21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Modern pop for the soul
From the snow capped vistas of Norway comes Kate Havnevik, a modern day Nordic siren ready to enchant us with her imaginative debut and to make her mark in modern pop music.
Melankton, the album's title, comes from a book Kate read and it means dark rose -quite fitting for a darkly poetic piece of music that is often dramatic, very alluring and should appeal...
Published on March 27, 2007 by Sakis
1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed!
I bought this CD specifically for the song, Se Meg, which isn't available on US CD's. I was extremely disappointed! I guess it's time for me to move into the 21st century and get an MP3 player so I can pay 99 cents to download a song rather than waste my money purchasing an entire CD. Lesson learned.
Published on January 20, 2010 by Sharon E. Wheeler
Most Helpful First | Newest First
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Modern pop for the soul,
This review is from: Melankton (Audio CD)From the snow capped vistas of Norway comes Kate Havnevik, a modern day Nordic siren ready to enchant us with her imaginative debut and to make her mark in modern pop music.
Melankton, the album's title, comes from a book Kate read and it means dark rose -quite fitting for a darkly poetic piece of music that is often dramatic, very alluring and should appeal to a broad range of music listeners. As much as I hate comparisons I think if you are fans already of Bjork, Dido, Royksopp, Hooverphonic or Imogen Heap, I am pretty sure you will find lots of things to enjoy on Melankton.
Some listeners might be familiar with her background vocals. Kate sang on Royksopp's techno hits "Only This Moment" and "Circuit Breaker" from their last album The Understanding, she also worked on a couple of songs on Carmen Rizzo's electronic record called Lost Art Of The Idle Moment, one of them makes it here on the US version of the CD called "Travel in time" which was one of my favorite from Carmen's album. But fans might have even heard of her on television.
Beautifully mirroring life's tender and powerful moments some of the album tracks were featured on the hit TV drama Grey's Anatomy, generating a buzz & prompting lots of viewers to seek her out.
Creating the album Kate recorded the core string arrangements first. The vocals were recorded in her bedroom studio where she could capture the right feel and sound for each song. Voice (often supple and hushed), lyrics (intimate and warm) and melodies (leisurely drawn out) are the main elements with no strict formula writing for the album and no focus on having one or two big singles. Kate's goal was to have the album be a piece of music as a whole and it's evident when one listens how nicely bound the tracks are for the entirety of the record.
Several very talented collaborators from quite different backgrounds were enlisted to make Melankton. Guy Sigsworth (of Frou Frou fame) co-wrote 4 tracks in the album and helped Kate with his masterful electronic beats, Carmen Rizzo did some additional programming, Maria Huld Markan provided string arrangements (she has worked with Sigur Ros and Amina), Froydis Re Werke, an exceptional horn player lended her talents (she is the main teacher in horn at the Royal College of Music in Oslo), the talented contemporary jazz player Arve Henriksen provided some dazzling and very emotional trumpet sounds for a couple of the albums highlights and lastly there is the magnificent 16 piece string orchestra from Bratislava Slovakia adorning the dramatic background of most of these tracks. With all this marriage of lush sounds mixed together, one would think this is a schizophrenic piece of work, but the neat techno arrangements blend effortlessly with the organic orchestral sounds.
Kate's songs have various themes. Enjoying life's precious moments I think is the most resounding one. On "I don't know you" she knows the stars, the wind the sky and waves yet she would like to know her partner better so she pleads for him to show who he is to her. Isn't that always such a vulnerable state? To really get to know someone and to really show ourselves as we are to someone we love with all our little flaws? Equally emotional and romantic is "Kaleidoscope", where she abandons her worries and sees the world through a kaleidoscope of colors mesmerized by sincere love that is by far my favorite song on this album (my other favorite was found in the Norwegian import of this CD and it was a magnificent song called "Se Meg" which didn't make it on the US version but i highly recommend seeking it out since it had made me cry). On "Unlike Me" she sings about time not existing, living in the moment, with no guarantees in life we should live our lives intensely and love every minute of it, "every minute alive" as she insists. On "New Day" she is admiring a beautiful day starting up with her lover awaking with "morning stars" in his eyes, ready for what this new day will have to bring, it is one of the more upbeat tracks in the album, due to the energized electronic beats kicking in mid way through, the other songs are more moody, romantic, serene. Overall i think it's a solid effort and a great debut album by someone who is very talented and creative and someone who evokes so many beautiful images by her songs and music. She's also excellent Live, so if she tours around your town promoting this album do not miss her performance. You'll be enchanted.
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mysterious and Exquisite,
This review is from: Melankton (MP3 Music)"There are no guarantees in life
Not for the present,
Nor for the future.
