The Norwegian singer / songwriter's album really does sneak up on you, an album that sounds like it sets out to be straight forward and rather strikingly simple and then just when you think you know, the little details start to catch you. Hang on, that bit sounded good, that little tune that's running underneath he clear concise voice, that bit sounds like one of Efterklang's parades, that bit there like one of Sea Nymphs fragile moves. Yes, detail that really is that good, Sea Nymph good - beautiful melancholic seduction and an absolutely perfect voice - angelic delight, whispered songs, lullabies, swipes of restrained Danny Elfman, jazz-noir, Sally Oldfield, Leonard Cohen, David Lynch, Kate Bush, more parades and more sea nymphs and delicate delicate jazz and whispers and gentle brushing of strings. She's from Oslo and that ache is so so good. There appears to be a bit of a concept album here, characters and disguises, twists and plays and all so mysteriously silky and so so beautiful, beautifully intricate and yes, fascinating and full of grace and such beautiful beautiful simple detail. That bit in Fantasy is so Sea Nymphs, almost disturbingly so. Minimal melancholic beauty, perfect breath taking melancholic beauty. Album of the week.
Haunting. Fragile. Ever so slightly 1980s. Hilde Marie Kjersem´s voice offers many of the qualities that made Michael Stipe-endorsed four-piece Hugo Largo a critical favorite 20 years ago. Taking traditional song forms, she applies her own formal musical education to make them her own: opener "Sleepyhead" is a heavy-lidded lullaby, "London Bridge" a minimalist industrial nursery rhyme. But she's not afraid of lacing the art-rocky "Fantasy" with atonal guitars, or declaiming "Off with her head" in the hymnal "Marie Antoinette".
What does HMK throw in the balance when it stands alongside sophisticated ladies and revered sisters such as Sidsel Endresen, Solveig Slettahjell, Radka Toneff, Anja Garbarek, Brigitte Fontaine .....? Every song is custom-made ... The 'Working Girl' pulls the strands with banjo before going to church and pleading organ buzz to the sky. I think that HMK can confidently take a group picture.
Bad Alchemy (DE)
The Norwegian Hilde Marie Kjersem already knew when she was ten years old that she wanted to write and sing music. She had her first gigs at 14 and now at the age of 27 she releases her first solo album with “A Killer For That Ache”. With an eclectic mix of songs that sometimes sounds a little mysterious, often very soulful and always exciting.
Bauer newspaper house (DE)
However, the 27-year-old classically trained singer is not satisfied with jazz alone. Her new work blurs style boundaries. On the one hand, “A Killer For That Ache” with its difficult choir arrangements is an experimental vocal album. On the other hand, it is also a fantastically beautiful, Nordic melancholic singer / songwriter work with a lot of space for sound avant-garde, jazz, folk and spherical pop.
The Bonn City Magazine (DE)
It reminds me of a female David Sylvian, because “A Killer For that Ache” also has a mysterious spirituality that sets the record apart from profane pop music, because you really have the feeling that Kjersem would reveal something of her soul. Ultimately, it is simply beautiful music, which you can tell in the first second that an artist with a real vision is behind it.
Ox Magazine (DE)
What will become of a classic early developer whose father loves Kenny Rogers, who wants to become a singer / songwriter when she is 10 and who plays her first gigs at 14? She goes to the conservatory, becomes conservative, releases two jazz records - until it finally breaks out of her. “A Killer For That Ache” is, so seen, Hilde Marie Kjersem's liberation record. Or, as the title song says: “Time to take a break”. What begins here with ethereal neo-folk ultimately extends to Joni Mitchell and beyond - almost as far as the sources of inspiration you mentioned David Lynch, Kate Bush, Robert Wyatt. Becomes orchestral, psychedelic, countryesk, chamber jazzy, radical kitschy. Seldom remains well-behaved, and if so, then not of a bidermeier, but of an underlying, anarchistic goodness.