Norway's Silje Nes has a wealth of musical experience in her background, including classical piano training and time spent as an orchestral timpanist, marching band drummer, and indie pop musician, but the pieces on Ames Room, her debut album, shied away from her formalist musical past for a more exploratory, unsophisticated, evocative approach, using instruments (guitar, cello, loop pedals) and techniques (four-track and laptop recording) with which she'd had limited previous experience.
Raised in a small town on the largest fjord in Norway, Nes moved to Bergen, a central hub of the country's music scene, in 2000 to study philosophy. Shortly thereafter she began experimenting with home recordings, at first primarily instrumental and electronic, but increasingly incorporating her hushed, dreamy vocals, gently plucked electric guitar, and live drums. An unsolicited demo caught the attention of FatCat Records, home to sympathetically minded sonic tinkerers like Múm
and Mice Parade
, which released Ames Room -- a collection of material spontaneously created and recorded between 2004 and 2007 -- internationally in January 2008, with a North American release and the digital-only Yellow EP (culled from the same period) following in March. Prior to that time, Nes had played very few live performances, and in fact had rarely even shared her music with friends, but she toured extensively around the album's release, including a series of U.S. dates with the Dodos
. Her 2010 album Opticks was more polished, but was also crafted in Nes' home studio. ~ K. Ross Hoffman, Rovi