All I know is
That I'm here"
Norwegian singer and songwriter Kate Havnevik creates euphoric melodies within an exquisite world of electronica with classical appeal. "Not Fair" has darkly poetic lyrics where she shows the full range of her vocal expression. "Travel in Time" contains magical whispery sweet lyrics with hints of longing and ecstasy.
"Serpentine" has a classictronica appeal but what makes Kate Havnevik's songs ornate is the way she uses her voice. She makes the world seem more sensuous and like Björk, her voice becomes part of the musical landscape in a unique creative soul expression. Within the lyrics there seems to be a death and a rebirth, as if the petals of a black rose have been tossed across a sea of change.
"I go nowhere high
Go nowhere warm
Until you're by my side
Your hand in mine
And I've always known
You're like a feather
You go where wind and fire melt together"
"Kaleidoscope" has a similar appeal, but dives even deeper into delicate melancholy that suddenly awakens into more vivid revelation. From here, the album mellows sweetly into a deep relaxing contemplation. "New Day" is an awakening from the sleepy classical mood as electronica again takes the stage. Since Kate Havnevik is working on two more albums I can only imagine the directions she will take within possibility.
If you enjoy Zero 7, Balligomingo, Hooverphonic, Magnet and Imogen Heap, you will want this for your collection.
~The Rebecca Review
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfection : Beautiful,
This review is from: Melankton (Audio CD)Through a series of intensely rich and innovative musical compositions, Kate Havnevik's lush vocals flow seamlessly. This fresh genre, best described as `classica', combines the best elements of electronica and classical music. The live orchestra and subtle synthetic pulses are a sugary treat for the ears and the soul. As warm and laid back as this album is, it's extremely uplifting. In fact, Kate herself describes it as `euphoric'. During production of "Melankton", Kate simultaneously worked on two other albums. She felt that "Melankton" would best introduce her style to the musical world, and so it was released first. "Melankton" translates into `black rose'.
Kate initially trained as a classical musician. She joined a punk rock group as a young woman and quickly lost herself in the electronic sounds, and began experimenting with her own contemporary pieces. Before the release of "Melankton", she previously collaborated with other artists and musicians, providing backup vocals for various singers and assisting in the production of dance tracks.
The vibes of "Melankton" are slow and melodic, but intriguing and extraordinarily beautiful. Every song includes a lovely assortment of brass, strings, rich electronic chords and subtle beats. This album could easily be compared to Bjork's lullaby masterpiece album, "Vespertine", but contains less angst and growls, and includes more smoothness and sensitivity.
As it opens with Kate's wispy vocals and sweet conviction, "Unlike Me" quickly draws the listener in. This song sets the album tone beautifully. Strolling lower string arrangements and subtle vocal edits swell and shrink in the ears. The song is very much like the ocean, rising and falling musically. Kate's love of glissandos (the slow pitch slide of a continuously played note) is extremely obvious in this tune, especially toward the end. In general, the tone of "Unlike Me" is rather dark and mysterious, rich and warm. The harp arrangement is particularly beautiful. With no percussion, Kate's vocals take center stage. (5/5)
"Travel In Time":
Plucking strings remind the listener of a lazy rainy morning. This track is a bit more contemporary, with modern beats. The intense sweeping melodies are still present, as Kate's voice flows effortlessly. The intricate musical arrangements are a treat for the ears. Simple but gorgeous, this track is a wonderful mix of choral sounds and sparkling arpeggios. (5/5)
"I Don't Know You":
The second track is sweeter and less aggressive than the first. "I Don't Know You" opens with a delicate piano, airy synthetic chords and slowly layering strings. Kate's vocals are a bit more reserved, almost childlike. As the song progresses, soft clicks begin to build and create a light percussion sound. The track concludes with harmonious horns. The emotion represented in this tune is struggle and intense wanting. Far less dark, but just as powerful as the opening number. (5/5)
Kate delves into unfamiliar musical territory here, using more brass and more experimentation. The structure of this song is less grand and more focused on individual sounds, such as the gentle hopping of the horns, exotic drumbeats and twinkling keyboards. "You Again" adopts a jazzier groove, and a more intimate setting. This song would sound beautiful performed in a small club. (5/5)
Initially, this was one of my personal favorites. It's the first tune that includes a typical drum arrangement, and though it feels a bit more modern and less eccentric than the previous tracks, it makes a huge impression. The strings fly quickly up a musical scale and reel the listener in within the first few seconds. Kate sings with anger and passion, longing for justice. The bridge is particularly intense, with her vocals reaching into a high falsetto. There are also some incredibly beautiful string arrangements throughout the entire song. This is a fantastic song to belt out during those moments of extreme frustration. (5/5)
Starting off similar to "I Don't Know You", this song has a similar disposition, but reaches a higher climax toward the end. The string arrangement has a bit more movement and expression. It's difficult to single out the best portions of this song, as it all flows so wonderfully together (most of Kate's pieces are like that). Lyrically, it ends on the lovely conclusion that, after Kate has so emotionally proclaimed her thoughts and feelings, there is `nothing more to say.' (5/5)
