The Norwegian singer, songwriter, and record producer, Susanne Sundfor, released a single today from her upcoming album, Music For People In Trouble. The song, “Mountaineers,” features a contemporary of Sundfor’s, John Grant. After splitting from his original Denver group, The Czars in 2010, Grant went solo and released three albums. While The Czars focused mainly on alternative rock, Grant has since dipped into areas of folk, electronic rock, and even synthpop. Grant has won many awards as a solo artist, including Rough Trade Records’ 2013 Album of the Year Award, and the Q Award for Best Solo Artist.
Sundfor swims in many of the same genres as Grant, and can be found labeled under the synthpop, electropop, and baroque art pop sections in record stores. Her music is folky yet unmistakably electronic. In her new song, “Mountaineers,” Sundfor proves that ancient sounds can be electrified without losing their essence. There is something so old in Sundfor’s ominous tones, the way her and Grant deliver each lyric. There isn’t anything overtly electronic about the piece, it sounds like it was recorded in a cathedral, but there is something modern about it. Perhaps the modern feel can be found in the recording quality, which is high, or the fleeting makeup of the background music, which sounds like it could have been designed in a program.
The song begins in silence. Grant provides the hymnal overture with his bronze voice. The sound of low and high string notes echoes behind him as his voice dips low and sustains a long note. By this point he sounds more like a didgeridoo than a man. As the background din washes out from under Grant’s voice, Sundfor glides in, later to be joined by a string melody worthy of scoring a scene depicting Heaven. Sundfor’s voice trails out as others join her in the background and song fades to a close.
The album, set for sale on August 25th via Bella Union, is Sundfor’s sixth studio album. Her self-titled debut album reached top three in the Norwegian album charts, and had two hit singles, “I Resign,” and “Morocco.” All of her albums since, one live and one studio, have been met with acclaim, both in Norway and in the rest of the world.