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Blossom Bells


Blossom Bells is the long awaited follow-up to drummer and percussionist Erland Dahlen's critically acclaimed 2012 debut solo album, Rolling Bomber (HUBRO 2512CD/3512LP). Dahlen's second album has a playful, richly visual mood, but is also quite dark and menacing in places. Elements of krautrock, drone music, ambient music, and contemporary music are woven together here with dark, rock-inspired energy. The album is named after the legendary instrument-maker Pete Engelhart's unusual chromatic set of bells, the Blossom Bell, which Dahlen plays in several places on the album. He also plays a variety of percussion instruments, saw, electronic instruments, and some specially constructed instruments, such as cake molds with springs built by Hallvard W. Hagen, a custom-made percussion bass made by Harald Hougaard, and a wind-up wood instrument with elastic band constructed by Kenny Wollesen. The collection of instruments used on the album is extensive, imaginative, and unique. Dahlen is passionately interested in new sounds, and spends a great deal of time traipsing through offbeat second-hand shops while touring all over the world; he also uses eBay to acquire percussion instruments from the 1920s, '30s, and '40s. His compositions are often inspired by improvisations based on the exploration of fascinating sounds. Here, Dahlen plays all the instruments himself, as on Rolling Bomber, but has produced the album with Johnny Skalleberg as well as Hagen and Jens Petter Nilsen from the electronica duo Xploding Plastix, a group with which Dahlen has worked since the early 2000s. Dahlen has played on over 160 records since the mid-1990s, and has toured with an impressive list of top-ranking artists in more than 30 countries, including Madrugada, Xploding Plastix, John Paul Jones, Pantha du Prince & The Bell Laboratory, Årabrot, Kaada/Mike Patton, Eivind Aarset (on Sonic Codex), Serena-Maneesh, Anja Garbarek, Arve Henriksen, Hanne Hukkelberg, Ane Brun, and many others. For the past few years Dahlen has been a regular member of Nils Petter Molvær's band, and he plays in the trio Stian Westerhus & Pale Horses. His talents are also frequently put to use for film music. Blossom Bells was recorded at Oslo Klang with technician Johnny Skalleberg and at Coffee Fabric with technicians Jens Petter Nilsen and Hallvard W. Hagen. It was mastered by Helge Sten at Audio Virus Lab.