As I understand it, Sweeden’s Nattavaara Rocks, the sole project of a fellow who prefers to remain anonymous, has released only two EP’s, ‘Linger Through A Winter’—and this: ‘File Under Debris’. Both on Lostheron. I’m having an incredible rousing feeling up inside me that I would like to call excitement. I would like to call it excitement because I hope, though a couple years apart, these two releases are just the beginning of longer, more frequent releases from this unnamed Swede.
Yet, trudging through some old Digitalis reviews, this appears to not be the case. Magnus Shaefer noted that the press release accompanying Linger Through A Winter passively informs “not being such a productive musician and fastidious, ‘Linger Through a Winter’ took him three years to complete.” I don’t know what to do with this feeling, this intense want for more from Nattavaara Rocks. Is it that the little eleven minute, three inch ‘File Under Debris’ ends so suddenly that you are confused and almost saddened? Maybe it’s the short transition in ‘Frail Stakes and a Fierce Brute’, as the soft electronics and guitar begin to soar and the calm male vocals enter, that you would like for this to last much, much longer. I don’t know anything about the origins of this band name, anything about this person, there is no wordy, worthless press release or statement or message. Last night I watched Akira Kurosawa’s Ikiru (‘to live’) which took a patient, beautiful 143 minutes to unfold its deeply resonant message regarding the brevity of life and our need to do, at least, one thing meaningful in it. Every shot was delicate and lingering: it takes a long time, an excruciatingly long time for the protagonist, Wantanabe-San, to say things sometimes. But you wait, you wait with him and every frame of his face is rife with importance. Maybe it is that ‘File Under Debris’ says all this in eleven minutes. That it can be such a delicate and restrained affair and yet just be so full of beauty in such a small, small period of time. What an aphoristic way of making music. To say so much (of what I’m still deciding) in so little time—but so listlessly almost, an eleven minutes that you are surprised is so, so short. I haven’t heard ‘Linger Through A Winter’—but three years for such a short breath of music to manifest doesn’t seem lazy, its seems miraculous, it seems intensely right.
‘File Under Debris’ might, offhandedly, sound like the flush guitar and string prefixes of songs by, say, The National. Folksy, meditative, Americana. But the plucking is a bit more all over the place, quilted, the percussion is gone, the vocals a bit more subdued, hushed. And, shockingly unlike big-shots The National, so well produced. On occasion, around on some sweaty errand, I’ve walked past places where pleasant, interesting music was playing and kicked myself later for not stopping—similar things occur with various college radio stations on long road trips. But to have the physical media—this clever stack of postcards of black and white faded buildings and tracklist, wrapped in a grey sleeve with a little envelope that houses the disc—and still have this feeling like there is a great deal more of this that I need, even if I’ve listened to these eleven minutes about 7 times. Somewhere in Sweden this man delicately crafts his little tunes, biding his time, and that I am cursed to desire more of this music seems almost cruelly ironic. Perhaps the message is to take as I have been given. Yet, at the end of Ikiru, all the bureaucrats who at Wantanabe-San’s wake pledged to do something important with their lives, too, simply go back to the status quo, which is to say, doing nothing. 9/10 -- John Ganiard (17 June, 2009)