Jordsjø released their first album to appear on CD, Jord, earlier this year through Karisma Records, and it has become one of my top releases for this year. The band’s previous releases, Jordsjø, Jordsjø II and the Songs from the Northern Wasteland split album with Breidablik, appeared on cassette and digital only, they then joined Karisma for the release of Jord. Through Karisma they now have the opportunity to release these earlier albums in one 2CD collection; at ninety five minutes it is a lengthy affair, but oh so worth it as you get the chance to hear the music which was the foundation and building blocks for the excellent Jord, clearly showing the path taken towards its creation and featuring many of their trademark sounds in their continuing development.
Jordsjø are from Oslo, Norway and have been inspired by old horror movies, Seventies German synth music, Swedish prog and Norwegian nature and folk, an interesting mix to be sure that shines through in their music which has an earthy quality with some symphonic flourishes and, at times, a darker undercurrent. They do add some spacey/psychedelic touches along with a Norwegian folk feel and overall the sound is very interesting, retro due to the use of vintage instruments but still containing that modern production style. Vintage keyboards wrap around some great guitar work, the addition of flute lifting the songs to another level.
Throughout the seventeen tracks on the album the band have been able to create a lot of variety, which maintains the interest. The music has a sixties/seventies vibe to some of the songs, but this works so well as they are able to still sound new and fresh.
Things kick off with a track entitled UK Original (a title very different from the rest), here the sixties/seventies vibe is clear, provided by the organ. This is intercut with an occasional eighties motif, the song developing a doomy feel towards the end, somewhat lightened by some lovely flute. The use of the flute throughout gives this album extra appeal and is a cornerstone of the band’s sound; it draws you in to the melodies, showcasing its interplay with keyboards and guitar alike.
On the track Postludium there is minimalist flute and keyboard which gives rise to a medieval-like sound in a short but mesmerising song, beautifully paced. Another short track is Betula Obscura, here provided by percussion and flute, an interesting piece showing variety.
Ogion begins with the sounds of birds and water before a lovely acoustic guitar with at first distant keyboards providing atmosphere. When the flute enters the pace picks up, slowing again half way before the flute, like a conductor instructs the pace to increase again. The lyrics are sung in English on this song, and towards its conclusion the keyboards give an ELP feel to the music. Overall a very interesting song, perfectly paced and constructed. I Atuans Gravkammer has a nice bright feel, folksy and psychedelic at times, with the flute taking the lead and creating the melody. Towards the end of the track they deliver a great little flute and bass duet.
These songs are just a snapshot of the tracks in this collection, all of which are well constructed and beautifully paced; there is an earthy, natural flow and feel. There is variety throughout in their approach, but the entire time holding on to their individualistic sound. As I pointed out earlier, this album is a great indicator of how they arrived at the excellent Jord. If that album spoke to you, the way it has to me, then I believe this is a worthy addition to your collection.
01. UK Original (6:32)
02. Hulderheimen (5:28)
03. Ogion (8:46)
04. The Goddess (Of Light) (4:20)
05. Bilder Fra En Skog (6:22)
06. Heksekogen (4:11)
07. Postludium (1:11)
Time – 34:50
01. Mine Templer I (6:12)
02. Den Klaustrofobiske Masken (8:26)
03. Svarthelleren (5:58)
04. Under Aurora B (8:57)
05. I Atuans Gravkammer (6:50)
06. Betula Obscura (1:36)
07. Se Valinors Lamper! (7:10)
08. Fugløykallen (3:46)
09. Solina, Min Dronning (7:06)
10. I Mommos Trädgård (2:39)
Time – 58:40
Total Time – 93:30
Håkon Oftung – Vocals, Guitars, Flute, Keyboards, FX
Kristian Froland – Drums
Håkon Knutzen – Guitars
Martin Nordrum Kneppen – Drums
Tore Flatjord – Drums
Vilde Mortensen Storesund – Vocals
Record Label: Karisma Records
Country of Origin: Norway
Date of Release: 6th August 2018