Susanna And Ensemble neoN: The Forester

The artist’s first release on her own label is tasteful and charged.

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Vocalist Susanna K Wallumrød is most often associated with the Rune Grammofon label, having released a decade’s worth of material through that Scandinavian avant jazz institution. The Forester is the first release on her own label, yet represents a continuation of her aesthetic of measured disquiet. That said, the album may be her most substantial effort to date.

The three-part title track finds our heroine lost in a symbolic forest, striving for self-determination and sense amid a landscape whose familiarity only serves to confound and confuse. Like the ill-fated protagonists of The Blair Witch Project, Susanna is driven in circles by the ‘ever changing same’ of her arboreal surroundings. It’s an apt metaphor for the vagaries of human interaction.

Wallumrød’s performance is emotionally charged throughout, and enhanced by spartan arrangements which make inspired use of brass, woodwind and strings.

The sound palette might be too tasteful, and the pervasive mood of melancholy too polite for some, but Wallumrød’s vision rewards persistence, and her latest offers much to those with a taste for elegant introspection.

Sid Smith

Sid's feature articles and reviews have appeared in numerous publications including Prog, Classic Rock, Record Collector, Q, Mojo and Uncut. A full-time freelance writer with hundreds of sleevenotes and essays for both indie and major record labels to his credit, his book, In The Court Of King Crimson, an acclaimed biography of King Crimson, was substantially revised and expanded in 2019 to coincide with the band’s 50th Anniversary. Alongside appearances on radio and TV, he has lectured on jazz and progressive music in the UK and Europe.  

A resident of Whitley Bay in north-east England, he spends far too much time posting photographs of LPs he's listening to on Twitter and Facebook.