NEW RELEASES - Spring 2012

As a service to our readers, MIC Norway has put together a selection of some of the key Norwegian releases in March/April/May. We’ve compiled a list of albums that we feel are relevant for international listeners, and highlighted a few of these that really deserve to be checked out.

Espen Eriksen Trio - What Took You So Long
Sophomore album from one of our most melodic piano trios. Their 2012 debut album was bestowed with rave reviews at home and in selected international media outlets such as som BBC Music Magazine, The Independent, Kulturspiegel and Downbeat. On ‘What Took You So Long’, Espen Eriksen Trio ups the ante with a collection of utterly delicate originals and two carefully selected covers, recorded and mixed by the don of Norwegian jazz production; Jan Erik Kongshaug in his Rainbow Studio in Oslo. The repertoire on the album is highly lyrical and follows in the vein of the strong Scandinavian folk/jazz tradition. The stunningly beautiful closing track Oslo was written in the aftermath of the 22 July 2011 massacre and manages to capture the duality of the sorrow felt at the time fused with an unbound optimism – played with a simplified and unsentimental finesse.

Death By Unga Bunga - The kids are up to no good
Youthful rockers Death By Unga Bunga won praise for their 2010 debut ‘Juvenile Jungle’, and are widely regarded as a live outfit that puts down some fiercely energetic concerts. On ‘The Kids Are Up To No Good’, Death By Unga Bunga meet the expectations, delivering 13 strong tracks with elements from punk, garage, soul, power pop and surf. Lyrics deal with what real rock should be all about, chicks, getting high and dancing the night away…
The band name is derived from an album title by legendary 80s/90s garage rock revival heroes The Mummies; a musical period that has heavily influenced the output on ‘The Kids Are Up To No Good’. The album was recorded in the Oslo studio Six Feet Over and was produced by Sjur Lyseid (Little Hands Of Asphalt, Einar Stray, Casa Murilo, Youth Pictures Of Florence Henderson etc).

Niko Valkeapää - Gusto
Sami vocalist and poet Niko Valkeapää re-enters the spotlight this spring with his latest album ‘Gusto’. The outing sees Valkeapää and fellow producer Georg Buljo transposing meditative passages over into melancholia and tristesse. A healthy dose of Americana is spiced with the world music of Lappland’s taiga; as close as one can get to Sami blues. Some four years since the celebrated double-album ‘Birrat Birra’, Valkeapää/Buljo have penned ten tracks in classic Valkeapääesque style with an emphasis on refining the duo’s acoustic approach. On ‘Gusto’, Valkeapää appears as honest, personal and also a bit vulnerable, backed by stripped-down and intimate arrangements.

Farmers Market - Slav To The Rhythm
2008 saw Farmers Market being awarded with a Spellemannspris – the Norwegian equivalent to the Grammy – for their album ‘Surfin' USSR’. On the 2012 follow- up, the aptly titled ‘Slav To The Rhythm’ the band members don virtual 70s flared trousers and delved into their parent generation’s dusty instrument park. By playful utilization of well-worn vintage guitars, monophonic three-phased synths, chordophones, camp cuckoos, cornucopias and a wide variety of instruments crafted from exotic rainforest-wood threatened by extinction, the now 20-year-old wild collective delivers a rough half-hour of genre-bending, rhythmic acrobatics and cool dissonance. The music is a totally unrestrained and melodic surplus affair which nods to both prog, Gypsy traditions, orchestral works, C&W and 70s movie soundtracks.

Thea Hjelmeland - Oh, The Third
Paris-based singer songwriter Thea Hjelmeland released her debut album entitled “Oh, the third..” in February. The record was recorded in ØRA Studio in Trondheim, produced by Jostein Ansnes (Kristin Asbjørnsen, Dadafon) and Jarle Bernhoft, who also played several parts on the record. The lyrics, melody and arrangements are all pure Hjelmeland though. In addition to vocals, she also plays mandolin, banjo, guitar, ukelele, piano, percussion and more. The music she describes as blue, acoustic pop, all centred around her vocals. She listens to flamenco, fado, Balkan and Bollywood music as well as straight R&B, and seeks out voices that inspire and challenge her when she’s listening to music. Thea Hjelmeland sang the duet “En av oss to” with Lars Vaular on his “Helt om natten, helt om dagen” and has contributed vocals and mandolin to a number of tracks still to come. Hjelmeland is currently working on projects with the likes of Melissa Laveaux (CA), and MaJiker (UK).

Silje Nergaard - Unclouded
There is something uniquely gleaming about Silje Nergaard; a warm yet clear lustre seems a defining trait of her whole artistic enterprise and indeed of the person too. Her expression is jazz songs, yet with hints of something deeper and more sacred than is perhaps usual for this genre. Her music has a distinct copper tone to it, clean and with panes and timbres that seem to reflect and spectre the light in a way that reminds of sanctity. Strong songs, melodies like dragonflies; of elegance and lustre and shyness, and words that weave narratives and invoke images of the same soft swirling air: Silje Nergaard’s records have all been distinguishes by a sweep of profundity.

