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Pixie Ninja: Hypnagogia

At the moment, if it’s progressive, then there’s a good chance that it’s Norwegian. And so Pixie Ninja prove, the band’s third album in 6 years - Hypnagogia was released in 2023 - a confident statement from a collective their label, Apollon Records Prog, describe as neu-progressive. Now, what that means I don’t really know, but what I hear is instrumental progressive rock with strong electronic flavours all delivered through deep, almost dark atmospheres and no little skill.

The band in question comprises Jostein Haugen on guitar, bass and keyboards, Marius Leirånes also on guitar, bass and keyboards and Anglagard drummer Mattias Olsson who also provides percussion and glockenspiel. On opening track “Thanatosis”,
Jørgen Munkeby steps in to offer up some electric wind instruments to an already movie like scope and unnervingly noir setting, and if anything he’s no mere guest on this track, instead being the main player.

“Silver Paper Unicorns” continues the voyage, this moody grower reminding me so strongly of Hans Zimmer and Christian Lunberg’s music for the BBC podcast ’13 Minutes To The Moon’ that I actually checked to see if it was a reimagining. It isn’t but the resemblance is quite something, however, what matters is that it’s a beautiful, picturesque piece of music that makes a strong, instant impact. Short and sweet, “Pandemonium” is done and dusted in under 3 minutes and while maybe not quite as out there as its name suggests, the distorted drumbeats that hammer above some surging synths create a distinct tone change from what has come before.

Available in limited quantities in a couple of vinyl configurations, the album is both ‘record length’ and clearly split into side one and side two, “Danse Macabre” closing out the former in possibly the most song based style encountered so far, even if it still is enigmatic and intentionally disengaged at times. With “Ora Antarctica” almost as cold and barren as its name suggests and “Alpha Waves” opening the door into a much more ordered world where you can imagine computerised innards all going about their business, it’s up to the nine minute “Oneironaut” to close things out. Here, hypnotised beats move from almost echoing reggae like tones into the most electronic rock setting encountered anywhere on this album, before things break down into a near disorganised shimmy of sounds and then back again into more ordered fair. In many ways it sums up the varied but still focussed journey that Pixie Ninja provide. Through headphones this album truly is quite mesmerising, but really under any circumstances its message still gets across and beckons you back for more.

Track Listing
1. Thanatosis

2. Silver Paper Unicorns

3. Pandæmonium 

4. Danse Macabre

5. Ora Antarctica

6. Alpha Waves 

7. Oneironaut

Added: March 8th 2024
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Pixie Ninja @ bandcamp
Hits: 325
Language: english

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