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Catharina Stoltenberg (Left)
Henriette Motzfeldt (Right)
Catharina Stoltenberg (Left) Henriette Motzfeldt (Right)

Smerz playing Star Theater Tuesday, May 15th

By MATT HANSEN // Norwegian experimental pop duo will open for Mount Kimbie.

Norway's Smerz will open for Mount Kimbie at Star Theater next Tuesday, making it a night of choice international electronic duos not so typically found in Portland. Smerz's new EP Have Fun makes the perfect companion to Mount Kimbie's London post-dubstep reputation – their field recordings serve up a tonally rich meal for your ears. While the pair of Henriette Motzfeldt and Catharina Stoltenberg chose a light-heated title for their release on XL Recordings, the opener “Worth It” begs to differ. With a jack-hammering bass, intermittent clanks of percussion and scratches of distortion, Smerz fits in better with projects like Salem than any of the polished pop coming out of Norway. Yet in only two minutes time, the pair turn the tables on “Worth it” – a singular track in its experimental vision of playful, girl-centric R&B.

 The partnership, braintrust, and support system between Motzfeldt and Stotenberg began in Danish music school, where the two school acquaintances discovered Ableton and became greenhorn producers. After breaking away from their years of singing choir, Smerz adopted the psychological turns of the synth reminiscent of cinematic suspense. Stoltenberg's delivery is at times intimidating; at the end of “Oh My My” her Android-like poise solemnly utters the words, “Basic bitch problems.” Motzfeldt's unique delivery is the only purposeful beauty throughout the album that may resemble anything to do with fun – or matters of the heart – it undoubtedly leans into dourness when needed.

 With a lack of music festivals this summer in Portland – and even a fewer amount of electronic artists making the rounds – Tuesday's show will let you forget all about that... and may even have your urge for IDM satiated well into July. 

Doors  8:00 PM / Show 9:00 PM


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