When people are about to say their final words we put everything aside and listen. Norwegian composer KAADA has translated this moment into music.
“The title of each song on Closing Statements is either a quote or fragment from things that people, both famous and infamous, uttered when they were about to die. A somber theme to be sure, but KAADA gives it a life-affirming twist. Rather than wallow in pathos, his organic arrangements unfold and rotate origami-like to reveal angst, irony, and even humor in the face of life’s absurdities. Given the subject matter, it is a delicate balance to maintain, but he walks the tightrope with aplomb.” Stationary Travels
Fifty minutes of new music composed and recorded over twelve month period.It’s been one of the most enjoyable records to make in my life, if not the most fun ever. Or at least the happiest I’ve ever been making a record. This might seem a bit contradictory, since the theme of the album circles around obituaries and last words before death. The titles are quotes and fragments from different farewell utterances. Things that people (apparently) said when they were about to die. There is a mysterious aim over the final words of the dying. What does these last words reveal about life, death and consciousness? These words give a glimpse into the individual’s overall feelings and experiences.
The song titles on John Erik Kaada’s latest album «Closing Statements», out May 25th, are inspired by historical peoples’ last words. Or, presumed last words – the Norwegian composer and musician suspects that most so-called famous last words are polished slightly to ensure a more memorable exit. «What’s remembered as someone’s final words aren’t necessarily the very last ones. They might have been uttered on the deathbed, but they’ve probably been followed by other, less memorable phrases,» says Kaada.
Whether «It Must Have Been the Coffee», «Farewell» or any of the other titles on Kaada’s sixth solo outing are true or not, isn’t of great importance to the artist. He is more concerned about the awareness that these words represent. Contrasting our modern everyday life littered with background noise and digital distractions, we tend to pause when people enter their last living moments. We listen, and ascribe what we hear value – whatever’s being said. «I don’t think I’ll have more important things to say when I’m on my deathbed than I have generally in life. This applies to most people, I guess. Final words aren’t any wiser or cleverer than anything you’d normally say. But it’s the fact that you’re not going to say anything else ever again that makes this moment so special. You have the audience’s full attention.»
Kaada hopes that «Closing Statements» will attract audiences’ attention too. But the album’s 11 spiralling tracks, layering keys, guitars, electronics and wordless vocals, are by no means his swansong – the Oslo-based artist, known for his genre bending and prolific career, still has lots to say in music. In the six years since his last solo stint, «Kaada & The Late Bloomers in Concert», he has released albums with long-time collaborator and Faith No More vocalist Mike Patton («Bacteria Cult», 2016) and Cloroform («Grrr», 2016), the band who kick-started his music career 20 years ago. Kaada has also achieved great success as a film and TV composer.
«Closing Statements» is about this noise, says Kaada – about who we are as fellow human beings in a world that’s becoming increasingly narcissistic and self-absorbed. The album’s 50 minutes of music, released on Mirakel Recordings, is his attempt to create a breathing space, to trigger awareness. With peoples’ last words as a conceptual peg, Kaada hopes that the listener will reflect on what really means something in life. «I miss the days where you could focus on one thing. Now that I’m releasing a new album I must admit that I’ve been worried about whether people will take the time out to listen to what I have to say. Herein lies the parallel to peoples’ last words – that moment when everything means something.»