After writing a review for the new Weserbergland album, we now have a look at another release on the Apollon Records label from Norway. Pixie Ninja is a project from Norwegians Jostein Haugen and Marius Leiranes. They reached out to Mattias Olsson (Necromonkey, ex Änglagård) for the production but he is also in charge of the drums, overdubbing and mixing. Johan Hal's Jorgensen was later recruited as the band's new keyboard maestro. On one of the tracks Ketil Vestrum Einarsen (Weserbergland, White Willow) is featuring as flute player.
Jostein Haugen - guitars, bass, glockenspiel, keyboards; Marius Leiranes - guitars, bass, glockenspiel, keyboards; Mattias Olsson - drums, Mellotron M400; Ketil Vestrum Einarsen - flute on Elusive the Wind Vane; Johan Hals Jorgensen - keyboards
The album opener is called “Auditory Hallucinations” (9:13) and starts delicately with an ambient soundscape. The electronic soundscape is generating images of floating into space in my brain. But than a voice says “I don't think you know what is happening right now” and the music surprisingly changes into a melodic tune which reminds me of the work of Kraftwerk. Didn't see this coming!
The next tune “Elusive The Wind Vane” (6:45) is more prog oriented with great drumming of Mattias Olsson and delicious flute playing by Ketil Vestrum Einarsen. When waves of Mellotron M400 strings are kicking in, the band has my full attention. Ketil does a wonderful job on this track which later on gets a more threatening atmosphere. Some of the flute work reminded me of Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull). An abrupt ending is preceded by wonderful Mellotron strings.
This great composition is followed by a short ( 2:37) classical piano tune called “Une Promenade”. A piece of immense beauty, a little gem. The next track has the title “Polysomnographic” and has a more ambient like opening. When the electronics are joined by the drums the piece becomes more melodic. You can find a very beautiful flute like synth melody on this track that is later on accompanied by lovely keyboard strings.
Then it is time for the longest (11:19) track of the album “Personal Improvement Cult”. It has a delicate opening with glockenspiel and an intriguing synth tune. The first section of the song has a slow character and there is more room now for a nice guitar part. You can find some great melodies in this section. Halfway the song the music becomes more diverse and progressive oriented. Some pieces reminds me slightly of the RIO formation Univers Zero. With broad synth carpets the tension is slowly building up towards a kind of anti climax with a minimal piano piece. The album comes to an end with the title track “Ultrasound” (2:56). A lovely piece with a beautiful melody. But then abruptly the full sound is compressed to a single synth sound. A worthy ending of a nice album.
On the album Ultrasound of the Norwegian formation Pixie Ninja you can find a wonderful mix of electronic and progressive music. The album is mainly keyboard dominated but you can find also some fine guitar parts on this disc. Love the broad synth and Mellotron parts and the flute of Ketil Vestrum Einarsen in the track “Elusive The Wind Vane”. And the drumming of Mattias Olsson brings the music to another level. With a running time of around 38 minutes it is a short album. But in those 38 minutes there is a lot of beauty hidden. Great melodies and intriguing music can be found on this remarkable album.