Much slower and more subdued, "Serpentine" is a fantastic musical soundscape with full string chords, brass, and plucking strings. The crescendo of this track is fantastic: it begins softly, as a mist through dark trees. Once the song matures, it sounds like a full wind on the coast, only to die down to a light breeze once again. Kate's vocals are, as always, warm and inviting. Her higher range sounds lovely here, especially toward the end of the tune. (5/5)
Twinkles and lazy strings carry this tune. The vocal arrangement is stunning: Kate's lyrics are absolutely breathtaking. This song seems to be a perennial favorite. It's less aggressive and a bit more vulnerable. The strings swell gently, opening the song with expressive emotion and intensity. The electronic pulses add dimension as the first verse closes. With all the harps, glockenspiels and sparkly arpeggios, one can't help but think of music boxes and Christmastime. There are some beautiful reverb effects included here. (5/5)
Slow and subdued, this song reflects the emotions one might feel while crawling endlessly in place. The music perfectly compliments the lyrics, slowly growing into a serious proclamation of hopelessness and sadness. Insomnia was never presented more beautiful than it is here. The bridge features falling and rising arpeggios, and closes with a gentle digital manipulation, blending into the arriving choral strings. As always, Kate closes the track with grace, slowly fading to nothing. (5/5)
The angriest song of the album, Kate's conviction is effortless. The song opens with an exotic dulcimer, rich horns and audio samples sounding like gentle crashes and booms. As always, Kate weaves many strings into the mix, perfectly combining sensitivity with angst. Kate sounds strong and confident here, a switch from most other tunes. In short, she's telling a recent lover how horribly wrong the relationship has gone, and there is no saving it now. A bit brutal, this is a wonderful breakup song for strong and independent women. (5/5)
After the high of the previous track, it's nice to come down to this lullaby. The same four chords are featured throughout the song, but it's the arrangement and sudden genre switches that make this a fantastic tune. The majority of the song sounds soothing and gentle; perfect for romantic nights and adoring a gorgeous sunset. As the second verse closes, light timpani and electronic beats begin to take over, and it's then that you'll find yourself wanting to hear more. Arpeggios are featured throughout the last portion of the track, with Kate's gentle improvisations adding intensity. Suddenly, the beats drop out and the only sound left is the simple melody line. This is a fabulous track. (5/5)
This song sounds a bit like something you might hear in a period film, with dramatic horns and classical string arrangements. The lyrics are sensitive and sweet, and Kate sounds wonderful next to the rich chords. While it's a gorgeous song, it sounds a bit out of place on the album. (4/5)
Kate's glissandos are featured here more than any other track on the album. She somehow makes them likable and intriguing, rather than bizarre. The most upbeat track on the album, this is one of the most recognizable songs, thanks to "Grey's Anatomy". Echoing beats and a fuzzy bass are prominent and there are more digital effects to be heard throughout the song. In particular, Kate's pieced-and-placed vocals toward the end make for an interesting and beautiful listen. There are no drastic changes in the song, but every little blip and beep make this the best on the album. The ending is simply gorgeous, with a soft arpeggio popping in one more time for a final moment of reverb bliss. (6/5)
Bonus Track "So:Lo":
The most commercial track, an acoustic guitar begins the song happily, only to be joined by Kate's melancholy lyrics. Despite the title and the general disposition, this comes off as a happy song simply because of the musical arrangement and the fact that Kate is confessing her deep love for another. This is another tune which was featured on "Grey's Anatomy". Kate was wise to include this as a bonus track, as it gives the listener the impression that the album actually ends with "New Day": it ends the album on a much more cohesive note. (5/5)
Finally, a true artist who is more than just another pretty pop face is getting some attention. Thanks to "Grey's Anatomy", Kate is getting the attention she truly deserves. Her innovative songwriting techniques and intricate compositions are both beautiful and likable, without being too far from the norm. You should snag a copy of this album, especially if you enjoy Bjork, Dido, and Enigma.
*Please note: this track is included on the initial `old' version of "Melankton", released in Norway
12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Astounding,
This review is from: Melankton (Audio CD)Originally my best friend found Kate Havnevik on iTunes long before the album was released in the states. I took one listen and wrote her off because of how *astonishingly* similar she sounded to Imogen Heap. To me, it was some corporate big wig trying to cash in on a good thing. I picked two songs ("Unlike Me" and another one I will go into later) to purchase and called it a day. Enter Grey's Anatomy, showcasing the acapella of "Unlike Me" and the 7 minute extravaganza (extremely reminiscent of Bjork) "New Day", and I realized her voice was really remarkable. I still can't stand buying albums off iTunes so I scoured ebay, searching for a used import copy I could get for cheap. That...didn't happen. Many others had the same idea and I ended up losing every auction. Then I learned that Kate is good friends with Imogen Heap, and that sealed it. She's not a corporate knock off. She's friends with the originator.
