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Em Støy, the multi-instrumentalist behind Fryktelig Støy (Norwegian: ‘Horrible Noise’), has recorded her debut long play, Disappointment. The album is a bleak confrontation of violence and betrayal, told through famous female muses to a blackened doom soundtrack – a tale of defiance and survivorship. Listen to Disappointment below.
Solo in the extreme, Støy wrote all songs, played all instruments, mixed the album and created the artwork.
Disappointment melds mythical and historical stories with contemporary and personal themes, the resulting j’accuse is a declaration of war on abuse and complacency. A shadow descends from the first note, drawing the listener into a lyrical labyrinth. By confronting those who failed the protagonist and weakness in the self, the character overcomes and overthrows everything that had held her down.
Each song pairs a factual, mythical or biblical female figure with a first-person narrative and musical accompaniment. The muses are loosely inspirational and the songs are not educational or didactic. The archetypes bind timeless and contemporary themes, pairing personal experiences with famous stories to create a framework that allows for layers of interpretation. The result is intellectually deep without being pretentious or arrogant.
Disappointment is being let down by the people who should have protected you, but surviving that disappointment and living on, standing in your own truth, cowed by no one.
Each song weaves its own way, largely ignoring the tradition of verses and choruses. Musical motifs are refracted through different intensities, moments of deliberate repetition are short, the music moving with the story to propel the listener towards the album’s conclusion – a delicate piano movement with a whispered curse. Unburdened by the necessity for live performance, the songs are free to build and break, float and fall, hold their breath and release.
Em is a veteran member of many bands; she is a distinctive drummer who uses dub and blast beats to create swing and motion, and plays an aggressive, atmospheric reverb-soaked and tremolo-picked guitar. On her primary instrument, bass, her performance is gritty and restrained. Her growled, whispered and screamed vocals provide each song with its own character within the concept piece. The resulting combination is a uniquely furious and unsettling musical presence.
As a solo project, Fryktelig Støy is a personal statement; Em is unapologetic, a survivor existing in her unedited, authentic form – this album is a giant act of defiance in a world that can omit women from history or render them invisible in the background.
The Disappointment album is mournful, scornful, grim, heavy, swinging on a back beat, black, bleak, defiant, and is not what you were expecting.