Teitur

Teitur: Over

If we're lucky the pathways and coincidences of life will lead us to the right place at the right time. And, sometimes, at that right place and time, there will be a key that unlocks our feelings.With his Universal Records debut, Teitur takes a giant step in a continuing journey - and he invites us along in Poetry & Aeroplanes, one of the most accomplished and emotionally engaging albums in recent memory.The album's highlights identify Teitur immediately as a greatly gifted writer and performer in the singer-songwriter tradition. "Sleeping With the Lights On" and "You're the Ocean" are evocative snapshots of our pleasures, longings and regrets, set in beautifully proportioned production by Rupert Hine (Suzanne Vega, Duncan Sheik, Howard Jones, Tina Turner).Teitur's ballads, "One and Only," "Let's Go Dancing," and "I Was Just Thinking," signal his childhood influences -- James Taylor and Tracy Chapman, among them -- with their simple but gorgeous acoustic arrangements and deep emotional resonance. And in "Josephine" and "Amanda's Dream," Teitur displays not only the full depth of his songcraft, but also a gift for acute empathetic observation.Rarely has a new talent's arrival sounded so compelling, yet unaffected, and so subtle, but undeniable. Aside from the sheer talent and craftsmanship at work, there is a deep, genuine sense of being thisclose to the singer and the songs here. The style and form of Poetry & Aeroplanes might be described as updated classic, but the feel of discovery surrounding the album is entirely fresh.For his early musical experience, Teitur, 25, credits his family, and the musical traditions of Denmark's Faroe Islands, a small, remote group of islands between Iceland and Scotland with a population of only 45,000. "Music is a very social thing; there are always instruments in people's homes. I started doing my own music at about 13, trying different ways to connect the stereo, the sequencer and the electric guitar. But the guitarist in my band was so much better than me that I was left in the back, playing acoustic. I wrote all our lyrics in English from the start. My native Faroese music is a part of me, but what I was attracted to was pop music, which was all in English. I find it's the biggest ocean of vocabulary." Teitur left the Faroe Islands at 17, finding both his voice and a succession of helping hands all over Europe and North America. "I gave myself two years to play music, and met my manager at the Danish music festival, SPOT. I worked weekends in Copenhagen so I could write uninterrupted all week, and tried to go to New York or London every month to write with other people. I was doing a radio show back in the Faroes, and a shipping broker called me and said: I heard you're always traveling, so I'd like to pay for your tickets. I've had that kind of luck."Teitur's early interest in rock, from R.E.M to Suzanne Vega, and in the ensemble improvisations of Miles Davis and John Coltrane, all influenced his guitar playing and songwriting. His feel for playing and arranging also suggests such masters of the acoustic as Joan Armatrading and George Harrison: "The tone of the acoustic, you can't get it from an electric, or in a digital signal, where there's no 'touch.' The warmth, and the air around the instrument, is important. You can get away with just making sounds on the guitar, but I wanted to make it more three-dimensional, accompany myself better. Until I had that, the best way of expressing myself on the guitar, with my own voice, I wouldn't have wanted to make an album."Teitur was, in fact, so focused on songwriting and playing that he never made any records at all in his native Denmark. "I would just write ten songs at a time, put them down in the studio and leave them there. Rupert was the first producer I met who understood the qualities which I thought were their essence." Rupert Hine had been contacted by Windswept Pacific, Teitur's publisher, based on his work with Duncan Sheik ("Barely Breathing") and he instantly recognized Teitur's talent, posting to his own website: "Seldom has my reaction to demos been so immediately positive! Actually, I honestly believe.never! (Teitur) perfectly and deeply satisfies his artistic and passionate sensibilities..."Together with a small group of top-flight sidemen, they fashioned a record of perfect proportion and texture for the songs and the singer. "Instead of doing the same song a hundred times - 'cause that would just kill it - Rupert made up set lists, and I'd be playing like a gig, for him. We'd do five songs, have a break, see where the songs were trying to go. 'To Meet You' was cut live, and 'I Was Just Thinking' and 'Lets Go Dancing' are demos from Copenhagen, with added strings. Only five or six people are playing on the entire record." The result was a warm, organic sound and feel, all the more astonishing for the fact that every instrument was actually overdubbed to Teitur's solo performance. In its clear reflection of the artist, Hine's production also exposes the clichÈs, conceits and stock sounds of the over-engineered "acoustic" records of recent years.The album's lifelike sonics mirror the paradoxical simplicity and complexity of life, as portrayed throughout Poetry & Aeroplanes. "I do consider this album an entity," Teitur reflects. "When we were choosing songs for the album, I saw that they were all traveling songs, talking about intimacy. What people think, and especially, what stops people -- that really fascinates me: how people seem to want something but never do it.""I know some writers make a point about having a complete story: beginning, ending, moral, everything. I just do my best to describe it, and leave the rest up to mystery. I like it open-ended - to freeze a moment in time. Sometimes you write it right out of your head - then you see what you were saying when it's finished."Unforced, but undeniable - that's Teitur's trademark: "I just like things to happen on their own. I've been very lucky that things have come to me. Every time I play, I'm surprised. In my world, I haven't really started yet. I'm still learning." And we're all lucky that in his dedication to music, Teitur has found the perfect voice - in all respects - for his expression, and for all of our deepest feelings.Troubadour: 1. A lyric poet who composes songs in complex metrical forms. 2. A strolling minstrel.Journeyman: 1. One who has fully served his apprenticeship in a trade or craft and is a qualified worker.