AS THE TIRED TRAINS CROSS EUROPE-LUCID MOMENTS.

AS THE TIRED TRAINS CROSS EUROPE-LUCID MOMENTS.

“Don’t believe the hype.” So sung Public Enemy in 1988. They could’ve been describing some of press releases that come the way of music critics. That’s not the case with the press release that accompanied the forthcoming album from As The Tired Trains Cross Europe. Their debut album Lucid Moments will be released by Big Pink Records, a new Norwegian label on the 18th September 2015. Big Pink Records and Vegard Eggum, the man behind As The Tired Trains Cross Europe take a refreshing approach to press releases. It combines honesty, modesty, mystery and brevity. Unlike some record companies I’ve come across.

Usually, when an artist or band sends an album to be reviewed, it comes complete with a press release about the artist’s achievements. Sometimes it runs to several pages. Occasionally, the press release is the equivalent to a novella. By the time a critic has ploughed through the artist’s achievements, they’re fully expecting a Grammy Award winning album. Sadly, though, they’re often disappointed. 

What they discover is an album of third rate hip hop or nu soul. Most critics have experienced this. They’re left feeling disappointed and deflated. It’s at this time like this, that Johnny Rotten’s quote “do you ever feel you’ve been conned?” rings true. Sadly, certain labels are famous for over-egging the musical pudding. Others labels, including Big Pink Records take a very different approach. That’s to be welcomed.

Big Pink Records will be a new name to most people. There’s a reason for this. It’s a new label.The Norwegian label is so new, that it’s yet to release an album. They’ll rectify that on 18th September 2015, when Big Pink Records release Lucid Moments, the debut album from As The Tired Trains Cross Europe. This is a new project from Vegard Eggum. Lucid Moments  came complete with a press release that took a new and welcome approach. 

It was a mixture of modesty and mystery. It was also brevity personified. There was no wading through page after page of information. This had me hooked. I wanted to know more about As The Tired Trains Cross Europe’s debut album Lucid Moments. 

What better way to find out about the making of Lucid Moments, than to find out from the man behind As The Tired Trains Cross Europe, Vegard Eggum. Modestly, Vegard Eggum described how “As The Tired Trains Cross Europe started life as a studio experiment.” It was just: “one guy, no rules and a hundred ideas.” 

Ideas were something Vegard Eggum had in abundance. That’s not surprising. Vegard Eggum’s life has revolved around music. Growing up, a disparate selection of artists have helped shape, inspire and influence Vegard Eggum musically. Vegard Eggum explains who he was: “inspired by David Bowie, Flaming Lips, Beck and King Crimson.” This lead to Vegard Eggum embarking on a career as a musician.

Since then, Vegard Eggum has been a member of Meadows and Io, Sightseers and the Ulf Myrvold Band. However, despite enjoying life as a member of a band, Vegard Eggum was determined to put some of his “hundred ideas” into practice. So. Vegard Eggum decided to begin a new chapter in his carer

This latest chapter in Vegard Eggum’s career began at his Happy Hunting Studio. With a myriad of instruments and effects for company, Vegard Eggum got to work. By then, he had already written ten tracks. Soon, Vegard Eggum was playing all the instruments and adding vocals. Vegard Eggum also took charge of production and mixed Lucid Moments. However, when Vegard Eggum started, there was a sense of the unknown.

Vegard Eggum describes how he: “hit record just to see how far he could take it on his own. There was no real mission, no real plan, only the need to create.” The result was Lucid Moments a musical journey through the conscious and unconscious mind of Vegard Eggum.” This was no ordinary journey. Vegard Eggum describes it as “a dark yet colourful road filled with hope, wonder and fantastically great songs.” That’s no exaggeration, as you’ll realise when I tell you about Lucid Moment.

