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RIO/Avant-Prog • Norway

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When picture
When biography
A Norwegian rock landmark WHEN got started in 1983, as a one-man project (at first named Hospital Blimp, changed into WHEN later) formed by Lars PEDERSEN who had played in a couple of punk / new-wave bands like Holy Toy around 1990.

WHEN's debut album "Drowning But Learning" has been released in 1987, whilst their first turning point came in late 1980s due to a fateful encounter with a RIO vanguard Chris CUTLER. Their third album "Black, White & Grey" was released in 1990 with huge collaboration from Chris via his label ReR Megacorp. Lars and his fellows have got devoted to the RIO / Avant world at a burst.

Another drastic change was thrown down to WHEN as their seventh album "Psychedelic Wunderbaum" released in 1999 via Jester Records founded by Kristoffer Garm RYGG of ULVER. This album, just like the title, could be dreanched in psychedelic / garage / experimental rock structure.

In 2001, Lars recruited Nils Arne ØVERGAARD and Øyvind BORGEMOEN LYSE for strengthening their formation and the trio released a single "Sunshine Superhead" in the same year and "Pearl-Harvest" in 2003, followed by "Whenever" (2004), where WHEN had returned to Lars' one-man combo.

WHEN / Lars has been in full activity, launching his newest album "Misshimmisshimmisshim" in 2012 via Jester Records as well.

When official website

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WHEN discography

Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help to complete the discography and add albums

WHEN top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.00 | 2 ratings
Drowning But Learning
4.40 | 5 ratings
Death In The Blue Lake
3.95 | 2 ratings
Black, White & Grey
3.50 | 2 ratings
The Black Death
3.00 | 1 ratings
Prefab Wreckage
3.50 | 2 ratings
4.00 | 1 ratings
Psychedelic Wunderbaum
4.00 | 1 ratings
The Lobster Boys
3.00 | 1 ratings
3.00 | 1 ratings
3.33 | 3 ratings
Trippy Happy
3.00 | 2 ratings
You Are Silent
3.00 | 1 ratings
Homage Series Vol. 1 : Sun Ra
4.00 | 1 ratings

WHEN Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

WHEN Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

WHEN Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 1 ratings
WriterCakeBox - The Unblessed World Of When (1983 - 1998)

WHEN Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

WHEN Reviews

Showing last 10 reviews only
 Death In The Blue Lake by WHEN album cover Studio Album, 1988
4.40 | 5 ratings

Death In The Blue Lake
When RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars WHEN is the project of Norwegian Lars Pederesen and on this his second release from 1988 he does it all. I actually didn't know that until I just saw it here on the site that he plays all the instruments and he composed all of the music. And I find that incredible. I was kind of reminded of Holger Czukay the way he uses samples, field recordings etc. I know many of you have blindly bought an album solely on the cover art or maybe it was the band's name or even the title of the album. For me it was the latter as I for some strange reason was drawn to that mysterious title. Lars really blew me away with that 22 minute title track which takes me places every time I spin it. My imagination runs a little wild sometimes when I hear it and what more can you ask when it comes to music.

"Death In The Blue Lake" opens with a bass horn and a solemn mood before orchestral sounds kick in reminding me at times during this epic track of ART ZOYD. It's dark and melancholic when suddenly we can hear birds chirping and other nature sounds around 1 1/2 minutes. After 3 minutes you can hear the wind blowing and that's all we hear at first until faint sounds arrive including a dog barking. A door opens and there's plenty of suspense here. Some brief singing then some mellotron flute joins in. A ticking clock follows along with spoken words and orchestral sounds. Someone is walking in deep grass then we get a sudden outburst before 7 minutes that continues for a minute and it's jarring to say the least. It's haunting again then we get this mechanical-like rhythm with plenty of suspense. All you can hear is a ticking sound before 11 minutes then church bells. It's dark again before 12 minutes as sounds rise and collapse. The orchestral sounds before 13 minutes sound random and avant. It's getting creepy again after 17 minutes right to the end. What an amazing suite of music and the highlight of the album for me.

"Loosing Figures" really makes me laugh early on as we hear some old guy coughing so bad you think he's going to hurt himself. People are hacking away like they are about to die. It then turns instrumental with accordion, a beat and more. Vocals and an experimental soundscape before 2 minutes. Some crazy "out there" vocals follow. "Afterzone" is my second favourite tune on here. Deep sounds, percussion and a military or Remembrance Day vibe follows until just before a minute when it all brightens. I like this as vocals join in this uplifting section. Guitar replaces the vocals briefly before 2 minutes playing in an experimental manner. A surprisingly catchy yet far from normal piece of music. "Paint The Dance" opens with the sound of someone pouring a drink then we can hear the fizz. Then it sounds like a bunch of natives chanting around the fire smoking their pipes into the late hours.

"Fragments" opens with someone yodeling believe it or not. I wish it wasn't true myself. Some strange sounds then come and go. "Frozen Atlantic" has a catchy sound with accordion as the vocals come and go. "Followed By Water" starts with water sounds surprisingly as other sounds start to come and go. Experimental stuff. "Under X-Mass Tree Of Medusa" has these loud sounds that sweep in and out. It's dark and experimental then it starts to really get intense and frantic. Crazy is the word, in fact insanity best describes the sound before 3 minutes in. Organ ends it. By the way the cover art has a picture of Medusa over top of another picture.

