Everyone’s favourite Swan has finally done what people have been long been clamouring for: a grand project of his very own devising. Thor & Friends features the beardy multi-instrumentalist leading pals from A Hawk & A Hacksaw and Deerhoof through some compositions with mallet percussion at their core. Thor & Friends augments the classic pulse of minimalism with plenty of other wonderful instrumentation too: nice one Thor.
9/10 Clinton Staff review, 20 October 2016
Thor is that big dude you see bashing bits of percussion at latter day Swans gigs. His first solo work however (alongside friends from the likes of A Hawk & A Hacksaw and Deerhoof) is a total surprise and begs the question how a man this big and hairy can make music so delicate.
The album is a series of lovely incantations of plucked and hit things which brings to mind the more tuneful end of the Steve Reich/Terry Reilly axis. 'Whose Fingers' in particular is swoon-some, slowly building out of a series of squeaky ringing things it adds accordion, percussion and treated bells to create a glacial repeating piece that glistens in the autumn sun. The waltz of 'Crusades' swings along with marimba and stretched violin notes whilst 'Slow Prisoner' is a rare use of vocals as a breathy female voice sweeps in.
So many lovely moments, so little time to tell you about them but if you love the circling, melodic minimal composition of Philip Glass and the avant chamber folk of the likes of Colleen and Isnaj Dui and neo-classicists such as Max Richter then this is this week's album for you.
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