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(39:55; Karisma Records)
Jordsjo are based around Hakon Oftung (vocals, guitar, flute, Hammond M100, Mellotron, Clavinet D6, ARP Pro) and Kristian Froland (drums, triangle, percussion) with some additional guests, and this is their fifth album in just four years so they are incredibly prolific for this style of music. This is an album out of time, as the guys refuse to sit within one particular genre of progressive rock and instead move throughout the scene, bringing it together in something which feels quite lightweight at times and massively complex at others. Just by looking at how plays what on the album, I expect from will discount Froland as “just” the drummer and that this is based all around Oftung, but while that is obviously true in some respects, here is a musician who I would expect to be as happy playing jazz as he is prog, as he is way more over the kit than many would expect. But given that virtually everything else is performed by Oftung (although a special mention should be made of Christian Meaas Svendsen – he may only play his double bass on the one song, “Mine Templer II”, but it has quite an impact), it is his vision which carries it through. It is hard for the listener to pick his main instrument, as at times it appears to be piano, at others keyboards, while his guitar and bass playing is superb and his flute sublime. It is unusual to find a musician who appears so content on woodwind, stringed instruments and keyboards, and don’t forget he also provides vocals. Vocals are in Norwegian, which I am really happy about as it adds an additional element to a non-native speaker such as myself. It isn’t unusual for there to be sections where there is very little bottom end to the arrangements, no bass and very little foundation, which moves the music in a quite different direction. Even though none of the songs are particularly lengthy (just one more than nine minutes in length, and the album itself is less than forty), there is always room for the music to shift and change considerably throughout. Jordsjo are a new name for me, even though they have been around for a while, and here is yet another I will be adding to my watchlist as this is a very strong album indeed which is highly recommended to any old school progheads.
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