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Tranquil Isolation

3.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Audio CD, February 18, 2003
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

On this record, Sweden's Dunger is backed by Will Oldham (aka Bonnie Prince Billie), Paul Oldham, Pete Townsend, and Jessica Billey. It was recorded in Louisville, KY, and follows on the heels of several European albums and singles. Nicolai's open and vul

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Nicolai Dunger boasts an exotic biography, one that begins in a Swedish burg 12 hours north of Stockholm and includes a promising soccer career cast off in favor of the musical muse. He's possesses enviable indie credentials as well: after all, this disc was recorded with Will Oldham (Palace, Bonnie "Prince" Billy) and released by Overcoat Recordings, home of Richard Buckner and the Frames. And then there are his decidedly retro influences: on Tranquil Isolation, Dunger dedicates a tune to Tim Hardin, references Jonathan Richman, and massages vocal melodies like Van Morrison. This second stateside release finds Dunger exploring a range of styles, from restrained piano ballads and acoustic blue-eyed soul jams to rustic folk and ramshackle pop. Though he's not much of a lyricist in his second language and the disc's second half contains a bit of filler, Tranquil Isolation is a worthwhile introduction to a unique and promising young singer-songwriter. --Anders Smith Lindall
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 18, 2003)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Overcoat Recordings
  • ASIN: B000089CTE
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #379,041 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
The photograph on the inside cover of this CD says it all. It's a shot of an almost comically overgrown greyhound, sprawled comfortably across a sofa. Its eyes look as though sleep is just seconds away, sunlight pours in a nearby window, and everything about the dog's posture demonstrates an almost blissful contentment. Similar circumstances no doubt played a big part in the making of Tranquil Isolation. The album sounds like the end result of a series of basement jams, played by an easygoing bunch with no particular place to go. I wouldn't be surprised if one of the ground rules laid down while recording was "Try not to disturb the dog."
Tranquil Isolation is a collaboration between the Swedish-born singer songwriter Nicolai Dunger and Paul and Will Oldham, better known as the Palace Brothers. It was recorded at the brothers' cabin studio in Louisville, KY. The landscape of Heartland USA must have been inspiring to Dunger, because the songs here are imbued with a distinctively Americana feel. Acoustic guitar, Appalachian-style fiddle, and lazily brushed drums are the main sonic ingredients. Indeed, the backing tracks would be right at home on any one of Will Oldham's multiple releases. The opener, "Last Night I Dreamt of Mississippi", spins a subtle web around the listener with its darkly beautiful chord progression, mournful violin, and half-sung, half-moaned vocals. The sound is familiar and mysterious all at once.
But Dunger's voice couldn't be further away from Oldham's. He comes across as a scrappier sibling of Jeff Buckley or Rufus Wainwright, his honeyed vocals sliding easily over the melodies. On the solo piano number, "A Tribute To Tim Hardin", Dunger puts his considerable pipes to use, crooning softly over simple Neil Young-esque chords.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Amazing album. I can't say I'm a huge fan of Nicolai Dunger's other work, but this album really hits a home run. It was recorded in a small house in a field, and it sounds like it. And I mean that in a positive way. Just a great sound and feel from beginning to end. Further proof that Will Oldham is criminally under appreciated.
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Format: Audio CD
On his sixth release, Tranquil Isolation, Sweden's Nicolai Dunger moves closer towards the mainstream. That is, if the mainstream was comprised of Van Morrison, alt-country, and Swedish troubadours. Even more than on his artistic breakthrough Soul Rush, Dunger's vocal i.d. is Van Morrison (if you closed your eyes, you could hardly tell the difference). The songs are whittled down from the leisurely pace of past releases. Their compression keeps Dunger's artsier tendencies in check. Standouts include the country opener "Last Night I Dreamt of Mississippi" (even Swedes get the blues), "Hey Mama" (what's wrong with my life), "Ol' Lovers" (who keep getting in the way), and the chilly "Hundred Songs" (drugs are better than you). Will Oldham produces with just the right combination of support and interference, though he should never sing - on his own records or anyone else's - his vocal harmony on "Truth About the Blues" kills the tune. There's nothing as bracing here as the metaphorically transcendent "Dr. Zhivago's Train" from Soul Rush, but it's solid craftsmanship proves once again that professionalism has its advantages.
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Format: Audio CD
When i first seen the artist in last months spin i knew i had to check him out. nicolai engages in acoustics and comes off as being twangy without too much focus on country influence.. this is a great album and the collaboration with will oldham is exceptional. Since this album was recorded in my home state of KY has even more appeal.. This is truly a magnificant album with many easy listening folk tunes that are so amazing.
Sondre Lerche is another great norwegian artist with a magnificant sound with depth and just enough pop to keep the beat.. His album is of indie persuasion but has a mix of pop to keep the music upbeat. This is another great artist I would recommend u to check out!
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