Space Happy by Håvard Volden


Håvard Volden | Space Happy

This recording consists of eleven tracks, simply numbered I through XI, one spacier than the next. Space Happy by Oslo-based experimental electric guitarist Håvard Volden is flavored with cosmic dust and syncopated drone. The acoustics are a unique abstract space rock, a nu-musique concrète, rising, falling, drifting. The effects are a raw collage mix, soft pockets of quiet space, hazy jazz interludes, announcer-like voiceovers, and lots of planetary plotting into the bliss of the unknown.  Though he’s been recording since in and around 2009, this is actually his first solo record which seems unbelievable based on the subtle complexities, and unabashed good time it seems. The spacey cover art courtesy of Lasse Marhaug.

Håvard Volden by Lasse Marhaug

The highs and lows here are significant because once you start deep listening to a low hum, up rises an animated action like a wind-up toy that pops from a box. This is one of those records where you should be braced for any sudden activity. The playful and highly immersive set of pieces if so visual even though the references are held close like a secret recipe. The rattle and sonic strings make for a psychedelic record along the lines of French science fantasy cinema. The motorized revs, lead to the motley mix of bent pedaled guitar, and further into the echoes of a 70s cult movie anthem. Wild cards are strewn everywhere. It’s completely illogical and emotive.

LEFT FIELD COSMIC TRIP: In the last half there are sad synths that seem to fire up a spaceship. And in-between there are minimal ambient passages that quiet the bumpy ride. If you were to mix some of the strings of Sonic Youth with a look back to Pierre Henry, processed it through the nuances of any of the great sci-fi soundtracks of the 70s or 80s, voila, out pops something kin to what Mr. Volden is attempting to create. His hissy tape ending of a (Nordic?) folksong being sung by a group of ladies, once removed, is perfectly a obscure way to punctuate this uninhibited set of works.


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