I was so glad to read Damo's glowing review of this album. It's one of those rare albums from 1988 that I would highly recommend. A solid 4 stars for this experimental work.

 Death In The Blue Lake by WHEN album cover Studio Album, 1988
4.40 | 5 ratings

Death In The Blue Lake
When RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by DamoXt7942
Forum & Site Admin Group Avant, Crossover & Neo Teams

5 stars What a superb music terrorist Lars PEDERSEN was.

His second album "Death In The Blue Lake" under the moniker of WHEN could open my eyes again for one of surrealistic "avantgarde rock" world. The titled track on Side A is kinda killer one ... The extreme horrible opening squeezes synthesizer-based windwood-y negative drone into our minds, soon followed by a plaintive orchestrated sound forest. Weird shouts, fuzzy sound effects, frozen wind blowing, and so on. Yes all sounds / noises constructed in Lars' instruments with Lars' strong intention would seem to be a dramatic theatre on a vinyl. Like a lady shouting on the sleeve, every sound seasoning may build a really strict dreammare deeply in our brain I guess. If anything, this long suite can be a well-calculated beauty mixture with some jerky shockwave knocks. Exactly suitable to call the suite as a tragedy of sound. The last can be heard as the end of our life ... sad, vain, tense (like clock running), but graceful, magnificent. Addictive stuff always heads me up actually.

Short tracks on Side B would be something unified with Lars' short ideas. There are not only madness, loudness, dirtiness, but also beauty, fancy, wealthy, fantasy. Sometimes we can feel vacant like in "Loosing Figures", sometimes comfortable in the beginning of "Paint The Dance" (LOL), urgent like in "Frozen Atlantic", and depressive / froggy in "Followed By Water". Of all on the rear, "Fragments", created by sound / tune fragments dealt with (reverse) tape effects, is one of my favourites. Into this track, Lars might stuff various components grabbed in his deep lake mind, I imagine. The last "Under X-mas Tree Of Medusa" can be felt as a tiny version of the suite mentioned above for me, but on the contrary, it's quite impressive that such a Norwegian genius would come across his first turning point in the next creation, due to a fateful encounter with a RIO vanguard Chris CUTLER. Amazing indeed.

In a different sense from typical RIO / Avant-Prog scene, this album should be highly recommended.

 Black, White & Grey by WHEN album cover Studio Album, 1991
3.95 | 2 ratings

Black, White & Grey
When RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by HolyMoly
Special Collaborator Retired Admin

4 stars When is the one-man project of Norwegian multi-instrumentalist Lars Pedersen, a musician who has also spent time in some punk outfits as well as the Beatlesesque retro band The Last James. This is the only When album I've heard, but it is a hard-core Avant/RIO album collaboration with Henry Cow's Chris Cutler, released on Cutler's Recommended label. Apocalyptic soundscapes, musique concrete, and highly orchestrated craziness are on display here. All created pretty much by Pedersen alone, building these crazy beasts from the ground up. Chris Cutler provides the "texts", but really this is Pedersen's show all the way.

The first track is the 20 minute monster "Grey (Part One)". It goes through several movements, but the overriding mood is of stormy chaos and violence. Huge thunderous explosions and machine gun fire with long disquieting interludes of quasi-orchestral music, spoken word fragments, noise, and occasional moments of gentle beauty. It's very colorful stuff, not rock at all, but sure to please fans of the avant garde side of prog.

The album continues with a few shorter tracks, a bit lighter in mood and more homogenous in construction. The seven minute "Heart of Rage" begins with piano and dulcimer, introducing an almost folky melody and lead vocal. The song gets progressively darker as it goes, including a long interlude led by macabre church bells and eerie echoed singing. Dramatic strings (or string sounds, anyway. They do sound quite authentic for what is probably sampled). But then the song just kind of ends. Unless the next track offers more clues -- "From White to White" focuses on distant Gregorian chanting, with some spoken word on top and stately orchestral background, for just under three minutes. "Fellini's Hat" takes us suddenly into more carnival-like territory, a booming rhythm with cacophanous horn-like sounds trumpeting over the top. Finally, there is "Grey (Part Two)", which closes the original album with a nine-minute continuation of the doomy madness of the first part, and it's just as good.

The CD version contains yet another piece, and a 22 minute long one at that. "Death in the Blue Lake" is another multi-headed beast of a piece, similar in mood to "Grey" but a bit less interested in the sound effects and shock aspect of the latter. It reminds me quite a bit of some of the more moody moments on Henry Cow's albums at first. But it doesn't stop there -- more full-on scary orchestral moments pass, building and releasing tension for the remainder of the piece. But in general, this is a more pensive track.

Overall, an excellent work that should please the Avant/RIO contingent to no end. I shy away from five stars only because after about 5 full listens I still don't really feel a whole lot of coherence in these pieces -- there's a bunch of cool weird sections followed by another bunch of cool weird sections, but I'm not convinced it's really going anywhere, if you catch my drift. Still, this one should do just nicely if you want to scare your mom. A strong four.

Thanks to DamoXt7942 for the artist addition. and to The Bearded Bard for the last updates

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