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High Two Records



Normal Love: Normal Love

  1. Severe Confection
  2. The Singal is Coming from Pittsburgh… [Part One]
  3. The Singal is Coming from Pittsburgh… [Part Two]
  4. Ndugo
  5. The Final Sarcophagus of Darkness
  6. Hooks

Amnon D. Freidlin – guitar
Evan Lipson – bass
Eli Litwin – drums
Alex Nagle – guitar
Carlos Santiago Jr. – violin

Recorded by Marc Alan Goodman at Studio G

Mastered by Colin Marston

Normal Love formed in 2006 and quickly became one of the most talked-about bands in its hometown of Philadelphia. The instrumental quintet is comprised of amplified violin, two electric guitars, electric bass, and drums. Normal Love’s music generally has a loud and brutal approach with compositional influences ranging from African minimalism to serialism to death metal, though rarely within the same piece.

Normal Love’s self-titled debut album features recordings of six compositions. While most instrumental bands refrain from intricacy and rely on improvisation, Normal Love exclusively performs composed music, usually reading sheet music on stage. Four of the band’s members contribute pieces in their own individual styles displaying the band’s diversity of influences and its ability to incorporate them into a unified aesthetic.

Bassist Evan Lipson is credited with two tracks, the two-part “The Signal’s Coming from Pittsburgh.” At a total of 14 minutes, “Pittsburgh” has a cinematic quality with its frequently changing textures that range from frenzy to near calm. Amnon Freidlin’s “Ndugo” starts with a simple African rhythm before unfolding into a more chaotic affair. With its relentless double bass drumming, “Final Sarcophagus” successfully integrates Eli Litwin’s experience as a metal drummer with the intricacies that are central to the group’s musical aesthetic. The extreme contrapuntal and rhythmic complexities of Alex Nagle’s “Hooks” conceal a wealth of catchy melodic lines that reveal themselves more with each successive listen.

The singular piece that was not written by a member of the band is not a cover. Rather, “Severe Confection” was composed by Dustin Hurt (executive director of both the Relâche new music ensemble and the iconoclastic Bowerbird concert series). Hurt, who is a composer as well as presenter and performer, offered the piece to Normal Love. His composition “Severe Confection” quickly became a staple of Normal Love’s live shows. It is a technically demanding piece that showcases not just Hurt’s skill, but also the band’s precision, aptitude, and musicianship.


{Phil Freeman, Jan 2008}
“The jazz-grind tumble of Flying Luttenbachers, the short/sharp shocks of early Orthrelm, the poke-’n’-twist of DNA, the fiery electric work of avant-jazz violinist Mat Maneri—Philly-based instrumental quintet Normal Love appeals to all of these sensibilities with a unique approach to punk and jazz.”

Philadelphia City Paper
{Shaun Brady, Oct. 2007}
“Perhaps the most remarkable thing about Normal Love’s live shows is the way that, despite the ridiculous complexity of their music, their performances are never staid — concentrated as they are on the dots on paper in front of them, the band maintains a personality. Their self-titled CD, while maintaining the raw edge of their shows, brings the actual compositions to the forefront.”

Prefix Mag
{Adam Webb-Orenstein, Jan. 2008}
“Normal Love’s eponymous debut is a parade of frenzied dissonant passages abbreviated occasionally by briefly sustained blasts and a few passages of slower noodling. With this first offering, the band members demonstrate their prodigious virtuosity. They also give a glimpse of their unique and broad sonic palette. …what makes this debut laudable is its refusal to make that kind of concession to the listener. There are plenty of other musicians who want to give you bliss. For now, Normal Love would rather mess with your head.”

Dream Magazine
{George Parsons, Nov. 2007}
“Chunky blocks of Trout Mask-like cul de sacs and puzzles blatted out instrumentally by this Philadelphia quintet. Tightly constructed and walking sideways up the walls and across the ceiling with spidery glee. Though difficult this is also a lot of fun as it shifts between speedmetal, suspense soundtrack snippets, and stark steamroller antics. While tiny oysters saw chunks out of the scenery, and blind birds navigate complicated mazes.”

Music Meridian
{Phil Plencner, Dec. 2007}
“Along with Zs, this Philadelphia band is the future of music. Buckle up and get ready.”