Norwegian singer/songwriter Ane Brun knows how her music should exist. Writing her music wasn’t enough. She also runs her own record company — DetErMine Records — co-owned with fellow Norwegian musician Ellekari Larsson and her band The Tiny. To own a record label so early in her career says a lot about the kind of music that Ane wants to make. No pressure to appease the label execs. No pressure to sell loads of albums.
On her sophomore album A Temporary Dive, Ane glides effortlessly in-between gloom and refreshment. The themes of the songs are direct, but are well hidden beneath such an original voice that it’s hard to become dour while listening to them. The opening track “To Let Myself Go” is so honest in its lesson about life that it can’t be anything but useful: “To let myself go / To let myself flow / Is the only way of being.” Other songs can sidestep the issue, but none will be as helpful in telling you that being yourself is the best course.
Without the distractions of instrumental clutter, Ane is able to better capture the honesty of her words. In “My Lover Will Go,” the minimal instrumentals heighten the reality of love and how hurtful it can be: “Too many long summer nights / I've been checking for errors on the telephone lines.”
The simplicity of her music is also very much evident in “Temporary Dive”, in which Ane is mainly accompanied by a guitar. This song is a reminder that “we sometimes fall into dark holes in our lives” and the song’s lack of instrumentals other than a guitar tells us that when we do fall, it is sometimes caused by our own feelings of loneliness. This kind of isolation carries on to “This Voice”, where someone tries to put himself into a box that no one can open.
Handling rejection is a recurring theme throughout the album. In “Rubber & Soul,” Ane sings with Teitur about metaphorically protecting oneself from heartbreak: “And these rubber bands round my soul / They keep me from falling.” But she does break away from that somber theme with the delightful folk duet “Song No. 6” with Ron Sexsmith. Written for a wedding, Ane wanted a happy love song. What she ended up with is an upbeat jumble of words and feelings, which love — at best — can only be described with.
It’s hard to imagine that the same pleasant voice in “Song No. 6” is the same haunting voice in the depressing “Laid In Earth.” You will never hear a better voice that single-handedly captures any mood like Ane’s.