Einar Stray is member, participator and child of the whole Oslo Everything-with-music-and-friendship - bunch. And with "Chiaroscuro" he certainly proves the collective’s potency. Strings, guitars and choir vocals elaborately add to Stray’s sparkling piano play and his gently drifting singing; all of those merging into a vivid kind of music. Still they defer to the 20 year old Stray; just as the Illinoisemakers do to Sufjan Stevens, the many jinglers do to Sigur Rós soloist Jónsi, the wohle Saddle Creek to their Bright Eyes.
Seven tracks, fifty minutes: "Chiroscuro" is an outreaching gesture. The attempt must fail, but it does with grace and beauty: sing-along-choruses for the soul, tap-along-rhytthms for the heart, dramatic rides through dramatic landscapes, pretty Liebesperlen fit into cracky snow globes, noise eruptions and eternal beauty, mind-tearing weights and solace by the gallon. "Chiaroscuro" is door, document, snow globe and, well, chiaroscuro. And storm flood on top, no queue of metaphers can prepare you for. Just hurl yourselve into it!