Lama
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Lama

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"XLR8R naming Lama #1 new band at By;Larm 09"

#1 - Lama
The new project from Jaga Jazzist´s Nils Martin Larsen counts a clarinet and a glockenspiel among its arsenal but the weird insruments don´t mar the overall effect of this post-rock stew. The music is really best experienced via their intense live show, a soaring six-man jam session backed by an incredible light-and-video show put together by Larsen´s brother.
www.myspace.com/lamamusic - XLR8R


"Review of Look what you made us do"

Until now, Nils Martin Larsen has been chiefly known as a member of Norwegian post-rock collective Jaga Jazzist, with whom he played keyboards from the age of eighteen. Yet he always wanted to spread his wings further as evinced by his new identity as Lama. Although ‘Look What You Made Us Do’ features a number of credited musicians, as his MySpace site declares “Lama is Nils Martin Larsen”.



‘Beginning’ is a dramatic introduction with only the shrill Sigur Ros style cries to stop it being an instrumental. There is no doubt about the best song here though. Taking its cues from Hope Of The States’ wondrous ‘Black Dollar Bills’, in the shape of ‘Then You’ll See’ Lama have a post-rock anthem in-waiting. It’s a great song which builds from the sensitive vocal of Larsen into a full-blown epic that sounds angsty and hopeful all at once. Nothing is quite as memorable as this moment but that’s not to say it’s an average album, merely one with a killer single and several strong supporting tracks.

‘Wake Up Call’ impresses with intense chatting and percussion to match and ‘Now Will You Remember Me’ is resplendent with delightful warm harmonies. Meanwhile, the meandering ‘Fighting’ features nods to Larsen’s erstwhile employers and it’s easy to imagine ‘Came Through Stone To Get Here’ and the equally stirring ‘Ending’ soundtracking a heroic sporting achievement in the future.

‘Look What You Made Us Do’ is a fine record, full of the kind of wintry atmospheres that Scandinavian acts have turned into a fine art over the last decade. - Leonards Lair blog


"Review of Look what you made us do"

Its performance rattled more than a few cages at Punkt 2008, in Kristiansand, Norway. Still, Lama's debut, Guidebook to Lamaland (Spoon Train Audio, 2008), was really a solo album hiding beneath a group name, with the exception of one cathartic live track that featured the full group. Lama's sophomore disc, Look What You Made Us Do, is still the brainchild of the group's leader, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Nils Marten Larsen. But this time it's a flat-out group effort and, consequently, is a more dynamic disc with greater energy over a broader aural landscape.
Larsen remains the group's songwriter and producer, though keyboardist Andreas Stensland Løe (also a member of the innovative trio, Splashgirl) and drummer Andreas Lønmo Knudsrtød are listed, amongst others, as co-producers. Arrangements are credited to the group, a clear indication that Larsen sees Lama as a collective that brings individual voices and ideas to the mix, even if he's the group's primary mover and shaker.

Like Guidebook's "Fighting Your Shadow—which is reprised here simply as "Fighting"—the opening "Beginning" is an anthemic rocker despite, much like Lama in performance, taking its time getting to the thundering climax of jagged electric guitars, pulsing bass and pounding drums. "Wakeup Call" is equally propulsive, but driven by layers of acoustic guitars it's a less ear-shattering setup for the initially gentler "Then You'll See," with Larsen's soft voice over a hypnotic soundscape of chiming keys, bowed strings, and electronics. When the group enters, it takes Larsen's lyrical melody and kicks it into high gear with a series of shifting, recontextualizing harmonies.

9 As with Guidebook, electronic soundsculpting lies beneath much of the group's sound, and Larsen's vivid motifs—either sung wordlessly or with simple yet affecting lyrics—drive music that's part Jaga Jazzist, part Radiohead, and part Sigur Rós. Just as artists like Jan Garbarek and Terje Rypdal have influenced an entire generation of younger Norwegians, it's encouraging to now see that some of those artists have become touchstones for even younger groups, as Lama also touches upon Eivind Aarset's sonic explorations and Motorpsycho's curious blend of psychedelia, folk, and jazz. Categorizing music with such broad purview is increasingly difficult, but ultimately it's just not that important. The key markers here are strong melodies propelled by rhythms that are, at times, visceral and energetic, elsewhere soft and ambient-like.

