Bergen has been furnishing the international pop scene with inventive, clever and invigorating music for years. And for a minor Scandinavian city, a townlet were it in America, (and village in China) the degree in which this has happened is so disproportionate that considering the truth of the eventual rebound –that cooling that is bound to follow all overheating and hype- the people of Bergen should perhaps start to worry.
But presently momentum is still gathering. For, with some years of experience, it seems the Bergen-formula is adding to the originality and cleverness of the music also some commercial weight and know-how. Integrity, an air of confidence as well as conscious image-grooming, is bringing consecutive artists into the realm of the international mainstream markets.
Lorraine is a case in point: founded on talent, furthered by an environment of audaciousness and international credibility, and now coming to their own by donning an appearance of frail-sterile eighties glitz, the band is at the forefront of Columbia UK’s (Sony-BMG) autumn profile. For the impending Digital Music Awards the young Norwegians have been nominated in the category “Best electronic artist.”
The appearance on Columbia records is a result of this year’s alliance between Norwegian label and hit factory Waterfall and Sony-BMG UK. The latter company has committed itself to releasing select Waterfall artists in the British market, a deal which of course says a lot about the status of Waterfall, and, with Lorraine, also of the true coming of age of Bergen as a name that warrants expectations of great music.
In Lorraine’s case the notion of “great” music also has a meaning different from the quality-description. Because the notion of size is predominant in their music; they are, in their own words, conveyors of big songs, with big sound; the vehicle of big atmosphere. And in their view the combination of the “oversized,” with the delicate and stunningly beautiful, which are other traits of their music, creates a “Dark positivity”. This state supposedly refers to the “truthfulness that belongs to the dreamworld”, a sub-stratum that becomes “darkly positive” when molten and poured into music.
This description is perhaps also the essence of the aforementioned eighties-image, as there is something distinctly dark about the garments in which that decade wrapped itself. Bands like Depeche Mode and Duran Duran have Blade-Runner like qualities to them; a distinct mechanical gloom. At the same time there is of course also that essence of frail beauty, and utter ethereal holiness manifest in bands such as A-ha. Far fetched as these descriptions might seem, Lorraine have definite affinity with both camps, which perhaps better explains the “dark positivity” of their “big electro-rock.”
Why they should associate such an artistic orientation with that pleasant and “rustique” piece of earth that is France’s Lorraine district, is another question. Maybe it is to create an auxiliary counter-expectation, or maybe they just like quiche.
However that may be, Bergen’s Lorraine seem set to glide large and looming onto the international scene of electro-exquisite pop music. Their latest recording Heaven will be released in only a couple of weeks, and judging by the signals Lorraine are living up to expectations.sd
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CD Releases, Outside Norway