Not much is known yet about Norwegian duo Konradsen, but there is one thing that’s immediately clear. Konradsen is yet another amazing entry in American label Cascine’s hot streak of releasing Nordic artists’ music stateside. In signing with the label, Konradsen joins remarkable Norwegian artists such as Intertwine and Softcore untd., but the duo sounds nothing like either artist.
Konradsen doesn’t sound much like anyone, really. It also doesn’t sound much like anything at all. On “Baby Hallelujah,” the duo’s debut single, pianos fall, and then Jenny Marie Sabel’s voice does, but often a fraction of a second after a voice would normally appear atop a piano. Frequently, Sabel’s voice, Konradsen’s piano, and extremely faint, ambient sounds that resemble doors softly opening are the only audible parts of the song.
At other times, bandmate Eirik Vildgren joins Sabel in singing, and their harmonizing too arrives out of time with the song’s piano. When the two sing together, the song gets jarringly louder, even though no additional elements are introduced until after the second instance of their harmonizing. Following the second chorus, the sort of noises that a recorder running for hours at a romantic restaurant might capture build a coherent, almost nonexistent semblance of a percussive backbone. In the track’s very final moments, an abrupt pause precedes a return to the track’s barren origins.
“Baby Hallelujah” is so threadbare that to describe it with words does its impact a disservice. It borders on wholly fractured, which fits its thematic material perfectly. Konradsen describes the song as “about dealing with the aftermath of life” and “simple and honest—just piano, vocals and samples of the people we love.” “Baby hallelujah/it’s a cry for the realm/it’s a cry for the many saved,” sing Sabel and Vildgren during the track’s chorus, beautifully painting a picture of the afterlife and its pains. Although the duo is, for now, relatively mysterious, its human connections are impossible to miss.