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August 31, 2011

Album Review: NM Kjeldsen ‘The Black Bear’ EP

by @thoughtontracks

I write about music for stories like this.  An idea turns into a project, the project transforms into a story, and this story gets shared to those fortunate enough to be within earshot. The audience for Indianapolis musician NM Kjeldsen is smaller than in should be. I was unfamiliar until a special exchange with a co-worker on a Friday afternoon. I would later learn that this all made too much sense.

Neil Kjeldsen is someone who embraces his passions and directs them towards a vision.  Although, I have never met Kjeldsen I also know that he is extremely appreciative of all of those that helped make ‘The Black Bear’ EP possible.  His promotional website reads more like a thank you card than a “BUY MY ALBUM NOW” listing.  Kjeldsen stands in the background and places his inspirations before himself.

This extremely admirable approach helps convey Kjeldsen’ message in a five-song EP entitled The Black Bear. Months in the making, the painstaking effort bares the mark of a perfectionist. Kjeldsen is responsible for every instrument on the album and mixing them into one. The Black Bear comes across as something much more dense than just a handful of songs. The lyrics project like a short story with the last few pages ripped out of the book’s spine.

Kjeldsen leaves a low dissonance at the end of his songs. The search for resolution is what captivates me about each track.  On my favorite song “Red & Round” Kjeldsen pleads:

If this is my future then I give up

I’ve been let dry empty my cup

I want to be weak but enough is enough

 This message of forthcoming uncertainty paired with the sound of frail loneliness broadcasts a major theme in The Black Bear.  The song’s ambiguous ending leaves me to question whether this is all that we’ll hear from Kjeldsen? These open-ended questions are a good thing for not only the audience but also NM Kjeldsen. Standing in the background is what made this possible in the first place. Support local music and purchase The Black Bear EP on his bandcamp site. Only $3!

Written by Brett McGrath.

***Word on the street is that Kjeldsen plays in some coffee shops in Fountain Square.  Please alert the Thought on Tracks team to any upcoming performances.  We will pass the word along.

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