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Silje Nes grew up in a small town on Sognefjord (the largest fjord in Norway) before moving on to the larger city of Bergen and eventually Berlin, where she now lives. You can take the girl out of the fjord, but you can’t take the fjord out of the girl; although she may reside in the biggest city in Europe, Nes’ music still possesses a rustic, fairy tale air calling to mind rural northern nights under the Aurora Borealis.
“The Grass Harp” – a track from Opticks, her second album for FatCat – begins with a plucked acoustic guitar pattern and Nes’ wordless vocals, backed by the sound of waves crashing on the shore. The song begins building momentum when the lyrics start, eventually breaking into a krautrock beat and swelling with keyboards and guitar distortion. Nes’ voice is a gentle purr with a sweet Scandinavian accent similar to Bjork as she recounts a tale of what she claims to be the strangest day since things came apart.
Nes weaves a gentle but powerful spell with “The Grass Harp,” locating a midpoint between Norwegian folk popsters like Kings of Convenience and psychedelic Germans like Neu. In the process she creates a song with an esoteric atmosphere but grounded in solid pop hooks.