What does Svaneborg Kardyb sound like?
Warm, nostalgic syrupy electric piano and rustic percussion goodness.
The review of Svaneborg Kardyb – Over Tage
Sometimes you have to be careful with the word ‘minimalist’. Often that is a substitute for ‘oh there’s not much going on here’ or ‘this is empty space or drone music’. Neither of those terms can describe Svaneborg Kardyb’s version of minimalism. Svaneborg Kardyb are a Danish duo who play solely electric piano/synth and percussion. The album is almost entirely made up of these two instruments and yet as a listener, I never noticed. Instead, they focus on two performers enjoying playing together and working off of each other to create dynamic songs that focus on melody, structure and interplay. ‘Over Tage’ is my sleeper hit for 2022.
Opening track ‘Op’ sells everything about Svaneborg Kardyb easily off the mark. Rolling melodies drip through the keys as the electric piano echoes off and merges into the rumbles of the drums. Equally the drums dynamically rise and fall into lead and follower for the melody as the two are running hand in hand together and getting excited about what is around them. This idea of interplay is what keeps the album fresh and interesting. ‘Orbit’ uses metal cans and plonks to create a rustic drum loop for the key to waltz around to. ‘Island’ uses a deep bass rumble of drums to feel earthy resonant deep in your bowels. To add to the effect, the electric keys sound closer to a Wurlitzer organ as their soft higher notes echo out like gentle stars exploding in the distant sky.
One thing that’s so difficult to convey in writing is just how tight the performances are. On tracks like ‘Farvel’ and ‘Orkaner’ Svaneborg Kardyb display their amazing craft so subtly. The keys are fast and frantic like precision synths but the humanity of the performer is still intact. Other pieces like ‘Fragt’ and ‘Blik’ take on a jazzier overtone and are perfect for dusk or early morning muses. They leave space and breath for their rustic beauty to shine. The occasional brass moment appears across the album and ‘Everything Possible’ is where they come to the fore. This track is a spacious hazy synth drone. As a saxophone roars in the background of a blurry synth, percussion isn’t hit, it’s stroked, brushed and strummed. ‘Ubemaerket’ takes on a Hauschka x Olafur Arnalds approach to a twinkling ballad. A lot of synth work is hidden in the background of the album but they surface for the finale ‘Over Tage’. It’s a beautiful number that transitions between lots of different piano instruments and styles whilst maintaining the same melody. The drums are in their stride and the whole track feels like a deep exhale of satisfaction.
Svaneborg Kardyb are two musicians totally in tune with each other. With ‘Over Tage’ being their third album, I can’t wait to dive into their previous work so I can feel this synergy ooze through the speakers at me through other songs too. It is a rare talent they have and by keeping it simple and direct, each song is memorable and leaves a lasting impact. This is a fantastic album and a future study of how restraint leads to big musical rewards. My sleeper hit for 2022 and my favourite instrumental album of 2022 so far.
Recommended track: Orkaner
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