19 Jan 2015
Acorn Falling "2nd Plateau of Normalcy"
Reviewed by Grey Malkin (The Hare & The Moon)
Acorn Falling, effectively the solo project of Copenhagen based musician Lars Kivig, has been steadily becoming a prominent name in experimental, electro acoustic and underground circles. Their debut album "Cabinet of Curiosities" was a hugely impressive first outing which saw Kivig’s muse at full strength, working alongside cellist John Contreras of Current 93 and percussionist Thomas Wydler of The Bad Seeds.
On Acorn Falling's second release "2nd Plateau Of Normalcy" Wydler and Contreras return, joined with, amongst others, Joseph Budenholzer of Backworld and Peter Principle of Tuxedomoon. Ambitious, intense, evocative, all these superlatives describe this album but after reading, don't just take my word for it. You need to hear this.
The album begins with "Whistle at Tragedy Bay", its sombre piano and keening vocal a prelude to something ominous and dread filled. The scratch and hum of a viola enters before the track takes off dramatically, Thomas Wylder's drums a veritable maelstrom amongst the wailing strings and Laura Noszczyk's emotive vocal lines. It's a heart shuddering moment, one of many on this album. Next, "Cliffhanger's Hymn" opens with bursts of viola before settling into cascades of piano and John Contreras cello, Kivig’s vocals emotive and bare; this music is stately, precise and hugely thrilling. Reminiscent in parts of Joseph Budenholzer's Backworld, Nick Cave’s "No More Shall We Part" and the finest of Black Heart Procession, Acorn Falling paint a widescreen picture, filled with nuances and deeply evocative detail. "The Constrictor"s electronic beeps and hums lead solemnly into a heady swamp of orchestral flourishes, unsettling percussion and a reptilian narrative. The sense of dread is palpable; this music is alive with crackling energy and genuine menace. "Bitter Ashes" steady beat is enveloped by hum and whirr with echoed harmonies swirling around Kivig's delivery, the sound of glass stretched and reverberated before the most lonesome guitar you will ever hear enters. In a just world this track would be soundtracking the forthcoming series of Twin Peaks, the song’s dark atmospheres and haunted air a perfect fit for David Lynch's visions. "As Heaven Went To Hell" has scraped strings which build the tension up to breaking point before a "Soundtracks For The Blind" era Swans style funereal beat leads into delicately picked, echoed guitar, viola and windswept vocal harmonies. The drums return and the music literally howls, a majestic cacophony of control and chaos. "MS Humanity" begins with a rumble before heartbreaking piano and cello echo out into the void, warmth amongst the frozen wastes. The crash of bass notes adds a sinister motif, however the sense of hope is not lost. It's a heartrending moment of great beauty. "Lost Horizons" motorik electronics and guitar frames Kivig's strong vocals, the song building and layering to an eastern flecked crescendo of whirling viola and spine tingling power. Next, electronic percussion, synth and strings combine to begin the eerie, album standout "The Navigator Who Doubted", a shadowy epic featuring Joseph Budenholzer on vocals that recalls early John Foxx. It's a work of startling grace and depth; indeed it is frustrating that music this good is being made in virtually the underground when it should have a mass audience, hopefully this will be the case in due course. "The Shot" is a tense, piano led lament, spectral guitar echoing around the song like wisps of smoke. This is late night music, for the wee small hours when it is darkest before the dawn. Finally "Eno's Song for Mum" is an early musical venture for Lars's son who can be heard over some gorgeous waterfalling piano lines and heartrending cello. An emotional and beautiful end to an evocative and moving album.
With this release Acorn Falling have staked their claim as one of underground music's finest; the sheer scope and ambition of this album is mindblowing. Acorn Falling go way beyond any plateau and far past any average normalcy. Hear this album; trust me.
Available for download on the 21st January and on physical formats thereafter. Three songs are ready to stream at