The most dramatic evolution on Look What You Made Us Do is, in addition to turning Lama into a performing collective, Larsen's astute sequencing of the music. There are individual highlights like the cinematic rocker "Streets," the ambient folk of "Will You Remember Me?" and the even more atmospheric instrumental "Shadow." But most importantly, Look What You Made Us Do is an album that works better as a whole, where the sum does, indeed, transcend the individual parts. It's a strong step forward for Larsen and Lama, and one that will hopefully bring the group greater visibility. - allaboutjazz.com


"Review of Look What you Made us Do"

Rough Guide to post-rock
Written on October 15th, 2009 by Dan Roberts

Lama
Look What You Made Us Do
Spoon Train Audio / Tuba
Rating: 7.5

Guidebook To Lamaland, Lama titled their debut album, released just nine months ago, as if self-consciously highlighting their singularity – welcome to a whole new musical world, seemed to be the message. Sure enough, that record was an intriguing one: Guidebook’s varied blend of moody multi-instrumental nu-jazz, flickering electronics and cinematic chanted wordless vocals may not have been startlingly innovative but nevertheless made for an engagingly layered work. Whilst that debut certainly evoked other artists, perhaps most significantly (and indeed unsurprisingly) Jaga Jazzist – the celebrated collective of which Lama lynchpin Nils Martin Larsen is an erstwhile member – Lama’s second outing eschews much of the subtlety and genre-marrying variation that made Guidebook distinctive in favour of familiar post-rock guitar patterns - patterns that have begun to sound formulaic even when coming from the genre’s innovators themselves. It’s a significant self-imposed handicap, but one which the band just about overcome.

Lama’s evolution can perceptibly be traced to Guidebook’s solitary live track ‘Fighting Your Shadow’, which establishes the musical foundations for the recurring melodies and musical phases that dominate the semi-conceptual follow-up. Whilst Lama essentially remains a vehicle for Larsen, the band has swelled over the interim between records from a one man show to a more muscular six-piece, this expansion paradoxically heralding a far more restricted musical palette. The album’s introductory framing effort ‘Beginning’ opens with gentle but sinister strumming guitar that grows in urgency as wordless vocals intone a hymnal melody almost archetypal in its simplicity, the layering building to walls and wails of pounding guitar. And that’s where the problems start. It’s impossible to listen to ‘Beginning’s quiet/loud build-up without noting Mogwai’s fifteen-year monopoly, impossible to tune in to the mesh of chiming guitars that recurs across the album without thinking of Explosions In The Sky, or to let the otherworldly vocals that accompany xylophones and a bow juddering on steel strings on ‘Ending’ wash over you without a wearied nod in Sigur Ros’ direction – even Larsen’s distinctive vocals are strongly reminiscent of those that adorn much of his similarly multi-instrumental countryman Kaada. The building blocks of this album thus sound instantly familiar.

And so, after listening through Look What You Made Us Do a couple of times on a bus that snaked down Norway’s west coast – piped down failing tinny earphones as fjords and hulking grey rocks flickered into lush green forests or pretty fishing towns – and feeling nothing, no suggestion of post-rock’s supposed proximity to nature, its identity as ‘landscape music’, I was ready to dismiss Lama as peddlers of second-hand wares that Mogwai and Sigur Rós have themselves dilluted – the terrifying suspense of ‘Like Herod’ and soaring ethereality of ‘Svefn-g-englar’ cheapened by years of rehash and sentimentalising. But something was still nagging me, and emerging crystalline from speakers in the comfort of home Lama’s virtues began to condense. Despite my scepticism, Look What You Made Us Do does manage to avoid pastiche, and the reason is its scale, or rather its lack of it. Its modesty. Its simplicity. Post-rock’s widescreen tendencies bred the pompousness and emotional manipulation that draw greatest criticism to the genre – listeners have grown tired of yet another ten-minute build-up climaxing in inevitable clamour – the critical relief that met Sigur Ros’ curveball recent single ‘Gobbledigook’, and the disappointment that followed when the accompanying album turned out to be more familiar a case in point. Whilst ‘Gobbledigook’ broke the cycle by not actually being ‘post-rock’ anymore, Lama manage to give the familiar building blocks a freshness by packaging them with brevity and plainness.

