It’s of course easy to say that when you’re stuck somewhere in a Norwegian fjord, where for the better part of the year it’s either rainy, misty, snowing, or a fortuitous combination of all three, there’s not much to do, so perhaps you start dabbling with some creative enterprise at an age where children blessed with milder climates will still be sorting stones by the river or cohorting with imaginary friends. Though of course you can cohort with imaginary friends in a snowed in cabin as well, but I hope you can nevertheless get my point.
However, I do have this eerie feeling that if I were spirited away to said fjord, at any age, I would probably just stare dumbstruck into the distance- provided there’s enough visibility to do that, and sleep healthily when there isn’t. So it is still quite impressive that young Aurora Aksnes decided it’s time to write some songs at the tender age of 9, and released her first record before turning 20.
Her allocated time slot on Sziget was the dubious early one in A38, which can basically go any which way, depending on who owns it, and could have been caused either by her still being less known in wider circles or more probably by the fact that Norwegian forest elves are pretty awesome at any time of the day. Actually, I’ve recently developed the theory according to which the programmer is actually playing some sort of sophisticated bingo and probably wears a smug smile when something really weird comes to pass.
Coming back to our own pack of sprites, try as you might resisting temptation, there’s just too big a number of Scandinavian stereotypes you must tick with Aurora: she is an elfin blonde girl playing atmospheric yet eerily catchy electronic music with subject matters ranging from running with wolves and winter birds to the more Norse marauder preoccupations of conquerors and warriors. At least she’s Norwegian, which is way more exotic than being a Swede, the amount and catchiness of their musical output being outright scary- I guess there’s a large chunk of the population spending their days first flawlessly assembling IKEA furniture within minutes and then writing the next chart topping belter.
I confess to having had a small concern as to whether her live performance can carry the same kind of slightly gloomy electric charge of her recent record, but for once my worries proved unfounded- Aurora has a way of being both very present and very distant during the show, eternally surprised that people have turned out for her at all but also equally confident in her delivery.
For an artist with but one album, the set feels even and well balanced- it’s almost as if the fact that none of her songs have become ridiculously popular works in her favour, highlighting the value of each track and the cohesion of the entire performance. It’s probably still a bit early to tell what the future holds for Aurora, but it might be something akin to those mornings when the mist lifts over those now oft mentioned fjords: the horizon suddenly looks ridiculously bright and promising.
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