Alastair Ottesen
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Alastair Ottesen

New York City, New York, United States | SELF

New York City, New York, United States | SELF
Band Folk Pop

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"Alastair Ottesen"

Alastair Ottesen’s self-titled album combines a shiny, bright musical disposition with the bittersweet nostalgia of love—a melodic mix saturated with Beach Boys, Elliot Smith, but of course quite different in his chord choices and bravely clear melodies and instrumentation. He does a have bubbly pop idea floating through every piece, as well as overdubbed vocal harmonies which create a soaring atmosphere like buoyant balloons drifting through colorful clouds. The choir of Ottesen’s voice is met mostly with a choir of keyboard instruments, making the occasional guitar truly sing, and other musicians Craig Akin, Carolin Pook, and handclappers barely distinguishable (which is perfect!).

The songs are short (all under three minutes), so short that one only gets a flavor and is perhaps left with a smidgen of melody in the mind, but the pieces are so repetitive they do not need more elaboration. Hidden parts drift forward in the mix to balance others, and though the melodies are not always intriguing, they are beautiful both in timbre and in motion. “You Loved Him So” breaks Ottesen’s bounds, as the listener glimpses the corner of a heart-wrenching moment, portrayed magnificently as a song unfolds that may be heard as uniquely as the first time one hears the Beatles’ “Because.” It is definitely sad, but not too sad to listen to.

The rest of the album sails along happily after that, bringing more melodies that mystify with simple harmonies and lines that change together: one really hears the relationship of all parts in this music. The lack of dissonances is balanced by the sense of sadness and beauty in Ottesen’s voice and the curvy stubbornness of his melodies. The album also doesn’t get old, maybe because it’s short, but part of its appeal is the barrage of unpredictable loveliness. Nothing in particular stands out among the lyrics, but this is because they are not specific; instead they craft a general feeling of searching, clinging, aching and loving. - Knocks From The Underground


Discography

Alastair Ottesen (2010)
http://alastairottesen.bandcamp.com/album/alastair-ottesen

Used To Be Somebody (2010 Single)
http://alastairottesen.bandcamp.com/track/used-to-be-somebody

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Bio

Born in Scotland, raised in Texas, Alastair Ottesen is a disciple of classic pop and folk such as The Beatles, The Beach Boys, and Bob Dylan as well as a fan of their musical descendants. He crafts delicate vocal harmonies and melodies and sets them atop simple piano and guitar chords. His toy piano, harmonium, and sparse arrangements are reminders that at the heart of great pop music lies melody, poetry, and steadfast attention for the songs.