With only the closing track clocking in at much over four minutes Look What You Made Us Do strips away epic tendencies to rather hint at greater depth through what remains unsaid – the most striking moment on the album is also its briefest, the appropriately named ‘Wakeup Call’, which seems to pack an impressive build-up into it’s 1:42 runtime. Drag this out to eight minutes and it would doubtless seem turgid, but as something glimpsed and then lost as soon as found it feels breathtaking and essential, as if it has achieved something remarkable just in making an impression. It’s not just the length of the songs that makes the oscillations impressive and the familiar sounds stomachable, it’s also the overall minimalism. Guitar motifs play out rudimentary structures; vocals, when they appear in lyrical form, disdain grand portentousness to be delivered in a hushed indie-pop lilt; and melodies are gradually enforced over the course of the album as they are revisited in subtly fluctuating forms. Epic grandeur is still there, sure, but it is almost seen in tantalising snippets, like going in and out of a room where Lord of the Rings is on and catching occasional, disconnected scenes – you can still sense the mythology and expansiveness behind it all, but it’s absorbed indirectly and you don’t have to sit through three hours and eight endings. Lama are able to suggest rather than hammer home. Whilst the title of their first album could even be called hubristic, that of its follow-up, Look What You Made Us Do, conversely sounds as if the band are disgusted with their own creation. They have no reason to be.
- www.nomusicmedia.com


"Ratings in Norwegian Press for "Look what you made us do""

Some ratings in norwegian press :

BT.no 5/6
TB.no 5/6
Livecity 8/10
Musikknyheter.no 8/10
Nomusic 7.5/10
Studvest B
H-a.no 5/6
- div


Discography

Lama - Look what you made us do (sept 2009)
Lama - Guidebook to Lamaland (jan 2009)

Photos

Bio

Lama is the musical escapade behind Nils Martin Larsen, a young multi instrumentalist from Oslo, Norway.
His first record: ”Guidebook to Lamaland” was performed, recorded, and produced over a two year span by Larsen himself in 2006.
Later released by the Oslo label “Spoon Train Audio” in January 2009; it went on to receive many noteworthy reviews.

“…clearly a band to keep on the lookout list.”
“… [whose] performance rattled more than a few ears.”

-John Kelman- Managing Editor: allaboutjazz.com

Releasing a motivated first record lead to the growth of Lama. What started as a solo project transformed into a six-piece band airing drums,
guitars, keys, vocals, trumpet, bass, samplers, drum machines, glockenspiel, and various noises. Clearly developing it’s musical identity.
While one can decipher various influences ranging from Mew to Radiohead, Lama has created a sound that is original while still being relevant.
Visually, Lama’s live show is a cascade of intoxicating light bound with explosive sound. The bands live debut at the prominent Club Blå in
Oslo lead to several performances in Norway and surrounding areas. Backed by two of the best technicians in Norway controlling light and video:
Per Marius Larsen (Jaga Jazzist and Span), and Joakim Faxvaag (Phoenix, and 120 days) Lama produces a dynamic live show that caters to all your senses.

Lama’s long list of performances include: Øya Festival, Punkt, and numusic. Perhaps the most important being by:Larm 09, scandinavias biggest showcase festival;
where they created chaos at one of the festival’s biggest stages complete with a packed audience. Lama also played as the main act at Rockefeller Music Hall during
Oslo Jazz Festival in 2009.

In September 2009, Lama released their follow up to “Guidebook to Lamaland”. Coherently titled “Look What You Made Us Do” on
Spoon Train Audio. With its rich dichotomy to Lamaland, “Look What You Made Us Do” delivers haunting yet beautiful melodies with driving force.
This time joined in the studio by the entire band, the album features a raw sound in comparison to its electronic predecessor but is able to hold onto its tight arrangements.

“…the number one new band at by:Larm.”

-XLR8R Magazine


"…this album is more searching and varied than its predecessor and gives confidence that this could be a really big indie rock band,
if the world wants it to be. Fantastic moods, good production, interesting music. Can it get any better?"
-Tønsberg Blad (Norwegian Newspaper)

"The songs bear witness to a songwriter with an almost inexhaustible supply of beautiful melodies that excites enough
to withstand many repeats. Its catchy and the louder parts leave you with a wish to witness a live performance."

-Bergens Tidende (Bergen Newspaper)

The first single “Then You’ll See” gives us an ambient music video by Feil Film, proving yet again that
visuals are an important part of the bands nature. Attracting your senses, they simply cannot be ignored.
Lama is turning heads and is well on their way to becoming an important name in the music industry.

In April Lama is releasing new material once again. The "Curses and Broken Glass" 7inch vinyl will be released mid-April and features two new songs to mark that Lama has once again renewed themselves. This is the first step towards recording their third full lenght album to be released early 2011!

Then You´ll See:
http://www.vimeo.com/5956472
Beginning: (live footage)
http://www.vimeo.com/6442441