André Bratten - Gode - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

André Bratten - Gode

by Justin Pearson Rating:4 Release Date:2015-11-13

Norwegian producer Andre Bratten has described his sophomore effort Gode as a "personal album" and the one he "always wanted to make" according to a recent quote from Resident Advisor. This is a common enough sentiment shared by plenty of musicians. But what sets Bratten's claim of introspection apart from the countless artists that have gone before him is that the resultant work lacks the resonance needed in order to make this statement stick with any sort of relatable truth. Gode pings from deep inside a well, as if folding in on itself before really having the chance to provide any sort of catharsis. Personal works are usually easy to identify with, and as such is the reason for their success.

Instead of feeling inclusive, Gode mostly comes off as ostracizing. It seems to exist on its own plane, never reaching out into the realm of sharing and connectedness, which makes it hard to get close as a listener. The barriers of sound presented here seem closed off, where it's impossible glimpse much of anything. Most of the songs feel distant, cold and lonely.

There's something immediately uncomfortable as the album opens with 'Intro/Cave.' Not in a difficult, challenging way, but in a squirm in your seat kind of way. It takes the idea of downbeat to the extreme with its minor-keyed vocals that never resolve to anything satisfying. At times you feel like you're intruding as a listener. This feeling is even more heightened on 'Iconography' with its piano drips like tears, causing the song to shiver with a mournful chill that you don't really want to revisit too often.

'Quiet Earth' slowly unfolds, but to what actually is hard to tell. It feels like a middle with no beggining or end. 'Bivouac' at least blooms into something shapely, calling to mind pillowy clouds floating across a horizon where comtemplation and resolution join.

'Cascade of Events' with vocals by Susanne Sundfor is drowsy, slumbering; it crackles and gently beckons like a weak transmission from a sad heart. There's a dreamy sensuality to it that feels silky, yet chilly, as if it could use another layer to keep warm. If the album has any real standout moment, this would have to be it, if only for its sheer evocativeness of some distant place.

Near the end of the album is 'Zero', an unsettling track, almost terrifying in its confoundedness. The ghostly, warped robotic vocals call to mind some hostile, alien world where life isn't welcome. Instead of being exploratory, the journey makes you feel lost, eventually leading to nowhere.

The best kind of electronic music can make you feel swelled with emotion, simply in the way it's constructed and executed. Gode is an amorphous thing, but not in an exciting, creative way. Generally minimal to a fault, it never really takes any kind of shape. Its movement is stalled, causing it to float by without leaving much of a trace. As you make your way through it, there's really nothing to grasp or hold onto. Rather than being more fleshed out and compelling as personal works usually go, it remains largely forgettable, and perhaps an album Bratten might have wanted to keep mostly to himself.

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