Another from the Propeller label – quite appropriate for a band with that name I suppose – Imitating Aeroplanes is a project of Tord Øverland (Uurrverland, you remember from last week’s lesson?) Knudsen (The Wombats) and Marius Drogsås Hagen (Team Me) who collectively have put out five albums, and have garnered domestic (Norway) and international success, including a Norwegian Grammy Award and multiple NME/MTV Award nominations.
Childhood music-writing friends, they pitched up separately in Tokyo, where they got together and wrote a forthcoming album, Planet Language, which will be released on 22nd September.
Hourglass is the first single from it and is inspired by Japanese folklore figure Urashima Tarō – the protagonist of an 8th-century legend about a fisherman who visits the underwater palace of Ryūjin (Dragon God) and, upon returning to his village, finds himself 300 years in the future. The character is also used as a metaphor for someone who feels lost in a world that has changed without them.
Marius Hagan says, “The lyric is kinda dark, but it’s optimistic in the sense of just living in the now, and always looking forward and making the most of this small fragment of time that we have.”
The main hook is comprised of mandolaika – a mandolin/balalaika hybrid – with the original recording in Marius’ parent’s basement surviving the final album cut.
The album as a whole was influenced by a number of ‘prog nights’ accompanied by copious amounts of red wine, in which the likes of Genesis, Yes, Pink Floyd and King Crimson were played repeatedly. And yes, you can hear bits of all those bands in this song without concentrating too hard. Occasionally it’s infuriating. I just can’t figure out where I’ve heard the sound that comes in at 0:26 before. On a Genesis album somewhere I think but I can’t pin down which one.
It’s a pleasant little song, not too demanding and slightly psychedelic. It’s probably best listened to at three o’clock in the morning with something marginally illegal between your lips. It certainly makes me want to give the full album a good hearing.
The duo’s first live performance is on 8th August at an offshoot of the Øya Festival in Oslo. An extensive tour is promised but whether or not it includes UK dates is not as yet revealed.