Nergaards latest album Unclouded is set in a trio setting featuring guitarists Hallgrim Bratberg and Håvar Bendiksen. In addition to these two strong players, Nergaard has also brought in a cast of musicians, particularly guitarists, that have played pivotal roles in her careers. Unclouded performers includes Knut Reiersud, Jojje Wadenius, Nils Einar Vinjor as well as well-known US jazz guitarist John Scofield. Trumpeter Nils Petter Molvær also contributes with trademark muted lines Silje can also be heard singing a duet with folk singer Kim Andre Rysstad on the track "Norwegian Boatsong". Unclouded focuses on vocal/guitar interplay, heavily inspired by Nergaards upbringing with a guitar-savvy father. The soundscape is stripped-down, and muted instrumentation allows the compositions to emerge with force all the while variation to the sonic palette brings life to the landscape, arching from softness and beauty to rougher and more playful passages.

Majorstuen - ‘Live In Concert’
The name Majorstuen has come to signify the revival of Norwegian traditional music and its newly-won popular image as a hugely dynamic and forward-looking musical expression. Already with its eponymous 2003 debut album this five-strong fiddle ensemble made it clear that things were changing in the sphere of Norwegian folk. Words like “explosive” and “groundbreaking” had not previously been associated with pure fiddle music, but that was before Majorstuen came along.
Majorstuen’s much anticipated new album, ‘Live In Concert’ features new and age-old traditionals arranged in that trademark Majorstuen-style combined with the collectives unbeatable stage presence and strong audience rapport; all well documented on this live recording. Majorstuen’s playful and colour-rich music coupled with an infectious on-stage presence spellbinds audiences which in turn inspires the fiddle collective to play better than ever.

‘Live In Concert’ features a repertoire that represents Majorstuens all-time favorites from a long and distinguished career. Highly recommended

Susanna - Wild Dog
Late March saw the release of Susanna's “Wild Dog”, her new album on her “home label”, Rune Grammofon. ”Wild Dog” is Susanna´s eight album, including three with Susanna and the Magical Orchestra, her ”Norwegian” album ”Jeg Vil Hjem Til Menneskene” and the recent ECM album with Giovanna Pessi. That is effectively one album a year of quality releases since her debut in 2004, indeed a very rare treat these days. Possibly best known for her unique and striking interpretations of iconic songs like ”Jolene”, ”Hallelujah” and ”Love Will Tear Us Apart”, she has also proved herself as an original songwriter with a strong signature. Bonnie ”Prince” Billy has performed and recorded her songs and Mojo named her song ”Believer” as ”one of the greatest break-up songs ever”.
The new album features musical partnerships with strong names and guests like Emmett Kelly from Bonnie ”Prince” Billy´s band and Jeremy Gara from Arcade Fire. Others include Shahzad Ismaily, Jo Berger Myhre and ever-present co-producer Helge Sten (Deathprod). Also appearing is recent nominee for the Nordic Council Music Prize, Ole Henrik Moe, who together with Kari Rønnekleiv form experimental duo Sheriffs of Nothingness.

Album list:

Pop / rock / hiphop / electronica / metal:
André Borgen - Todays (MC) (Metronomicon Audio)
Bertine Zetlitz - Electric Feet (Sony)
Biosphere - Compilation 1991-2004 (Biophon Records)
Caroline & the Treats - Saturday Night, Rock & Roll (House of Rock Records)
Chili Vanilla - Chili Vanilla (Dayladore Collective)
Death by Unga Bunga - The kids are up to no good (Jansen Plateproduksjon)
Do You Love Melena? - Marathon (Diger Distro)
Donkeyboy - Silver Moon (Warner)
Geir Vindel - Big on Mars (Nordic Records)
Heidi Marie Vestrheim - I Want To Go (BlueBox)
Heidi Solheim - Found (Finito Bacalao Records)
Jack Stillwater - Muddy river (Inner East Records)
Johns Epic - New Beginnings (Nordic Records)
Jon Erik Eriksen - Elektrisk Atmosfære (Duippidit)
Kari Harneshaug - Early Morning Memories (Dayladore Collective)
Last Heat - Last Heat (Jansen Plateproduksjon)
Linnea Dale - Lemoyne Street (WM Norway)
Lisa Dillan - Love me tender: The quite quiet way (KKV)
Mikhael Paskalev - I Spy (Universal)
Mirror Lakes - Mirror Lakes (2CD) (WM Norway)
Morten Harket - Out Of My Hands (Universal)
Mount Washington - Mount Washington (Breaking Olympic Records)
Nordgarden - You gotta get ready (GDN Records)
Number Seven Deli - Toxteth (Delicatessen)
Orango - Colonial Militia, vol 1 (Division Records)
Paulin Voss - Soundwave (Nordic Records)
Sergeant Petter & The Buddies (Voices of Wonder)
SOT - Kind of Saltz (Sotanic Sounds)
Silje Nergaard - Unclouded (Sony)
Susanna - Wild Dog (Rune Grammofon)
Susanne Sundfør - The Silicone Veil (EMI)
The Humble Servants - Closer to the bone (Grappa)
The Little Hands of Asphalt - Floors (Spoon Train)
The Merlin Project - Green (Merlinsongs Records)
The Samuel Jackson Five - The Samuel Jackson Five (Honest Abe Records)
The Wretched End - Inroads (Candlelight)
Thea Hjelmeland - Oh, The Third.. (Øra Fonogram)
Torkelsen - Torkelsen (Sellout! Music)
Tulus - Olm og Bitter (Tabu Recordings)
Wolfram - Shadows and dust (Nordic Records)
Ørkenkjøtt - Ønskediktet (Nordic Records)

