Hmmm… hmm… hmm..
The term “bells and whistles” normally is meant to imply frivolous additions that beautify yet add no real substance. In the case of Kaada’s almost entirely instrumental Music for Moviebikers, bells and whistles often literally make up the album’s depth–opener “Smiger” is based almost entirely on a hummed melody with a sporadic appearance of each. It’s this type of cinematic coloring that gives the album its own unique pulse.Spindle evokes memories of Ennio Morricone scores from years past, reverberating both plucked and keyed instrument alike while weaving a mood that implies curiosity. Twenty-two musicians accompany John Erik Kaada, the culmination textured enough to belie a full soundstage recording setup akin to a proper movie score. The wordless choral renderings on “Julie Pastrana” balance a splashy contrapuntal piano melody giving off a slight feeling of sadness.
And although at times poignant, Moviebikers’ overall tone is far springier than Romances, Kaada’s brilliant, shadowy collaboration in 2004 with Mike Patton. The strummed guitar and mallet-thwacked, tuned percussion on “Daily Living” is more evocative of a resurrection than a eulogy. The floating violin foundation of “Retirement Community” is positively picturesque; the musical motif begs for images of a life’s worth of experiences in just over five minutes’ time.
Many listeners might have to pause and consider serious introspection while interfacing with Music for Moviebikers. The album plays like a stunning work of modern art. Almost painful to take in due to its unconventional structure and how impossible it is to pigeonhole, each new confrontation with it brings forth brand new perspective.