When I hear Norwegian band Magic Pie’s debut back in 2005 I was just blown away and moaned it had kept many other albums away from my CD player as I couldn’t bring myself to take it off! They haven’t been the most prolific since then, but they are now back with their fifth album, with the same line-up as the last album, 2015’s ‘King For A Day’. With only drummer Jan Johannessen not contributing vocals in the six-man line-up, and both Eirikur Hauksson and Eirik Hanssen not playing instruments, one might think this is a very vocal-heavy band. That is true in many respects, but this is a symphonic progressive rock band with complex arrangements who are never afraid to crank it up and blast through, just with wonderful harmonies over the top!
Inspired by classic Seventies bands, this is a rich feast for progheads as opposed to a simple single course. It twists, it turns, it moves and grooves is easy to get inside yet at the same time there is a great deal going on. Just the opening power chord followed by complex keyboard runs of “The Man Who Had It All” had me invested in the album from the very start, smiling, waiting to see what was going to come next. That it slowed down, sped up, moved between piano and keyboards before the vocals started, just made me smile that much more. From there on it was heading down and stay focused as I just didn’t want to miss anything that was going on. Gentle Giant is just one of the influences on display, yet often in a more commercial and rock-based manner.
“The Hedonist” is the final track on offer, a simple ditty of some 22 minutes in length which allows the band to really stretch their wings and show what they can achieve in an epic. Restraint is the order of the day, as the band takes time to really get going, but when they do, they show they have been paying attention to the likes of Spock’s Beard and keep the interest going throughout. Somehow I missed the last two Magic Pie albums, I won’t be making that mistake again. Superb.
“Leker for barn, ritualer for voksne”, which translated means “Games for children, rituals for adults”, is based on two musicals for children, “The Bridge to the Other Side” and “The Root of All Evil”, and consists partly of Tusmørke’s take on traditional Norwegian children’s songs, and partly on new material by the band.
Noted for its eccentricity, and not shy about trying new and unusual things, TUSMØRKE is quite happy to admit about “Leker for barn, ritualer for voksne” that “Not everyone who took part in the plays completely understood what they were doing. Neither did everyone in the audience. But here it is, in all its gory glory as the collegium of dashing adventurers and explorers of the unknown reaches of history, known to the unwashed masses under the pseudonym TUSMØRKE, have yet again brought fresh fever from the stars”.
“Leker for barn, ritualer for voksne” is set for release on the 29th November, and will be available in CD, Digital, Black Vinyl and Limited Edition White Vinyl formats, all of which include a 16 page lyric booklet, which, according to the band, “May, or may not, explain the plot”.
With artwork by Thore Hansen, track listing for “Leker for barn, ritualer for voksne” is as follows:
Bro bro brille 9. Velkommen til Hades
Per Sjuspring 10. Kharons vise
Kjerringa med staven 11. På den ytterste nakne øya
Ta den ring 12. Jeg gikk meg over sjø og land
Tornerose 13. Den tolvte Baal
Bjørnen sover 14. Gamlas seierssang
På Torneroses slot 15. Eventyret er ute
Sjubidubidu Sju 16. Du og jeg og vi to
USMØRKE’s lineup consists of Benediktator on Bass, vocals, Glockenspiel and percussion, Krizla on Flute, vocals, electronics and percussion, The Phenomenon Marxo Solinas on Minimoog Model D, Korg CX3, William de Blaise on harpsichord, Steinway & Sons Grand Piano, Hohner Clavinet D6, Mellotron M400, Hammond C3, Wurlitzer 200 and Solina String Ensemble, and HlewagastiR on Drums and percussion. With its members drawn from bands like WOBBLER, JORDSJØ and ALWANZATAR, it is easy to understand why TUSMØRKE can make use of such a staggering variety of instruments.
“Leker for barn, ritualer for voksne” is now available to pre-order from:
Karisma Records are set to release the five classic albums from Alternative Rockers SEIGMEN, who this week will be celebrating their 30th Anniversary by playing four special one-off concerts at Bergen’s legendary Hulen venue.
The five albums in question – “Pluto” (1992), “Ameneon” (1993), “Total” (1994), “Metropolis” (1995) and “Radiowaves” (1997), have been remastered, and will appear in vinyl and CD formats, with “Total”, “Metropolis” and “Radiowaves” having been expanded to double LP versions containing bonus tracks of selected B-sides.
It will be the first time that any of the albums have be released on vinyl, and a very limited edition collectors vinyl box set will also be available, which will contain bonus material. More information about the releases will be announced during the Summer.
