CD - KANAAN
(2020, El Paraiso Records)
text: Robin Boer
photo: Jenny Berger Myhre
The trio Kanaan is from Oslo and features Ask Vatn Strøm on electric and acoustic guitars, Ingvald André Vassbø (*) on drums, percussion and organ, and Eskild Myrvoll on bass, synths, electric and acoustic guitars. After the 2018 debut LP 'Windborne', they just released their second effort 'Double Sun' on El Paraiso Records.
The first track 'Worlds Together' starts off with nice guitar chords and a big flavour of the early seventies. We hear a very pleasant blend with organ and smooth drumming. It feels as sort of an intro, because the album really takes off with the twelve-minute 'Mountain.' A thundering beat with both the snare and an open hi-hat on the 1 give a powerful cadance, while deep bass, eclectic guitar, and dreamy synth chords are filling in with tasteful progression. We like the raw, unpolished fuzzy sound of this collective. Almost halfway the piece, the music gets more room to breathe and the musicians are adding subtle shades and colours to the now more relaxing groove. Slowly the tension builds up and we are treated with further explorations of melodies, solos and powerful drumming. What a joy!
On the start of 'Öresund' there is room for free improvisation and soon enough a new groove starts off with, again, a nice mix of different guitar sounds, bringing the music the required timbre. As on 'Mountain' the tension, power and noise increases more and more and themes and riffs come and go, until the climax at the eighth minute. 'Worlds Apart' is a shorter piece, and starts off with a fade-in. The music is fast, energetic, aggressive. It takes courage to do a full blow with a rock band in the studio, but Kanaan appears to take the challenge and delivers. The (fuzz) bass is very prominent in the mix, which really adds to the already brutal character of the music.
The album finishes with the title track, split in two parts. During the first part, layers of oceanic guitars are moving over a laid-back groove. After three and a half minutes, a fat, fuzzy guitar and bass riff comes in and the drumming gets more diverse, with some great breaks. For the second part, we expect a grand finale. A two-note guitar lick opens the section, with some punchy bass underneath it, and percussions fading in. A faster rhythm pops up and the piece gets some time to breathe and slowly develop. Dark and spacey synths are added. We hear some soundscape noises and filters and the bass takes over the theme for a short while, and then returning to its low territory again. Slowly new layers of guitars are appearing, moving the piece forward over a Drop E, to its final, blowing climax in the form of a guitar & bass unison doom riff. Guest musician on this final piece is Bjørn Klakegg, playing lead guitar.
With 'Double Sun', Kanaan's quirky blend of psychedelic rock, postrock with jazz-esque drumming comes out very well, not in the last place because of their courage to seek for tasteful blends in sound architecture on record, as if you are part of a live performance, which we recommend to all enthusiasts of adventurous music.
Keep an eye on this power trio. 'Double Sun' is worth the journey.