World / folk:
Farmers Market - Slav to the rythm (Division Records)
Gjertruds Sigøynerorkester / Ernö Kallai Kiss jr - Nordisk sigøyner (Lærdal Musikkproduksjon)
Majorstuen - Live in Concert (Majorstuen Fiddlers Company)
Marius Noss Gundersen - Visual Music: Retrato Brasileiro (Ponca Jazz Records)
Niko Valkeapää - Gusto (Duippidit)
Queendom - Still Rising (daWorks)
Sigrid Moldestad - Himlen har sove bort mørkret (Heilo)

Bol / Westerhus / Snah - Numb, number (Gigafon)
Cakewalk - Wired (Hubro)
Dead Baboon - Mad Cow Disease (Schmell)
Erik Johannessen - Inkblots (Gigafon)
Eivind Opsvik - Overseas IV (Loyal Label)
Espen Eriksen Trio - What Took You So Long (Rune Grammofon)
Ferner / Juliusson - Undertowed (NORCD)
Frank Kvinge - Gaucho Batuta (Losen Records)
JazzMazzørene - Mississippi Blues (Herman)
Jens Wendelboe Big Band – Fresh Heat (Rosa Records)
Kjetil Husebø - Contradictions (Optical Substance Productions)
Lindha Kallerdahl - Let's dance (NORCD)
Mathilde Grooss Viddal & Friensemblet – Undergroove (Giraffa)
Muringa - The unknow knowns (Sofa)
Norchestra - New Galaxy (Acoustic Landscapes)
Radka Toneff - Fairytales (Remastered) (Odin)
Randi Tytingvåg – Grounding (Ozella)
Wolfram Trio - Wolfram (Va Fongool)
Øystein Sevåg - Space for a crowded world (Siddharta Records) (ambient)

Alfred Gammelsæter / Edvard Grieg - Einar Steen-Nøkleberg, piano (Grong)
Currentes - Spinato Intorno al Cor, Music by Antonio Zacara da Teramo (ca1365-1416) (Lawo)
Henninge Landaas(vla) & Tim Horton(pno) - Brahms Sonatas for Viola & Piano (Lawo)
Johan Halvorsen: Chamber Music - Birgitte Stærnes(vln) & Helge Kjekshus(pno) (MTG)

John Kristian Karlsen(ten) / Torgeir Kinne Solsvik(pno) - Schumann/Grieg: Dichterliebe/Songs op.5

Norwegian Navy Band Bergen / Ernst Simon Glaser (vcl) / Peter Szilvay (cond) - Zvezdoka in orbit - Ness / Gulda / Ibert / Thommessen (Aurora)
Oslo Philharmonic Chamber Group - Mozart/Brustad/Halvorsen, Violin & Viola Duos w/Elise Båtnes(vln) & Henninge Landaas(vla) (Lawo)
Trondheim Soloists - SOUVENIR part I, Tchaikovsky SERENADE for strings - Nielsen SUITE opus 1 (2L)
Geirr Tveitt: Piano works and songs - Ørjan Hartveit (bar) / Torgeir Kinne Solsvik (pno) (Kinnepiano)

Norwegian lyrics:
Eldar Vågan - Leva Livet, Som Eldar I En Elvis-film (Kapping)
Gabrielle - Mildt sagt (Universal)
Halvdan Sivertsen - Gjør Det Så Gjerne (Odeon / EMI)
Hank's a lot - Hjertesjuk blues (KBL Music)
Hege Saugstad - Nå (Nordic Records)
Laila Yrvum – Langs Veien (Heilo)
Marte Hallem - Fimbulnatta (Øra Fonogram)
Publiners - Kontroll (Pubel Records)
Raga Rockers - Fritt Liv (Sony)
Ryanbanden - Ryanbanden (Crispin Glover Records)
Seljemark - Min Sang (Bjørk Audio)
Stig Hauger - Tåkelandskap (Nordic Records)
Svevestøv - En ainna melodi (Øra Fonogram)

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