Hulen, Northern Europe’s oldest rock venue, is itself celebrating its 50th anniversary, so it is fitting that it should host these very special SEIGMEN concerts, which will replicate four different concerts from the ’90s.
The concerts taking place are as follows:
Wed 29 May: “Ameneon” release concert of April 1993 Thu 30 May: “Total” release concert of October 1994 Fri 31 May: “Metropolis” release concert of October 1995 Sat 01 June: “Radiowaves” release concert of September 1997
Norwegian Prog Rockers JORDSJØ are back with “Nattfiolen”, an album filled with acoustic guitars, flutes, tape echo, analogue synths and Hammond organ. Warm and dreamy, “Nattfiolen” reflects the band’s longing for a simpler life close to nature, and an imaginary past where life is centered around music.
And today Karisma Records have released a single from the album that perfectly illustrates the folk-inspired Symphonic Prog, one could almost say Forest Prog, that typifies JORDSJØ’s musical output. The single, for the track “Stifinner” can be streamed or downloaded at https://orcd.co/stifinner
Led by multi-instrumentalist Håkon Oftung (ex-Tusmørke), JORDSJØ was formed in Oslo in 2014, and is a band that draws its inspiration from old horror movies, German 70s Synth music, Swedish Prog, fantasy novels and Norwegian nature. So much so, in fact, that when, just over a year ago, JORDSJØ first spoke about “Nattfiolen”, they referred to it as “a kind of Intermezzo that will explore more deeply the mysticism that surrounds the forest”.
“Nattfiolen” is the follow-up to 2018’s critically acclaimed debut “Jord”. Recorded and mixed in JORDSJØ’s own studio, “Nattfiolen” is mastered by Jacob Holm-Lupo (White Willow, The Opium Cartel, etc.) at the Dude Ranch Studio.
With cover art by Sindre Foss Skancke and band photos by Anne-Marie Forker.
Track listing for “Nattfiolen” is as follows:
01. Ouverture 02. Stifinner 03. Solens Sirkulære Sang 04. Septemberbål 05. Mine Templer II 06. Til Våren 07. Ulvenatt
According to Riis, “Stormwatch” did not start out as it ended up:
“Stormwatch” originated as a completely different song but after countless rewrites, it turned into a 15 minute piece that in many ways sums up the theme of the new album, “A Storm is Coming”. The lyrics are a dialogue between two individuals, describing the violent tension and frustration in a relationship. As the song progresses, the storm unfolds. I’m very proud of how it turned out. There are a lot of musical references throughout that are sort of a homage to my influences and it was great fun working with both Henrik Bergan Fossum (drums) and Mimi Tamba (vocals). They both delivered outstanding performances.
With “A Storm Is Coming”, Riis, also known for his work as the co-founder, songwriter and lead guitarist of Norwegian Prog Rockers AIRBAG, has managed to combine the art of rock, prog and atmospheric pop, to produce a prog rock album laden with atmosphere, and which is both heavier, but at the same time more tender, than his previous releases.
With its themes of human relationships and loss, “A Storm Is Coming” is written as a dialogue between two people. Formed of six epic songs and clocking in at 51 minutes, the album was recorded at the Subsonic Society in Oslo, mixed by long-time collaborator Vegard Kleftås Sleipnes, and mastered by Jacob Holm-Lupo (WHITE WILLOW, THE OPIUM CARTEL).
In addition to Bjørn Riis on vocals, guitars and a wide variety of instruments, the album features performances by Henrik Bergan Fossum (AIRBAG) on drums, Simen Valldal Johannessen (OAK) on keys, Ole Michael Bjørndal on guitar, Kristian Hultgren (WOBBLER) on bass, and Mimmi Tamba on guest vocals.
With artwork by Asle Tostrup, tracklisting on “A Storm is Coming” is as follows:
With artwork by Asle Tostrup, tracklisting on “A Storm is Coming” is as follows:
1 When Rain Falls 2. Icarus 3. You And Me 4. Stormwatch 5. This House 6. Epilogue
“A Storm is Coming” will be available in Digisleeve CD, Digital, and two different vinyl formats, which include a limited edition, one-time-only pressing on marble vinyl with an alternative portrait album cover, as well as a standard black vinyl version. All formats are now available to pre-order from the following:
BJORN RIIS’ next live appearance will be on the 17 May at the three-day Terra Incognita Festival in Quebec, Canada, where fellow Karisma Records label-mates AIRBAG and OAK are also scheduled to perform.
In September he is also set to appear at the 2 Days Prog + 1 Festival in Veruno, Italy.
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