Velvet Maze opens As The Tired Trains Cross Europe’s debut album Lucid Moments. Straight away, the rhythm section combine, laying down a loping, dramatic arrangement. They’re joined by pans and percussion. As pans quiver and shiver, Vegard Eggum slowly and deliberately delivers the lyrics. He combines power and passion, delivering the lyrics with feeling. By then, Vegard sounds uncannily like David Bowie. Everyone they say, has a doppleganger. The Thin White Duke’s is Vegard Eggum. Later, he adds harmonies as Velvet Maze continues to draw the listen in. Resistance is impossible. Constantly, Velvet Maze teases and tantalises with its glorious genre-melting sound. Elements of eighties electronica, Krautrock, pop, post rock, psychedelia, reggae and rock can be heard as this musical adventure begins.

It continues with the ballad The Battles That We Escape. Just a crystalline guitar rings out, before tender harmonies give way to Vegard’s heartfelt vocal. When Vegard’s vocal drops out, it’s just the guitar. That’s all that’s needed. Anything else would be overkill. It’s only once the vocal returns that, the arrangement shares its secrets. Gradually, it builds. The rhythm section join the guitar, with the bass adding a moody sound. This reflects the cinematic lyrics. Vegard sings of dreams, escaping from battles, dining with kings and queens and even armageddon. It’s truly a musical journey through the conscious and unconscious mind of Vegard Eggum.”

There’s a sense of urgency as the rhythm section drive the arrangement to Enemy along. This urgency is apparent as Vegard delivers the vocal. He sings of the: “enemy that haunts me, creeping up behind me, short sword stabbing me.” His fear seems real. Sometimes, it comes close to paranoia. Especially, as he sings my soul is dying, tell me it’s not just me?” This fear and paranoia continues to make its presence felt: “cannibal torture, eating out my inner orchard, eating out my inner me.” The way Vegard Eggum delivers the lyrics his fear seems very real. It’s as if he’s lived the lyrics, and his delivery of them is a cathartic cleansing, where he releases his inner demons.

From the opening bars of the wistful sounding East Vs. West  Vegard Eggum has the listener hooked. It’s just Vegard and his trusty guitar. He plays slowly and deliberately. Sometimes, there’s a country-tinged sound. Mostly, it’s as if Vegard is choosing every chord with the utmost care. Then he delivers a probing vocal, as he wonders: “why my soul turned to the east?” He can’t seem to work out why? That’s when Vegard adds ethereal harmonies. It’s as if he’s still trying to work out “why my soul turned to the east?” The question seems to haunt Vegard, who delivers an impassioned, despairing vocal. This vocal sounds like John Lennon circa Double Fantasy and Milk and Honey.

As Wives and Children unfolds, it has an understated, airy sound. Drums clap twice and Vegard strums his guitar. Soon, he’s delivering a tender, heartfelt vocal of family life. All isn’t well as Vegard paints pictures with his lyrics. Later, there’s a sense of urgency as harmonies and a guitar are added. When the vocal drops out, Vegard stretches his legs, becoming a one man band. When his vocal returns, it’s best described as a soul-baring confessional. What’s essentially a roller coaster of emotions continues to unfold, before reaching a poignant crescendo.

Gold Rush has a harder, rockier sound. This comes courtesy of the rhythm section and guitars. Similarly, Vegard’s vocal has a tougher sound. That’s until the arrangement takes on a captivating, melodic sound. Then Vegard’s vocal becomes hopeful, heartfelt and needy. Cooing harmonies and tinkling keyboards have been added. By then, it’s obvious that hooks certainly haven’t been rationed. It’s another irresistible and cinematic sounding track that shares its secrets over four melodic minutes.

Tender and With Soft Lies is the only track where Vegard didn’t play every instrument. Annema Fromyhr Eggum was drafted in to play the cello. That’s still to come. Before that, the arrangement has a slow, deliberate and rocky sound. There’s more than a nod to Neil Young. It’s just Vegard and his needy, hurt-filled vocal. He’s been betrayed, and his hurt shows. Behind him, a the rhythm section and harmonies seem to have been inspired by The Travelling Wilburys. The harmonies add a melodic hue. Then the wistful sound of the cello reflects Vegard’s hurt and pain. Later, the arrangement takes a diversion via jazz, post rock and rock. This shows musical adventurers Vegard Eggum’s determined to innovate, and to create music that’s both melodic and emotive.

