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(37:45, Karisma Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Over Vidda 1:48 2. Abstraksjoner Fra Et Dunkelt Kammer 6:50 3. Finske Skoger 2:56 4. Jord I 6:24 5. Jord II 8:27 6. La Meg Forsvinne! 6:38 7. Postludium 4:42 LINEUP: Haakon Oftung - vocals, flute, guitars, keyboards Kristian Froland - drums, percussion With: Robert William Dall Froseth - bass
Prolusion. Norwegian band Jordsjo started out as a side project for composer and musician Haakon Oftung back in 2014, which has subsequently grown to become a two man venture and then eventually into a four man strong band unit. Four albums have been released under the Jordsjo moniker by now, all of them as cassette only releases. "Jord" from 2017 is the most recent of these, and this production is also set for a proper CD release, courtesy of Norwegian label Karisma Records, at the end of February this year.
Analysis. Jordsjo have, I assume, taken their name from the late Ursula K. LeGuin's trilogy Earthsea, as the band name is a literal translation of that word. A name that is rather fitting on many levels. The music has a distinct Earthly sheen to it, the moods explored invites to associations about both myths and magic, and the style explored is one that isn't a stranger to connections with various forms of fantastic literature. Symphonic progressive rock is the name of the game here, and one with a strong reference to the vintage era of that type of music too. Those in the need for arrays of vintage keyboards and synthesizers will get their fill here, up to and including both the good, old Mellotron and classic organ sounds. The compositions tends to twist and turn this way and that way, with both gentler atmospheric laden passages and harder edged sections where firm vintage guitar riffs combines with one or more tangent instruments in a manner all fans of classic era symphonic progressive rock will find familiar sounding. The vocals are functional more than impressive, while a booming bass guitar on a select few tracks adds depth and vitality to the proceedings. The guitar, on the other hand, has a rather more versatile role. Often providing careful, plucked wandering and circulating patterns emphasizing another aspect of this bands sound, as well as providing gliding, atmospheric laden guitar solo runs that combines oh so sweetly with the various keyboards and synthesizers in use. Jordsjo adds elements from both jazz and folk music to their excursions, where the latter aspect is the most dominant by far. The guitar is used well here, both in acoustic and electric manner. The latter in particular is used to provide a nice array of Norwegian folk music details to the material explored, which does give the music a particular mood and atmosphere not too many artists outside of Scandinavia are able to. Liberal use of flute motifs also emphasize this, ahem, Earthen element the band appears to be rather fond of adding in. Some of the songs have been given a slight coating of cosmic sounds too, and on concluding piece Postludium the band takes a sharp left turn to give us an almost five minute long excursion into vintage progressive electronic landscapes. Which, I guess, indicates that future albums by this band may have a few more dimensions to be added to the landscapes yet to be explored.
Conclusion. Those fond of classic era symphonic progressive rock should take note of Jordsjo straight away, and note down this band as one that warrants a check sooner rather than later. In particular those fond of mid 70's Camel and Eloy in my opinion, and then especially those that think they would enjoy music of that kind given a light but firm seasoning of Scandinavian folk music elements.
Progmessor: January 30th, 2018
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