Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Alexander von Mehren - Aéropop (2013)

Chris Holm is one busy little bee. When not playing Norwegian orchestral pop sextet Young Dreams or crafting music of his own, he's off serving up his talents elsewhere it seems. That's how I learned of his contributions to as member of Norwegian composer/producer/pianist Alexander von Mehren's live band.

Alexander von Mehren's debut full length Aéropop falls somewhere on the spectrum of Sondre Lerche's early lounge rock days, the orchestral splendor John Cale's "Paris 1919" and the sensual decadence of Serge Gainsbourg's Histoire de Melody Nelson. That's a lot of ground to cover for sure but von Mehren's jazz-flavored brand of piano pop behaves more like those easy breezy classics than any of the more aurally challenging works of today. It's more than a bit of jazz classicism however. While Aéropop is remarkably svelte and engages in pristine melodic presentation  tracks with synthy touches like "La Variation de Douche"  and "Neuschwanstein" make it very clear von Mehren can engage in a bit of updating if the need arise. It's use is slight but provide the tracks with an added textural depth.

Alexander von Mehren's Aéropop is easy listening for the modern era, tracks birthed and bloomed within the confines of even the tiniest of attention spans, containing a double dose of your standard tracks while still clocking in at under an hour. Even on von Mehren's extensive "Natural Selection", a stylized simplicity exists. Interesting musical ideas come and go without any sort of conceptual hang ups - merely an emphasis on groove. At 20 tracks, Aéropop succeeds due to wealth and fluidity of ideas. von Mehren embellishes where he must but isn't afraid to let good musical ideas run their natural course instead of milking them for all their worth. The result is a balancing act of rather epic but effortless seeming proportions.  

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