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(40:03; Karisma Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Ouverture 1:20 2. Stifinner 7:53 3. Solens Sirkulaere Sang 7:40 4. Septemberbaal 1:49 5. Mine Templer II 6:32 6. Til Vaaren 9:04 7. Ulvenatt 5:45 LINEUP: Haakon Oftung - vocals, guitars, flute, keyboards, synthesizers Kristian Froland - drums, triangle, percussion with: Vilde Mertensen Storesund - vocals Staale Langhelle - synthesizer Geir Opdal - synthesizer Christian Meaas Svendsen - bass Haakon Knutzen - percussion
Prolusion. Norwegian band JORDSJO was established sometime around 2014, and following a couple of self-released albums the band was picked up by Norwegian label Karisma Records who released their official debut album "Jord" in 2017. Later on their label compiled the band's earlier material into the compilation album "Jordsjo", and now in 2019 Jordsjo the band have returned with their second album "Nattfiolen". Staying put with Karisma Records as their label of choice.
Analysis. Jordsjo is very much what one would describe as a retro-oriented progressive rock band. The overall mood and sound is of the kind that drips early 1970's from the very first note, and if the keyboards aren't all analogue and the Mellotron isn't a vintage one, the sounds produced by the instruments sounds like the real things throughout. That their chosen form is symphonic progressive rock kind of comes with the territory, and that they generally shy away from the more conventional expressions of the major bands of the genre from their chosen era is to the band's credit as well. Layered keyboards, organ and liberal amounts of Mellotron dominate the album, with the flute a fairly constant companion and the guitar used for more subtle additions to the soundscapes. The bass is present too of course, in a subtle but often elaborate manner, but also used to convey harder, tighter and occasionally booming sounds and effects that adds a lot to the proceedings at times. The drums have perhaps the most understated presence here, mainly because you hardly notice them beneath everything else that is so captivating to the mind and the soul alike. This is very much a romantic album in many ways, due to the moods and atmospheres explored. Music lost in time, and music from a time and an era when we were more innocent, when the world was larger and more mystical. The mystical bits find their way into these compositions as well, in between the folk music tendencies and the occasional more jazz-oriented movements by the bass and the guitar in particular. Quite a few songs contains details fans of good, old Bo Hansson will recognize, other moments may make one recall classic era Eloy. With a member also active in Norwegian band Tusmorke certain similarities to that band at times isn't a surprise, and when the press blurb notes Wobbler as a similar band I don't quite agree to that although certain similarities does appear here and there. Jordsjo can be described as existing inside a quadrant made up of these four artists to some extent, mixing and blending elements from these - or perhaps pursuing and exploring the musical ideas that inspired these four in the first place. All of it tastefully done and executed, resulting in an album that for many will be their very special album of 2019 I surmise.
Conclusion. For those who know and love their vintage era symphonic progressive rock, Jordsjo is a band they need to note down on their list of bands to explore. With references like Bo Hansson, early Eloy, possibly Camel and probably quite a few more candidates, their Earthen, mystical symphonic progressive rock is a delightful trip into the lesser explored sounds of the early 1970's, and one I imagine will be found desirable by just about anyone that finds such a description to be interesting.
Progmessor: November 30th 2019
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