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Music | Review: “Live at Tøyenkirken” by Hanne Kolstø

Hanne Kolstø-Live

Rarely does a live album transcend into a work more captivating than its original polished work when listening in a studio state of mind. Hanne Kolstø has tried with a live album spanning five works of her pop music, performing acoustic versions from the altar at the Tøyen church in Oslo.

Formed from an idea in 2014, when the Henie Onstad Art Centre asked her to perform with Andreas Stensland Løwe, who would join her in interpreting and arranging some songs from her catalogue.

Tracks like ‘Blank-O’ and ‘La-La-La-La Lovesong’ give the Sharon Van Etten vibe but even at that, it is more Saint Sister without the harmonies. Dark and brooding. It is simplistic pop melodies but toned down to reflect minimalist arrangement in a venue that is filled by Hanne’s voice.

‘Black Hand’ is lifting with the synth that is added and there are tracks on this record that offer variety.  Even if all songs are about love in some form, does that make them harder to stomach when so tearful and longing as they sound on only a piano? Nah, sorry, like a lot of things you can find beauty in anything so this is no exception. Taking in the uncertainty, it is possible to make something of it just as Hanne has, broken and all.

“Live at Tøyenkirken” was recorded and mixed by Øyvind Røsrud Gundersen during autumn 2015 and is out on Jansen Plateproduksjon now