Be Svendsen-“Between A Smile And A Tear”: Album Review

Be Svendsen has had a busy 2018. He’s been touring the world since January, playing the main stages at Tomorrowland, BPM Mexico, Fusion Festival Germany, BOOM Festival Portugal, Robot Heart Burning Man, Get Lost Miami, DGTL Amsterdam, Secret Garden Party UK, Oregon Eclipse and Rainbow Serpent Australia, among others. He has recordings on Crosstown Rebels and All Day I Dream and has earned the support from the likes of Pete Tong, Black Coffee and Kenneth Bager among others. 

Every release from Be last year landed in various top 15 Beatport charts. Interestingly and despite all these accomplishments, Svendsen remains virtually unknown. I have a feeling that is all about to change. Around the end of October, Be Svendsen and Music for Dreams released the full-length album “Between A Smile And A Tear.” 

Throughout the ten tracks, you are taken on rollercoaster ride of varying moods. From chill and melancholic to the dramatic and cinematic. One thing that is consistent throughout the album is Be’s self-described “Tarantino Techno” styling and its “dessert-tech” inspired sounds, ranging from the subtle to the “in your face” and everything in-between. “Between A Smile And A Tear” conveys and documents Be Svendsen’s thoughtful and complex writing, masterful instrumentation and vocal usage, displaying a collection of songs representing a new and modernized take on “Spaghetti Western” styled music. Guitars, wood percussion instruments and strings are mixed with electronics, ambience and tempos of all speeds, keeping you on the edge, anticipating the next track with moments of surprise and brilliance. 

The album highlights include the opener “Falling,” “Drop The Gun,” “Andromeda,” “Hazy Eyes,” “Le Piroguier” and “October Letters.” For those that appreciate exquisite instrumental songwriting, the title track “Between A Smile And A Tear” and “Day 3” shine a spotlight on Svendsen’s soundtrack’esque writing skills. Readers should listen to the album a couple of times to fully embrace the ride Svendsen takes them on. Futuristic? Yes. Mysterious? Yes. Cinematic? Yes. Moreover, the diverse range of beats, rhythms, feels and moods make for a wild-west musical adventure. 

There is also something to be said for the album’s track list order. From open to close, the music flows seemlessly creating a modernistic that western tinged theme that compels attention and repeat plays. 

I commend Kenneth Bager and the MFD team for consistently releasing interesting and diverse albums that surprise and always end up as enjoyable listens. “Between A Smile And A Tear” continues in that tradition and demonstrates a true passion between the artist and the label for releasing music that is cutting edge, experimental and accessible. 

—JOSEPH WENSELL

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