Nutid – Cityflowers

Nutid is Håkan Åkesson and Åsa Jacobsson, a Swedish instrumental duo that have a penchant for developing vast and enveloping pastoral compositions that live and breathe within the frustrating confines of an album, much like a Jackson Pollack painting escapes the confines of an art museum. The art becomes larger than its surroundings.

Cityflowers, Nutid’s second album, is an accumulation of twelve beautiful tracks that create an inviting soundscape that often blooms and unfolds through the use of a gentle piano or a scale-climbing harmonica. Each track stands alone as an individual soundtrack to one’s life. When one interacts with art, one brings his/her own experiences to decipher or make sense of what the artist is trying to convey. Nutid’s songs become a sort of musical Rorschach test that forces the listener to confront certain distant memories, good or bad.

On a track like “Mona and Jag,” I’m instantly back in my old bedroom at my parents’ house, sifting through a handful of comic books as my mother prepares X-mas dinner in the late afternoon. “Black Flamingo” reminds me of sitting in the back row of church and feeling guilty for being alive. “Where I Am” conjures up the image of walking home after my car broke down. There is a simultaneous comfort and uneasiness that weaves in and out through the entire album. The uneasiness is a natural reaction to confronting old memories, and the comfort comes from Åkesson and Jacobsson’s thoughtful compositions.

That said, as an album, Cityflowers feels disjointed. Each track doesn’t seem to relate to one another; they seem like twelve separate mini compositions. This doesn’t take away from the beauty of the music, because Nutid’s music is heartfelt and insightful. It would be interesting to see Nutid to further develop their compositions and push them into longer pieces released on twelve-inch vinyl on six different records with two tracks on each record. This type of musical presentation would make one’s experience with Nutid more personal and powerful. Regardless, it seems to me that movie directors should experience Cityflowers and give the Swedish duo a chance to score their next film.

May 31, 2012. Albums.

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