vrijdag 9 september 2022

Plenty Of Blankets. No Ninja Am I

It has been quiet around No Ninja Am I for quite some time. Sander van Munster, as he is No Ninja Am I, was active in trio De Breek in the past few years, but now, finally, here is his new album. Of course a single has come by this year on the blog. The album however is an experience. I will try and explain to you why.

Listening to the songs on Plenty Of Blankets is not easy for me. Most of the songs are of a higher level pop music, and that, for me, is hard work. Like 'Crosby, Stills, Nash', like 'Pet Sounds', like The Beatles songs like 'Got To Get You Into My Life' or 'Good Morning' or like some songs of Steely Dan. Songs falling into the pop category but only for lack of a better one.

With Plenty Of Blankets Sander van Munster dives off the high board without knowing if there's water in the pool or enough blankets providing a soft landing for that matter. There is. Plenty, I can share with you. This album is of such a delicate beauty, to surrender is the only option. Its music never takes the easy road. The chords may or may not be your average three and the truth. The notes and melodies all are less obvious. At the same time the music flows sweetly and gently. Anyone listening to this music will hear the care (and hard work) put into the album. To make it sound special, to reach for perfection.

The comparisons I made just now, all look into to a, by now, distant past. Another side of the album is that No Ninja Am I is no stranger to modern sounds. Not just in sounds but also in rhythm and atmosphere. Deeper into the album more and more modern influences mix with the perfect pop generation of old. Without losing that "old" feel. As such Plenty Of Blankets becomes a hybrid album.

With only a few exceptions, all you hear is played and sung by Sander van Munster. This album, for a large part, is a solo project. Live is a different matter. There No Ninja Am I is a four piece of brilliant interaction, musically and vocally. It makes this album the more impressive. Despite all the overdubs it must have taken to create, each song is mixed perfectly and sounds totally organic. Vocals reach for and find harmonies of CSN perfection. The vocals are layered and perfect.

As I wrote Plenty Of Blankets is not an easy album. To fathom it, I had to work hard. Having done so over the past weeks, the only conclusion is that it pays back for every second invested in it. Only one more week to the release show in De Nieuwe Anita. I can't wait.

Wout de Natris

You can listen to and order the album here:


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