David Norland – ‘Agate Or Barium’

If we know David Norland’s name, it’s most likely from his music which has featured on primetime tv. The film composer has also taken some detours along the way however, such as his score for the HBO show, ‘Dinner With Hervé’, which starred Peter Dinklage, and his score for ‘Anvil! The Story Of Anvil’ which documented the Canadian metal band of that name, who have been horrendously underrated, yet super-influential.

Outside of his sound-track career, Norland has been exploring musical avenues, going down the path of electronic, drum’n’bass, reggae (even producing Grammy nominated work with Sly & Robbie), piano, choral, and strings. All of this exploration has culminated in the release of his debut album, ‘Glam Tear Stain’, which he wrote, performed, produced, and mixed. Lead single, ‘Agate Or Barium’, is just the first of 13 breathtaking tracks, which toe the line between traditional arrangement and experimental risk-taking. The single is sparse, melancholic, and yet, while conveying a sense of longing, holds firmly to the right side of hopefulness. Taking its name from two divergent elements – the crystalline agate, revered by lapidarists and spiritual healers alike for its beauty and power, and the dirty yellow barium, malleable, no natural strength or shape of its own – the song asks us to consider who we are – are we the beautiful agate or the formless barium; interestingly both have their uses – agate is seen as having healing properties, while anyone who has had to have a radiograph for gastrointestinal problems will know what a barium meal is!

The song is ruminative, plaintive, keys and strings taking their turn, and yet both being equally dominant.

The video for ‘Agate Or Barium’ shows sped-up footage of subways; schedules, clocks, maps, everything trying to force order into the system, but the truth being that none of it is really possible. It’s a false hope. The footage is taken from the film, ‘La Metropolitaine’, in which the protagonist looks for love, across seven mass transit systems, living in transition both in the moment, and in general. Norland was given the film to watch while he was trying to work out what to use for the song’s video, and was immediately taken by the feeling and atmosphere and how in tune it was with his track. The director of the film gave the go-ahead, agreeing once he had heard ‘Agate Or Barium’, and the end result is a dream state, leaving the viewer wondering what Norland will do with the video for single number 2. We can’t wait!

Watch the video for ‘Agate Or Barium’ below, and find out more about David Norland here.

David Norland - Agate Or Barium

About the author

Lisa has been writing for over 20 years, starting as the entertainment editor on her university newspaper. Since then she's written for Popwrapped, Maximum Pop, Celebmix, and ListenOnRepeat.

Lisa loves all good music, with particular fondness for Jedward and David Bowie. She's interviewed Edward Grimes (Jedward), Kevin Godley, Trevor Horn, Paul Young, Peter Cox (Go West), Brendan B Brown (Wheatus), Bruce Foxton (The Jam), among many many more. Lisa is also available for freelance writing - please email lisa@essentiallypop.com