16 by Einar SolbergRelease date: June 2, 2023
Label: InsideOut Music
The stroke of a match has lit the fuse for Leprous’ own Einar Solberg as he unleashes his solo debut for 2023. He has been the co-founder of Leprous for 22 years. And despite various line-up changes, the band are Norway’s expansion between metal, alternative, art, and prog with unbelievable results. But for co-founder Einar Solberg, he dips his toes into the waters of ambition. And his big dream has finally come to life in all of its glory.
16 is one of those debuts that just grabs your spine, and it’ll have you holding on for dear life. Collaborating with Bent Knee’s Ben Levin, Agent Fresco’s Tóti Guðnason, Cellist and Leprous live musician Raphael Weinroth-Browne, and Gåte’s Magnus Børmark, Einar has brought out a dark and tragic debut that’ll be talked about in the years to come.
The walk into the unknown throughout the opening title-track, sets up the intense atmosphere as Raphael’s cello brings forth a Morse code-like response to the heart beating bass, and militant drum exercises to witness the sun coming over the horizon.
‘A Beautiful Life’ is a rumbling earthquake, waiting to erupt at any second with elements of Gazpacho in a form of fighting for the future, that is approaching as ‘Where All the Twigs Broke’ becomes piano raindrops in an operatic form, detailing a disturbing scenery of a murder crime gone horribly wrong.
‘Metacognitive’ details the themes of paranoia as we go inside the person’s mind, knowing that someone is out to kill him, inside the loony bin. There’s a sense of tragedy, sadness, feeling trapped, whirlpools of terror, and electro-beats raising the temperature levels up.
‘Home’ goes into the steampunk styles of 1930s era of Swinging Jazz while Einar transforms himself into the forms of Cab Calloway and Steven Wilson, rolled into one. It seems bizarre, but it works very well as the future becomes a cliffhanger scenario before Levin raps this poetic imagery coming to life as pays tribute to both Chuck D of Public Enemy and The Last Poets.
‘Grotto’ sees Solberg diving into the Lonely Robot’s territory with John Mitchell’s lyrical structures as Børmark’s arrangements on his synths, become a dangerous tightrope going from one corner to another. Compositions aside, 16 is Einar’s blooming flower, ready to be unfold.
The light itself has been lit throughout the gorgeous structures of tragedy and high-octane vocals that Einar has brought to the kitchen table.