Binaerpilot's “Nordland” is an electronic music concept album about, to quote an official description, “human adolescence” and “reflections on abandonment, opposition, but most of all joy.” The concept is reminiscent of some aspects of post-modernism, but takes all of its pretentious aspects in ironic stride. The album has a single core style that is present in every track, however, every single track goes off in a different stylistic direction. For example, the beginning track, “aXXo”, takes the album's brunt of low fidelity sound.
aXXo is a song about idolizing figures that fade away into obscurity. It has a very simple, repeating progression, yet makes up for it with a fitting amount of melodic and rhythmic changes. The lyrics are extremely emotional, adolescent, and yet well-written. The song stands as a very fitting introduction to the rest of the album, especially since its concept is related to how I interpret the next track, “Tjaere For Alltid”, (meaning ‘Tar Forever’) as being about Big Oil's influence on modern society. aXXo's subject material is connected to file sharing, so in a very easy extrapolation, both songs are about discontentment with corporations' power. Tar Forever is a very simple dance song, in contrast to aXXo's dark instrumentation and broken-up progression. If I had to pick a “most plain” track on this album, this would be it.
The next pair of songs are less ‘rebellious’, being “Forte Da Funk” and “Geeks”. Forte Da Funk is an uplifting instrumental track that is mostly notable for a focus on melodic progression and excessive harmony, with a style very strong emphasis on switching between note changes sliding and not sliding. It pairs well with Geeks, which is a song about, well, geeks partying. Its lyrics are no more complicated than “All the geeks / Shout out / Play this track fucking loud / Let's bring this beat / To the edge of the crowd”, and pulls itself through well by having the most diverse succession of styles of any song on the album. Like Tar Forever, it has a simple progression repeated most of the way through it. However, the stylistic and texture variation prevent it from becoming stale.
I will spare you excessive analysis of each song on the middle segment of the album. Each song from five to eight has its ups and downs. In my opinion, “Elektroll” and “Penguin” are the better two tracks of the four. Tracks 5-7, “Underground”, Penguin, and “Draugen” are all easy to conceptually understand, and all easily fit in with the theme of adolescent reminiscence. I don’t understand Elektroll, as it has no lyrics and I can’t crack what the title means, and the instrumentation is very dynamic and has some kind of ‘reprise’ of its styles very often, as well as not having emotional congruency to the melody or beat. It’s very chaotic, in an orderly way. Parts of it are carnival-like, some are almost symphonic, and others are almost depressive, and some segments are similar to the previous track, Draugen (meaning ‘Ghosts’) and some very similar to the next track, “Røykmaskin” (meaning ‘Smoke Machine’). I would rank it as a top-level song if it were more conceptually plain.
Røykmaskin, the second-to-last song progresses in a very predictable yet powerful fashion. Its introduction begins with minor melodies laid on top of eachother augmented with sliding notes, then that breaks apart into a more percussively intense segment of looping upwards progression and the lyric “Can you see truth in a smoke machine?” repeated twice each per phrase. This is followed by a looping descending melodic progression with similar percussive reliance, that breaks apart into something more like the intro, with sliding notes and progressing off-beat blasts of something that sounds quasi-symphonic. Then, the lyrics “When the tower is complete / We’ll climb up to the top / And look across the sea / But there’s nothing to be found / Only shadows of ideas / In the world of the sun.” I’ve tried to interpret this in a clear way, but at best I can only narrow it down to two things. One, a metaphor for delusion in a wishful, dreamy relationship. Two, a fictional story of a society whose people had a single, congruent goal and meaning, that eventually turned out to be meaningless. While the second interpretation is more direct, it’s less fitting to the concept of the album. In fact, the first interpretation is very fitting, with the best song, “Nordland”, the title track of the album, being about looking back on a dreamy relationship. It’s my favorite song on the album, with a normal-feeling structure and a very, very impressive ending breakdown. Its lyrics say “Do you remember going out / When we would scream, ever so softly? / Those dreams are all gone, now / And we have grown up ever so slightly.” It’s a very, very good way to end the album, both from a conceptual standpoint and an emotional standpoint, especially with my first interpretation of the previous track, as it then represents non-bitter nostalgia of a very human thing.
1 - aXXo
3 - Forte Da Funk
4 - Geeks
9 - Røykmaskin
10 - Nordland
6 - Penguin (Rachael's Theme)
8 - Elektroll
3 - Tjaere For Alltid
5 - Underground
7 - Draugen