Hanne Kolstø – While We Still Have Light Review

Hanne Kolstø has a terrific reputation for her ability and the hard work ethic that she relentlessly pursues. Five albums in five years, with the latest, “While We Still Have Light” being the latest in this epic saga.

Kolstø says about her latest album; While We Still Have Light mirrors the goodbye theme, which can be interpreted in many different ways. In the middle of this is doubt; the doubt before a decision, the doubt before you choose to break out of bad patterns, the doubt before you choose to leave a friend or a boyfriend, before you choose to enter a darkness, in the hope that maybe there’s more light on the other side”.

As I accepted the beckoning voice of Kolstø beckoning me to follow, these were my thoughts on the tracks on “While We Still Have Light”.

“Bordermind” on first listen has the ability to break your mind, there’s so much going on. Upon a few replays and it starts to make much more sense, dark and brooding with an easy going vocal line layered over the top. It is very easy to see why Hanne is highly regarded in Norway. Title track “While We Still Have Light” is the second track in, and by now the audience has been pulled into Hanne’s ethereal magical world. It’s not pompous, it’s not try hard clever, it just is. The vocals lend a beautiful fragile melody to the synths, ebbing back and forth like a musical tide.

“Only One” comes as a bit of a surprise as the percussion becomes a bit more raucous , a bit more urgent, as if you were racing along in a train, a continuation of the musical journey from this great little album. “I Hate You Don’t Leave Me” is perhaps one of the more “pop” type songs, perhaps not quite as enigmatic as the tracks thus far in, but still incredibly enjoyable. “The Circle” reverts back to some of the more surreal elements with what sounds like an incredibly discordant piece of woodwind at the start which had me scrabbling for the replay button a few times so my mind could catch up with my ears! The sound sits somewhere between Bon Iver and Sigur Ros but with a unique Kolstø twist.

“Mysterious” again lifts the tempo and has a far more singalong appeal. “Mono” slows things down, with a very stripped back intro, just Hanne’s mesmerising voice and gentle guitars allowed space to breathe, before a gentle incline of strings. “I Like You” is something of a gentle rollercoaster, with the main melody seemingly fading in and out. It’s almost disorientating at times, but works superbly.

“This Town” again has a fragility to it, and I can imagine it’s the sort of track that would lend itself to gazing at the beautiful Norwegian landscape. “White Noise Static” has an almost tribal feel to the drums accompanied again by some expertly composed and performed strings.

All in all it’s a stunning album that will no doubt attract yet more highly deserved critical acclaim.

Web Links:

Website – http://hannekolstoe.com/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/hannekolstoe/
Youtube – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSWAnPH-vbNrt9sw6WY3fhA

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