After the release of their 2005 self-titled album, Serena Maneesh spent a couple years on the road before heading back to the studio to record a follow-up. Feeling frustrated by the atmosphere in traditional studios, S-M mastermind Emile Nikolaisen headed underground -- literally, as S-M 2: Abyss in B Minor’s basic tracks were recorded in an underground cave outside of Oslo. After another year of recording all around the world and a painstaking eight days per track of mixing, the album was finally done.
New Musical Express (NME) - 70 Based on rating 3.5/5
Under the cloud of impending Conservative rule, a shitted economy and a BBC that’s frankly gone mad, you need a soundtrack that catches the mood of a nation. Step forward shoegaze miserablists [b]Serena Maneesh[/b]. Recorded in a cave near Oslo, natch, this gloriously dark second album begins with the dystopia of [b]‘Ayisha Abyss’[/b] – relentless drums and discordant keyboards with all the beauty of being trapped in an abandoned Siberian power station.
When Sufjan Stevens turned up in the credits to the self-titled 2006 debut from Norwegian fuzz-rockers Serena-Maneesh, it seemed pretty random-- his fresh-faced orch-pop being about a million vibe-levels removed from their nodded-out lurch. But now, four years later, S-M have finally gotten around to dropping a follow up, and hey, Sufjan's back again, adding barely perceptible instrumental flourishes (vibraphone, flute, piano) to the general maelstrom. Here Sufjan's presence makes a little bit more sense.
No.2: Abyss in B Minor. Interesting title. In more ways than one, it seems to recall Johann Sebastian Bach’s Mass in B Minor, a dark, somber baroque piece that came to life a year before his death. Though not related, both pieces of work seem to interweave in context - while Serena Maneesh seem to be on the verge of a creative breakthrough by creating their most unruly statement, Bach’s variety of compositional devices and progressions proved to be, at the time, a tour de force of natural ambience.
Back in 2006, I was ecstatic about the self-titled debut album from Norway’s Serena-Maneesh. Even though I did think the record tapered off somewhat after the astounding first four tracks into an indistinguishable din, I put the song “Selina’s Melodie Fountain” on a number of mix CDs for friends, and that song was in constant rotation in my CD player for a time as well. To me, that song made the album, and I would eagerly solicit feedback from my friends on my selection of choice.