Don't Remember - Can't Forget (LP+CD)
Transparent vinyl (LTD 500 copies).
When his band The South started to fall apart at the seams in 2015, Alexander Pettersen found himself drifting around in some kind of musical limbo. Not that he was idle, or anything. He probably had just as much on his plate as ever, but now more so on stage or recording with other artist rather than working on his own stuff. His by now much-talked-about break-up from girlfriend and artist colleague Ida Jenshus probably also saw to it that it felt more comfortable to soundtrack other people's thoughts than his own.
Luckily, Pettersen's desire to create new music re-emerged, and his solo debut, "The Letter", was by many considered one of last year's musical highlights in Norway. His hometown paper, Adresseavisen, placed "The Letter" next to other famous so-called divorce albums, made by the likes of Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and Marvin Gaye.
"There are not many Norwegian albums in this category and on this level, but we have one now." - Ole Jacob Hoel.
The national paper, Dagbladet, described the album as one of the darkest and saddest albums released in Norway in years. Out of context this may not sound like much of a compliment, but it was very much so.
If it took time to get the creative engines running again, it sure looks as if things are back on track by now. It has taken Alexander Pettersen less than a year to write and record his follow-up to "The Letter". And if the artist himself in any way can be trusted, the album has actually been good to go for quite a while already, and there is more on the way.
"Don't remember - Can't Forget" has turned out a grandiose album. Intricate instrumental arrangements and melodic antics are wrapped up in a sonic universe that on first listen might refuse to fully reveal itself. But if you listen with both ears turned on, you will soon be rewarded. All the musical details will come to life, and the album turns into this beautiful place you can drift off to.
Thematically, it is still possible to recognize some of the darkness that characterized "The Letter". However, the contrasts are greater this time. More hope and light are let through, both in the lyrics and the music. Listen to the featherlight, almost soaring "Emilia", or the monumental, close to 10 minutes long finale, "Can't Forget". After cascading waves of feedback and white noise the latter leaves Pettersen's voices naked singing the words: "I feel it, I feel I'm letting go".
So, to use a somewhat flippant Netflix metaphor, one could say that "Don't remember - Can't Forget" is Alexander Pettersen Season 2. If so, the conclusion is: "Yeah, life surely goes on, and the soundtrack is impeccable".
- Helens Song (05:01)
- Hopeless (06:02)
- The Mountain (06:06)
- Miss You Now Youre Gone (03:24)
- Emilia (06:59)
- Dont Remember (04:55)
- No Cigar (03:31)
- Cant Forget (09:43)
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