Just a lone acoustic guitar opens Secret Doors. Stylistically, this picking style reminds me of Nick Drake. It sets the scene for what’s an impassioned, tender vocal. With just the acoustic guitar accompanying the vocal, it allows the listener to focus on the lyrics as the arrangement meanders along. That’s until Vegard’s dramatic interjection. His vocal soars above the arrangement. Mostly, though Secret Doors has an understated, minimalist and folk-tinged sound sound. However, that’s all that’s needed to frame the vocal and showcase Vegard Eggum’s versatility.

Washes of synths accompany Vegard’s guitar and needy vocal on Lucid Moments/Lone Birds. As arrangement quivers and shivers, it takes on an almost futuristic, sci-fi sound. This doesn’t overpower the arrangement. Instead, it compliments Vegard’s vocal. Then after two minutes, As The Tired Trains Cross Europe kick loose. The arrangement grows in power and drama. Drums pound, hypnotic harmonies chant and a myriad of disparate sounds combine. Seamlessly, they make sense as this song of two parts takes shape over five captivating minutes.

Mountain closes Lucid Moments, the first album from As The Tired Trains Cross Europe. Guitars shimmer, drums pound and Vegard delivers a thoughtful vocal. There a sense of sadness and inevitability in his voice. He sings of relationship that’s ending, but warn that it’ll never really be over. Nowhere to hide your soul, it is everyone you meet…no escaping your actions, you’ll never go back in time.” Behind the vocal, a slow, sombre and mesmeric arrangement provides the perfect accompaniment. They’re like yin and yang, as the first musical adventure from As The Tired Trains Cross Europe draws to a close, leaving you wanting more.

That’s no bad thing. Nowadays, albums are often sprawling affairs featuring fifteen or more tracks. That’s totally unrealistic. No artist can write, record and produce fifteen quality tracks. That’s asking too much. As The Tired Trains Cross Europe realised that, and for their debut album Lucid Moments, Vegard Eggum penned ten tracks.

These tracks were recorded at Vegard Eggum’s Happy Hunting Studio. They became As The Tired Trains Cross Europe’s debut album Lucid Moments, which will be released by Big Pink Records on 18th September 2015. Lucid Moments is the work of “one guy, no rules and a hundred ideas.” 

That’s how Vegard Eggum the man behind As The Tired Trains Cross Europe describes the making of Lucid Moments. Modestly, Vegard describes how he: “hit record just to see how far he could take it on his own. There was no real mission, no real plan, only the need to create.” The result was Lucid Moments: “a musical journey through the conscious and unconscious mind of Vegard Eggum.” This was no ordinary journey. Vegard Eggum describes it as “a dark yet colourful road filled with hope, wonder and fantastically great songs.” That’s no exaggeration.

As The Tired Trains Cross Europe is the perfect showcase for the the multi-talented Vegard Eggum. He wrote, recorded, produced and mixed the ten tracks on Lucid Moments. It’s a musical roller coaster, where As The Tired Trains Cross Europe flits between and combines elements of country, electronica, folk, jazz, Krautrock, Nordic Wave, pop, post rock, psychedelia, reggae and rock. The result is a musical journey that all music loves should experience and embrace.

Over Lucid Moments’ ten tracks, Vegard Eggum becomes storyteller and troubadour. He embraces these roles, delivering vocals that are variously cathartic, heartfelt, hopeful, hurt-filled, impassioned, needy and soul-baring. Lyrics come to life, as Vegard Eggum lives them, on Lucid Moments, the debut album from his latest musical vehicle, As The Tired Trains Cross Europe. This is the perfect way to launch Norway’s latest record label, Big Pink Records.

Norway is home to some of the best independent record labels in Europe. Hubro Music and Rune Grammofon release music that’s ambitious, influential and innovative. They’ve been doing this for years. Now, Big Pink Records are about to follow in their footsteps. What better way to launch a new label, than with an album that, without doubt, is one of the best debut albums of 2015. It comes courtesy of As The Tired Trains Cross Europe, whose forthcoming debut album Lucid Moments, is a musical journey through the mind of musical adventurer and explorer Vegard Eggum. 

AS THE TIRED TRAINS CROSS EUROPE-LUCID MOMENTS.

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