Rocks & Straws
Anneli Drecker's ethereal voice first became known through the music of her band with Geir Jenssen (aka Biosphere) and Nils Johansen, Bel Canto, in the '80s. The trio signed to the legendary Belgian label Crammed Discs, alongside Zap Mama and Tuxedomoon, and captured the zeitgeist of European electronic music in the late '80s. They have won the Spellemannprisen (Norwegian music award often called the Norwegien Grammy) three times, and are regarded as pioneers in the Norwegian electronic pop music scene. With her characteristic experimental singing style, often compared to other wonderful singers such as Lisa Gerrard and Liz Fraser, Drecker has collaborated with many great artists, including Hector Zazou, Jah Wobble, Gavin Friday, DJ Krush, Tim Simenon, Simon Raymonde (Cocteau Twins), Guy Sigsworth, and Ketil Bjørnstad; she has also recorded three albums based on poems by John Donne and Hart Crane. Drecker joined A-ha on two world tours as their guest singer, and toured the world for more than ten years with Röyksopp, co-writing a number of songs with them. In 2012, Drecker left Röyksopp to return to her own music, and Rocks & Straws is a homecoming album, an ode to her native town and region. The songs are based on lyrics by the North Norwegian cult poet Arvid Hanssen, translated to English by artist and writer Roy-Frode Løvland. Hanssen's poems are strongly influenced by the mysterious and powerful nature of this arctic region, like the writings of Knut Hamsun, born only a few miles from Hanssen's birthplace. Man and nature, and man in nature -- Hanssen captures the interaction of Northern Norwegians with their merciless but beautiful surroundings. Rocks & Straws is very much an acoustic album. In a world of electronic recordings, she has moved in another direction, and made an album based on recording techniques from the '70s. The music is played live, with some of Norway's finest musicians: guitarist Eivind Aarset, drummer Rune Arnesen, bassist Ole Vegard Skauge, and The Arctic Philharmonic, Tromsø's acclaimed orchestra. Drecker sings and plays the piano and organ, and produced the recording with the musicians. At the time of this release, Drecker is a Ph.D. candidate at the Arctic University of Tromsø, where she is researching voice techniques of indigenous people; this is apparent especially in the song "Ocean's Organ," with a Maori group singing kapa haka songs that Drecker recorded while in Auckland, New Zealand.