Master fiddler Annbjørg Lien

NEW RELEASES - Jan/Feb 2012

As a service to our readers, MIC Norway has put together a selection of some of the key recent Norwegian releases. 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.

Tord Gustavsen Quartet - The Well
Two years after “Restored, Returned” introduced this line-up and with extensive touring behind them, on “The Well” the four musicians of the Gustavsen Quartet really blossom as a band in a programme of new tunes by Tord. Sax player Tore Brunborg is given an important voice here, his melodic lines combining bluesy sonority and Nordic cry. Gently but effectively propelled by the subtle pulses of drummer Jarle Vespestad and bassist Mats Eilertsen, Gustavsen’s gospel-tinged, unhurried piano playing displays a characteristic warmth and tenderness.

Press quotes:

slightly more tentative ensemble-recording featuring the musicians of the present quartet (Tore Brunborg on reeds, Mats Eilertson on bass and Jarle Vespestad on drums) The Well synthesises composer Gustavsen's high seriousness and groovy, gospel-tinged vamps. "Circling" is the track that really cooks, but it's all of a piece: stately lullaby-themes given rhythmic momentum by Vespestad's drum'n'bassy whispers. Phil Johnson, The Independent on Sunday

"haunting album." LondonJazz

Annbjørg Lien Band - Khoom Loy
Khoom Loy – fiddler Annbjørg Lien’s latest outing marks a return to her world music roots last heard on the classic albums ‘Prisme’ and Baba Yaga. Drawing on a wide spectrum of traditional influences, Lien invites the listener to join her on an emotional and captivating journey through moods and styles, confirming her as one of the genre’s true innovators. With instrumentation that includes Hardanger fiddle, (regular) fiddle, nyckelharpa and vocals mated with traditional as well as contemporary instruments, Lien’s sonic palette can justifiably be described as broad. Norwegian, Irish Eastern traditional influences are fused with jazz, rock and other contemporary styles to create an album that’s coherent and innovative – a potential classic in its own right. - Spotify

Nordic Voices - Lasse Thoresen: Himmelkvad
The album ”Himmelkvad” (Heaven Song) presents the Norwegian composer Lasse Thoresen’s vocal universe. The vocal sextet Nordic Voices, and the singer Berit Opheim Versto, impressingly perform his folk tune inspired works, using micro tonality, overtone singing and other virtuoso voice techniques. The CD presents Lasse Thoresen’s Opus 42, the Nordic Council Music Prize winner 2010, and his Sacred songs to Bahá'i prayers. - Spotify

- MIC Norway's Hilde Holbæk-Hanssen on Thoresen & Nordic Voices' 'Himmelkvad'

Motorpsycho and Ståle Storløkken – The Death Defying Unicorn
Most bands will reach a creative peak at a certain point in their career after which they simply continue in a less interesting fashion before eventually calling it a day. Not so with Motorpsycho. After more than 20 years they continue to develop and to to challenge themselves artistically. On this epic, double concept album, easily their most ambitious yet, Motorpsycho has assembled the cream of classical and jazz musicians from world class ensembles established in Trondheim, their hometown. ”The Death Defying Unicorn” was first commisioned by Molde International Jazzfestival for their 50th anniversary in 2010 where it was performed on the main outdoor stage. This, however, has been partly re-arranged, refined and recorded from scratch at Propeller Studios in Oslo with Kåre Chr. Vestrheim once again co-producing as he did with ‘Heavy Metal Fruit’. Ståle Storløkken (Supersilent, Elephant9, Humcrush, Terje Rypdal) is considered one of Norway´s top keyboardists but here he also comes into his full as a writer and not at least arranger of the two ensembles.

Hanne Hukkelberg - Featherbrain
Combining the noisy guitars and heavy rhythms of Blood From A Stone, the stripped-down, lyrical lightness from Rykestrasse 68, and the weird and quirky sound picture from Little Things, Featherbrain creates a kind of antique pop music, at the same time brittle and soft, powerful and fragile. Hukkelberg explains: -This album feels like the missing link. To understand the previous albums, you need to listen to Featherbrain, and the other way around.

