After the initial spin of this CD, I really was totally unsure of what to make of this debut album entitled ‘Mint’ comprising nine tracks from Norwegian instrumentalists ‘Orions Belte’. At only 35min long, it is, by today’s standards, a shortish project of what I initially thought could be generally described as pleasant sounding lounge music, likened to that interlude period when piped background music is played at the cinema whilst waiting for the film to commence. Subsequent spins revealed a lot more in the way of dreamy melodic steel guitar, swathes and swirls of background keyboards and various sequences of harder edged guitar inflections. Certainly by the time track three was reached, there was divergent shift in the music towards a more rhythmically inclined psychedelic guitar style. Throughout the nine tracks there is a distinctly melodic edge that keeps surfacing with the individual tunes bursting forth nicely embellished with a warm coating of steel guitar but at the same time there is a certain jerkiness to the delivery which leaves you slightly uneasy, rather like listening to a band in the middle of a practice session. Other intervals comprising what seems like a series of different lead and bass guitar riffs are sandwiched between percussive movements, electronic distortions and discordant guitar dispersions but which add another dimension and feel to the sound .
Originality of course has to be admired and the many pedal steel guitar flurries which are integrated into the mix add a bright and interesting edge to both the staccato and other rhythmic guitar combinations.
Generally, the music seems to be divided into two separate packages one of which leans towards a more genial softer melodic guitar style and another where the music relies on speed, instrumental dexterity and psychedelic intent. Looking at the album as a whole one could say that it is a preverbal mish-mash of musical bits and pieces that are spread around without any sense of continuity the end result being one of slight confusion as to what kind of album do I hold in front of me. With limited vocal content to the nature of the music it has to be described as an instrumental album and so from a listener’s perspective it is hard to see where this would fit in from a commercial angle. Maybe selling CDs at support gigs is a strong possibility.
The fact that these guys are good musicians aside I do not see it as music for any kind of audience participation, dance hall histrionics or achieving satisfaction through deep inner psychedelic entrancement.
Summary: A mixed instrumental album combining both tuneful guitar based songs embellished with pedal steel harmony and other psychedelic harder edged excursions.
Artwork: Reasonable and Colourfal artwork.
Orions Belte is:
Øyvind Blomstrøm - Guitar, pedal steel
Chris Holm - Bass, vocals, keyboards
Kim Åge Furuhaug - Drums, programming
Recorded by Kim Åge Furuhaug at Bergen Kjøtt
Mixed by Matias Tellez at Blanca Records
Mastered by Christian Obermayer at Strype Audio
1. New Years Eve t12
4. Joe Frazier.
5. Moving Back Again.
6. Le Mans.
7. Picturephone Blues.
8. Atlantic Surfing.
From The Press Release :-Band members Chris Holm and Øyvind Blomstrøm make a living out of touring and creating for Norwegian names such as Sondre Lerche, Young Dreams, and Nathalie Nordnes, and so are almost always on the road and exploring different sounds wherever possible. When their paths crossed for the umpteenth time in 2016, their mutual dream of starting an instrumental project together finally found a spark. Holm’s companion from the Bergen scene, Kim Åge Furuhaug, was the match, and Orions Belte was born.