The Norman Conquest Archive


Evon review: “Monster movie soundtrack”, “floating and dancing” and “like chamber pop meeting some jazz performers at the symphony for the screening of a film noir.” Agreed.

agnes-profile-web1Read this great review of The Bees Are Coming from KFJC 89.7 FM in Los Altos Hills, CA:

Released in September, 2010, this album by Evon, “The Bees are Coming,” features a number of SF Bay Area artists and is led by composer and artist Agnes Szelag. Agnes composed, performed, recorded and produced this and shows her chops on a dizzying number of instruments (cello, bass, guzheng, harp, guitar, harpsichord, vibraphone, singing bowls, glockenspiel, piano, electronics, etc etc!).

The overall effect is at times heavy, with the album starting up with deep bass sounds that lumber into a monster-movie soundtrack and then twist into beauty with pretty Eastern-flavored plucking, along with warm percussion, marimba, vibraphone and woodblock. Agnes’ vocals then come in, providing a slightly jazzy accent. It can also be atmospheric, with prominent strings and vocals that are at times fuzzy accents, floating and dancing with the music. It’s kind of like chamber pop meeting some jazz performers at the symphony for the screening of a film noir, with the loveliest sounds resulting from that marriage.



Barn Owl Taps Marielle Jakobsons and The Norman Conquest for their new record “Ancestral Star”

From Pop Matters blog post:

On their new release for Thrill Jockey, Ancestral Star, they continue to explore the Morricone tinged Western soundtrack side of the genre—first pioneered by the heavyweights Earth—that they have done so thoroughly and competently on their previous albums. For this album, Caminiti and Porras took their time in the studio and expanded the instrumentation on the songs by experimenting with bowed guitar, and by inviting Marielle Jakobsons to play violin, the Norman Conquest to contribute eerie chanting vocals, and Portraits to add some nuanced percussion.

Read the whole article here.

These artists have appeared on the following Aphonia Recordings releases:


Textura on Evon: “suggestive of moody goth-rock”

In issue #73, Textura reviews Agnes Szelag’s new project “Evon: The Bees Are Coming.” Describing Szelag’s work as a “one-person, mini-orchestra” is not an understatement.

If you haven’t heard the new album we welcome you to have a listen over here. Indeed, as the review points out, it is perhaps important that Szelag chose a different moniker other than her birth name, as there are lot of contributions by other artists on the record.

The Norman Conquest provided recording help as well as voice, guitar and percussion. Fellow Aphonia artist Marielle Jakobsons, who also works with Szelag in their duo Myrmyr, provides vocals as well.

Although this is clearly Szelag’s vision, the wide array and cast of characters makes it an ensemble piece, larger than life, not a hobbyist or stripped down side project that merely spotlights the ego of it’s principle creator. No, Evon’s “The Bees Are Coming” is an immense work, encompassing many sonic backcountries and thoroughfares alike and again revealing another layer to the near geologic depth that Szelag’s work encompasses. Enjoy!.

Click to listen!


Agnes Szelag Presents: Evon “The Bees Are Coming”

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Limited Edition CD $9.99 (via PayPal)

Download $9.90 (via Bandcamp or click “Buy” below)

All Aphonia Recs fans should know who Agnes Szelag is by now. Not only has she released a solo EP “No Summer Or Winter” a couple of years back but also joined forces with The Norman Conquest as Dokuro. Now Ms. Szelag returns with an even more ambitious project entitled Evon “The Bees Are Coming.” It is her first full length on Aphonia and is available on compact disc or download now. From the official press release of “The Bees Are Coming”:

Heartfelt performances on cello, guzheng, and voice dance on a bed of intimately interwoven arrangements creating a lush combination of rock, classical, and folk genres with leanings in the avant-garde. Agnes’s unique instrumentation is further augmented by her distinct recording style and electronic sculpting.

Following the textural 2008 release No Summer or Winter (Aphonia Recordings), this album explores Szelag’s songwriting under the pseudonym Evon. The varied song forms intertwine with complex compositions containing the haunting, cinematic elements that Szelag is known for and that show up on her recent release The Amber Sea (Digitalis 2009) with Marielle Jakobsons as myrmyr.

Szelag’s focus in this record was to create a unified band sound that is moody and unpredictable but also very deliberate and delicate. Using her intuition for what should be written and what should be improvised, she displays her multi-instrumentalistism and production craft as she blends her performances with those of Jordan Glenn (drums), Shayna Dunkelman (marimba), Jon Porras (guitar), Alee Karim (guitar), Jason Hoopes (doublebass), and The Norman Conquest (various). The end result is a very eclectic but unified sound backing Szelag’s velvety voice.


Dokuro’s The Black Room Reviewed in The Wire Magazine

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In the November issue 297 of the UK’s The Wire magazine David Stubbs reviews Dokuro’s recent release, The Black Room. Look for the interview in print or read the full text below:

Based in Oakland, California, Dokuro are visual artist/composer Agnes Szelag and the magnificently nomenclatured The Norman Conquest. They include the word “pop” in their self-definition, which is a little like Sunn 0))) locating a Country & Western element somewhere in their music. This is extremist fare that blasts awat the earwax without leaving you feeling pointlessly bludgeoned. On “The Ghost Goes West”, clouds of generated electricity belch blackly, then are discreetly sculpted. “Shadow of the Cat” is sheer catastrophe, all earthquake and Grindcore, its rotorblade still whirring long after the helicopter has crashed and burned. Finally, with “October Moon” a calm descends and dawn breaks over a charred landscape quiet but for the sporadic noises of afterburn.