Shimmering fourth album from eccentric Norwegian singer/songwriter. Here she slips into the magical vocals and multi-instrumentals she’s more comfortable with, creating the feel of home recordings. She has the same jagged enchanting sensuality as Björk, but while the latter has gone into ambient iPad apps, Hukkelberg is more ghostly off-kilter Broadway. . 4/5 Mojo

- Strong UK reviews for Hukkelberg’s latest

Album list:
(Links refer to Spotify)

Pop / rock / hiphop / electronica /metal:
Aleksander With - Aleksander With (Columbia / Sony Music)
André Holstad - Counting Backwards (Ramble On / Universal)
Benedicte Brænden - DogHouse Rose (Hocus Pocus Records / Cosmos Music Group)
Charlotte Thorstvedt – Salome (Universal)
Dunderbeist - Black Arts & Crooked Tails (Indie Recordings)
El Caco – Hatred Love & Diagrams (Indie Recordings)
Hanne Hukkelberg - Featherbrain (Propeller Recordings)
Highasakite - All that floats will rain (Riot Factory)
Jenny Hval / Håvard Volden - Nude on sand (Sofa)
Kate Havnevik - You (daWorks)
Lido Lido - Pretty Girls & Grey Sweaters (Universal)
Lindstrøm - Six Cups Of Rebel (Smalltown Supersound)
Lise Karlsnes - Dance or Die (Universal)
Marius Kristiansen - The Movement (Pilár)
Motorpsycho and Ståle Storløkken - The Death Defying Unicorn (Rune Grammofon)
Nekromantheon - Rise, Vulcan Spectre (Indie Recordings)
Ribozyme - Presenting The Problem (Indie Recordings)
Rolffa - Dálveijat (daWorks)
The Canoes - Booze & Canoes (MBN / Universal)
The Megaphonic Thrift - The Megaphonic Thrift (Neues Records / Tuba)
Tom Hugo - Sundry Tales (HW Records)
Vidar Vang - Sidewalk Silhouettes (VV Records)
William Hut - The Gathering (Universal)

World / folk:
Annbjørg Lien Band – Khoom Loy (Heilo)

Bushman's Revenge – A Little Bit Of Big Bonanza (Rune Grammofon)
Bushman's Revenge – Never Mind The Botox (Rune Grammofon)
Erland Dahlen - Rolling Bomber (Hubro)
Håkon Storm (-Mathiesen) - Zinober (NorCD)
JanErik Vold / Bill Frisell / Arild Andersen - Blackbird bye bye (Hot Club Records)
Stian Omenås - Klangklammer 1 (NorCD)
Tone Åse & Thomas Strønen Duo - Voxpheria (Gigafon)
Tord Gustavsen – The Well (ECM)
Tore Johansen - Double Rainbow (Inner Ear)
Zanussi 13 - Live (Moserobie)

Classical / contemporary:
Bodvar Moe / MiNensemblet - Jedermann (Euridice Turn Left)
Halgeir Schiager – Gustav Merkel organ works, vol. 3 (Simax Classics)
Halgeir Schiager – Gustav Merkel organ works, vol. 4 (Simax Classics)
Kristin Fossheim / Bjørn Solum / Steinar Granmo Nilsen – Beethoven Sonatas vol II (2L)
Nordic Voices / Berit Opheim Versto - Lasse Thoresen: Himmelkvad (2L)
Norwegian Flute Ensemble - From Norway (Ein mangfaldig kar)
Ruben Sverre Gjertsen - Gamelan Terrains (w/BIT20 Ensemble) (Aurora)
Øystein Baadsvik - Chameleon, Music for Tuba and Fanfare Band (BIS)

Norwegian lyrics:
Henning Kvitnes - Ingen Tid Å Miste (EMI)
Trond Granlund - Bror Min Og Jeg (NorskAmerikaner)
Elisabeth Andreassen - Kärleken & Livet - 13 Sanger Av Rolf Løvland (Grappa)
StMorritz - Norske Kompani (Columbia / Sony Music)

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Master fiddler Annbjørg Lien


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