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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Nils Okland & Sigbjorn Apeland - Lysoen (Hommage à Ole Bull)



Artist: Nils Okland & Sigbjorn apeland
Release: 2011
Label: ECM
Genre: Ambient, Classical, Folk, Jazz

Tracklist:

1. Stusle Sundagskvelden
2. La Mélancolie
3. Belg og slag
4. Grålysning
5. Sylkje-Per
6. Solstraum
7. Theme From Nocturne
8. Eg ser deg utfor gluggjen
9. Ole Bull-vals
10. I Rosenlund under Sagas Hall / La Folia
11. Tjødn
12. Jeg har så lun en hytte
13. Solveigs sang
14. Sylkje-Per, var.
15. La Mélancolie, var.
16. Sæterjentens Søndag

Download

And suddenly it was June... Maintaining any kind of regular schedule was never really my intention but holy shit do I ever know how to procrastinate like a boss. There is still quite a lot I feel like sharing and once every month isn't going to cut it so I'll try to increase the pace just a little (writing this is more like a promise to myself). Anyway, bringing you a 2011 release...

I’m not quite sure how to describe this album. What troubles me most is that I found in the jazz section, except it doesn’t sound particularly jazzy at all. It sounds much more like mix between ambient, folk and classical music set within the typical haunting, ethereal frame that traditional Norwegian music tends to have. I overgeneralize but you get the drift.

Ole Bull, to whom this little album is dedicated, was a classical Norwegian composer and violinist who lived from 1810 to 1880 (i.e. Romantic era) and spent the last of his days in his fairy tale-like villa (which is open for visit, for any intrestees) on a little island off the Norwegian shores called Lysoen (which is also where the album was recorded). That much for album title explanations.

Bull was really quite a talented violin player. A virtuoso if you will. He has shared the stage with Liszt, was one of the prime inspirations for Edvard Grieg so albeit he isn’t all that popular and well known nowadays (the reality is that very little of his compositions are known to us today. Most were lost.) he was still quite big back in his days. He composed very much in the Romantic spirit (the island and the villa there are pretty much the embodiment of it), but was also greatly inspired by the traditional Norwegian folk music.

Now, about 200 years after Bull's birth, these 2 mucisians are paying their respects to this great composer and even though this album is dedicated to Ole Bull, Okland and Apeland do not blindly play his compositions from start to end. Hell, not even all songs on the album are Bull’s compositions. There’s also a bunch of Norwegian traditionals on there. What should be noted though is that all of it are arrangements by the musicians and that there is a whole lot of improvisation in play as well. So even should you be familiar with the songs, you’re going to hear something very different.

On the piano and harmonium we find Apeland, probably an unknown name to most (to me as well) but even so he has already quite a number of recordings on his name. On the violin and hardanger fiddle we find Okland who has done some work in experimental / folk as well as some work in jazz as part of the Christian Wallumrød Ensemble.

The result, well, that’s for you to hear. All in all I can say it’s quite poignant and melancholic at one time and very heartwarming at another.


Give it a spin.

6 comments:

  1. As I have a plan to buy this as a gift for my father I appreciate the opportunity to listen to it first, thanks for sharing!

    www.jonosaudio.blogspot.com

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  2. There is something strangely hypnotic about this record, without being totally 'ambient.' I enjoyed the samples I heard - thanks very much for posting.

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  3. I am so interested to listen to them!
    Thank you so much for your post.

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