I’m calling it a pReview, as Cleemann‘s release of 45 Minutes Mostly About Caring is not slated for official release until February 2009 at the earliest — a promo release featuring the cover below (by Franz Jacobi) was sent out in a limited batch in 2007 and 2008. Word on the street is that Series II Records, currently one of the best CD-R labels in the states, is planning a state-side release around 45 Minutes.
That will be amazing, as Cleemann’s music is about as unique and interesting as pop music comes. Cleemann is centered around Gunnar Cleemann, frontman of the band and master of pop far, far away from the Series II headquarters in rural Nebraska — Cleemann is from Copenhagen, Denmark.
I’ve got a sneak peek for you, another reason why this is called a pReview. I’ve heard the entire record and I strongly believe that it is brilliant. It’s filled with passion and personality — exactly what you want in a pop album — and at times reminds me (and this may be a slight stretch) of a cross between vocals by Antony And The Johnsons and/or Arco, backed by Kaada’s amazing orchestral direction (OK, maybe not Kaada through about half the album, but it sure makes me want to listen to that composer). It may be pop, but it’s got the instrumentation of something much darker. While classically based, at times it feels as though its filtered through an electronic haze.
Songs like “Ambitious” and “Righteous” demonstrate the pop element quite well, as do “Repairman”, “Absent Part 1” and virtually every song on 45 Minutes. There are, however, several times where Cleemann’s music seems almost unclassifiable, or at least distant from the genre of pop. The darkness in melody and various chords certainly further emphasize the relevance of that statement. Whatever way you look at it, and however you wish to classify the mystery that is Cleemann, it’s hard to deny that there’s something genius about his work.
Look for Cleemann on Series II records in the next few months. Oh, and if the final track ultimately confuses you, turn it up real loud for a totally experimental treat.
Cleemann: Righteous [mp3]
Cleemann: Ambitious [mp3]
Series Two Records [CD, 2009]
9. Absent Part 1
10. Absent Part 2
12. Absent Part 3