delights, from the lovely and deeply affecting Farewell, which layers piano, strings, synths and other textures to grand effect, at times recalling the ambient instrumental work of Moby.

Tracks like Unknown Destination and On The Contrary offer more stylistic shifts, at time approximating the sounds of music boxes and incorporating neoclassical elements, whileClearing Out has a harried, discordant jazz delivery that offers even more compositional complexity.

Useless, Useless is perhaps the standout of the bunch, due to its unusual and hypnotic mix of styles and tonalities, with a backing melody that sounds like a hybrid of vocal hums and musical saw, conjuring images from Spaghetti Westerns.

Closing Statements manages to be moving without being maudlin. It offers meditations on death that are tranquil and effecting, an auditory look into loss, life and enjoying all we have before it fades away and we must say goodbye.