March 27th hits and the album drops. The following day I pick it up, practically already bosom buddies with the album having constantly listened to the samples on iTunes (and subsequently shaking my head, trying to wrestle with my normal nature of loving all melodic music and my loyalty to Imogen) and also having Carmen Rizzo's album. Taking a listen through, I was quite pleased with waiting for the album as long as I did. I believe that I am in the proper place, musically, to appreciate this album for the true masterpiece that it is. Calm and almost mournful at times, then plucky and upbeat at others, it's almost the perfect soundtrack to "A week in the life of..." of practically anyone you know.
Except for one thing. "Someday", a massively brilliant orchestral piece where her voice soars over with sympathetic lyrical advice, "You will find someone, someday", was curiously missing. Don't get me wrong, I really appreciate her newest song, "So Lo", but a radio pop piece overtop one of the most beautifully emotional songs I've heard in a long time? It definitely was not one of the wisest choices I've seen. Perhaps it messed with continuity? Ah well. At least I bought it off iTunes.
I can't say that Kate is particularly original but she has loads of talent, and her album is a welcome addition to my collection. I wrestled with myself for a while on this one, and I can say that this is one of the few times I'm glad I lost. You cannot go wrong with Melankton.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Import's Two Diff Songs Worth Getting,
This review is from: Melankton (Audio CD)The day after I bought the US version of this excellent CD, I was lucky enough to find a cheap used copy of the original EU version on the Continentica Records label. It has two songs not available on the American edition (but does not have the US CD tracks "Travel in Time" and "Timeless"). The two import-version-only songs, "Someday" and "Se Meg," are both written by Kate, and are every bit as good as the rest of the songs on the CD. Buying the import for only those two songs, which add up to under 10 minutes, might seem crazy...but won't after you hear them.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A solid effort, good music to relax to,
This review is from: Melankton (Audio CD)I bought this album on a whim, partly going by the fact that some songs have appeared on "Gray's Anatomy" and party going by a review I read. All in all I'm happy with my purchase. Kate Havnevik has crafted some enjoyable and atmospheric tunes here. One could probably classify this album in the same genre as Portishead and Frou Frou, with that whole "trippy" and mellow sound. However, those bands are more memorable than Kate's music here, and she often tries a little too hard to sound like Imogen Heap. I think Kate definitely has a lot of potential, and this is a solid effort, but she'll need to distinguish herself more from the pack in the future.
Standout tracks are "Not Fair" and "Kaleidoscope," songs that will stick in your head a long time after you've heard this album. All in all, a recommended purchase.
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant,
Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Melankton (Audio CD)I can only give a rating of brilliant as this is what I was told by the person I bought this as a gift for. They thoroughly enjoyed it as I thought they would, being into Tori Amos etc. I know it is an older CD but this seemed to make no difference. I heard a little of it and found it very good. Sorry I can't go into more depth, but it's difficult when it's something that was bought for someone else.
4.0 out of 5 stars Soft but dramatic,
This review is from: Melankton (Audio CD)I've never heard anyone quite like her. Simple but interesting lyrics, full symphony. The music and her voice are very soothing.
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best albums of this decade.,
Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Melankton (Audio CD)While perusing through my Imogen Heap station on [...], I kept running into the song Kaleidoscope from Kate Havnevik. It was just... enchanting. It took me away to other places, and I would find myself finding it on youtube so that I could relisten to it constantly. After listening to the song Sleepless and Timless, I decided that I liked what I heard enough to go buy the album.
What a marvellous decision this turned out to be.
I've listened to this album on repeat for days straight. It's so full of depth and beautiful string arrangements, and Kate's voice is entrancing. If you are any fan of electronic, light or breathy vocals, or artists like Imogen Heap or Guy Sigworth, THIS is your album. I just can't get over how beautiful it all is. The fact that it's been around for more than three years without me knowing about it is a crime.
5.0 out of 5 stars Imogen Heap - esque but also having her own flair.,
A Kid's Review
This review is from: Melankton (Audio CD)Kate Havnevik is reletively new to me. Her voice a feathery soft, but still will give you chills. I first heard 'Unlike Me' and was blown away. Just from hearing that song she's not afraid to take risks, and it pays off! Honestly, there is not a bad track on this album. I love albums like this, where you can listen from beginning to end and be satisfied all the way through.
Most Helpful First | Newest First