Album Title: Orgelmusikken fra deUSYNLIGE - organ music from the sound track Troubled Water
Performer: Iver Kleive, pipe organ
Label: 2L
Playing time: 52'06"
Recorded: Bergen Cathedral, Norway – June 2007
Format: Hybrid Multichannel SACD

2L specializes in unusual recordings and this latest pipe organ issue changes nothing about these adventurous Norwegian's production rules. The backdrop here is the soundtrack to Troubled Water. As it is first and foremost a motion picture canvas, I could not have written a proper review without also watching the movie even though it certainly wasn't mandatory to appreciate the music. Do I believe organists to be ordinary people? Certainly not. And this one must have been predisposed to a certain craziness for picking such a giant instrument so particularly dedicated to religion and then play on it such outré material. How much more out there could one approach Simon & Garfunkel’s "Bridge Over Troubled Water" as a main theme, then take a furious sudden detour through a self-composed toccata?

This effort reminded me of Olivier Vernet‘s Organ Dances produced by Ligia Digit. Vernet might have added the occasional touch of madness to his music but very seriously illustrated the fact that the pipe organ also served popular music not that long ago.

As is the case with Ligia Digit productions, 2L delivers great sound engineering and seems to have excellently captured the Bergen Cathedral’s acoustic climate. Erik Poppe’s movie recounts the story of Jan Thomas, a man who spent eight years in the nick for killing a young boy. Upon release, he returns to his former home town and, of all things, takes on the job as church organist. He soon falls in love with Anna, the church’s pastor but happy days don’t last when the murdered child’s mother shows up at church and recognizes the killer.

Since the main character is an organist, much of the soundtrack is organ music. To revisit it, 2L recruited organist and composer Iver Kleive whose approach of the spiritual and cathartic dimensions of each piece is perfectly convincing. Listening to pipe organ music is personally often a challenge when dealing with a full album of particularly dense and profound material. This was definitely not the case here as the musical sequence is ideally balanced between calm and more troubled numbers.

Kleive's prior experience with both church music and Jazz was undoubtedly helpful to here find the correct association between music and movie. The result is truly successful. More than just about contemporary organ music, this hybrid SACD to me was an opportunity to discover the talented composer Iver Kleive. I particularly enjoyed his personal arrangements of "Velt alle dine veie" and his own composition "Sarah". For pipe organ lovers, an interesting detail will be that the 61-stop instrument of Bergen's Cathedral was built by Rieger Orgelbau in 1997. Enjoy.