2012 was a hell of a year for Søren Løkke Juul. The 33-year-old resident of Copenhagen, Denmark, began the year with a promising new project called Indians, and played his first show under this moniker in February. In March he published a low budget YouTube video for one of his songs which eventually got clicks from the folks at one of the foremost independent record labels - 4AD. It was the kind of break that every aspiring musician hopes for. By early September he was signed, but by then he was used to the excitement. He'd spent the summer gigging with the likes of Bear in Heaven, Other Lives, Lower Dens, Dan Deacon and Beirut.
But this is beside the point. What's important here is the record. Somewhere Else is one that is all about contrasting juxtapositions and combinations. The most obvious would be the combination of traditional acoustic guitar playing and occasional bowed string instrumentation with spacious synthesizer tones. More abstractly, there is the combination of great ambition with great modesty. The modesty lies not within what is obviously audible in terms of instrumentation and arrangement, but rather what isn't played, and that's what makes it distinctive. As the album progresses, one begins to understand the minimalist nature of its construction. If I had to give a quick Tweet-length description of how Somewhere Else sounds, I'd say it's kind of like the quiet bits in Sigur Ros songs that happen before or after the loud ones. While that's really not descriptive enough, it conveys the point that this record is about comfort. There's no unsettling crescendos with glorious release, but that's not a bad thing. It's far less draining and exhaustive than that practice. Indians is fine with cutting a track that is no more than a voice over a warped piano backed by some strings ("Melt"). The arrangement is effective, so what else is needed?
I've come up with a better description to describe how this record sounds, but it's quite a bit more conceptual. Remember how I said Somewhere Else is about comfort? What it really feels like is the tranquility that accompanies the sensation of waking or drifting in to sleep. As long as that feeling is in tact, nothing is wrong. When it ends, you're stuck with the outside world. I guess that's why there's a "Repeat" button.
Written by Tom Steffes, Radio K volunteer.