Serena Maneesh

“’Serena’ is an adaptation of the Norwegian word for veil...The name came out from this veil you can see, you can see the melody through a stressful storm of noise. That’s what I love about music – you can work with this veil. There is so much stress in the world, you know? Serena could also mean serenity, serene. There are all these connotations. Then you see glints -- you see something incredible, but it’s in the moment. It’s through this veil. ‘Maneesh’ is a rewriting of the Norwegian word manesje, which is the area around a stage. Sirkus Merano, remember that? We later found out it was also the Hindu Lord of the Mind. But it is more a picture…if you look at a stage in a circus or opera, there’s an area surrounding the stage containing a lot of elements. Small, subtle elements that make the stage presence that much more powerful. That’s incredible. If you take that to the sound world…The whole thing is talking about the sound elements...For that reason, it's perfect. If ever two words conjured the elemental nature of this band’s sound, they are Serena-Maneesh” (Emil Nikolaisen)

Back in 2005, Norwegians Serena Maneesh presented their self-titled, full-length debut. Eleven songs that slid down a razor’s edge of distortion and pop whimsy, raucous guitar work and underwater static, angelic voices and primal screams. The strange melodies were strikingly original, yet struck to the heart of something familiar: a classic rock guitar lick, a wound, a kiss.

Inspired by everything from Southern blues via Neu! to Gershwin, Serena Maneesh is as much about exploring sound as crafting song. Working in both horizontal and vertical layers, head musician Emil Nikolaisen creates tuneful paradoxes, infinite yet time-bound. His meticulous compositions balance whispery female vocals and underlying violin with driving guitar rock, distorted samples, and chant-like repetition. Tracks such as “Sapphire Eyes” begin and end in liquid noise; in between guitars shriek and shatter, angels sing, and a snare beats along in cinque-pace time.

A new album is forthcoming in 2009.

Serena Maneesh also played at...

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