All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

13

Nils Økland: Kjølvatn

Karl Ackermann By

Sign in to view read count
The significance of the Hardanger Fiddle—a homespun Norwegian variation of the violin—is that while it is played on four strings, as a similar string instrument would be, it has four or five additional strings under the fingerboard which vibrate during playing. Though its use has been limited in modern music, Nils Økland has not only mastered it, but has expanded its scope across non- traditional folk styles from rock, trance and classical to jazz. On Kjølvatn he plays an assortment of stringed instruments but it is this fiddle that supplies the most unusual music.

Økland's career has not been skewed toward commercially acceptable projects but to varied artistic endeavors that bridge perceptions about instrumentation and genre. He has taken his fiddle, violin and viola to the more folk-oriented territory of Bris (Rune Grammofon, 2004) to the far edgier and sometimes psychedelic Lumen Drones (ECM, 2014). On Kjølvatn Økland retains the folkloric atmosphere of his native land—and a Celtic feel in general—while infusing a stronger jazz influence in his ten original compositions. Here, the effects of his work with the chamber ensemble of Christian Wallumrod and the altogether dissimilar work of multi- instrumentalist/composer Georg Buljos can be seen as coming together with Økland's own organic touch.

Despite a crafty groove, "Mali" opens the collection in the previously mentioned Celtic vein, and while not a reel, it is up-tempo and infectious. "Undergrunn," in sharp contrast, is a beautifully melancholy piece as is the title track with Mats Eilertsen's bass dictating the mood. Darker still is the ominous "Drev," where Rolf—Erik Nylstrøm's saxophone rumbles and the ominous "Puls" with Håkon Mørch Stene's undercurrent of booming percussion joining Eilertsen. "Blå harding" evokes the Scottish highlands thanks to Sigbjorn Apeland's harmonium and Økland on either the viola or fiddle (the two having quite similar dynamics).

These string instruments are potent tools in the hands of Økland. He conveys a range of emotions from celebratory to mournful and does so without unnecessary embellishment; without sentimentality or excess of any kind. The quintet expertly provides emphasis or subtlety where needed and they work toward a common goal even when improvising. Kjølvatn is a beautiful album; strong, nuanced and full of brilliantly conceived ideas made whole.

Track Listing: Mali; Undergrunn; Drev; Kjølvatn; Puls; Fivreld; Start; Skugge; Blå harding; Amstel.

Personnel: Nils Økland: viola d’amore, hardanger fiddle, violin; Rolf–Erik Nylstrøm: saxophone; Sigbjørn Apeland: harmonium; Håkon Mørch Stene: percussion, vibraphone; Mats Eilertsen: double bass.

Title: Kjølvatn | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: ECM Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

CD/LP/Track Review
Live Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Kjølvatn

Kjølvatn

ECM Records
2016

buy
Lumen Drones

Lumen Drones

ECM Records
2015

buy
Monograph

Monograph

ECM Records
2010

buy
1982

1982

NORCD
2010

buy

Related Articles

Read Always Forward CD/LP/Track Review
Always Forward
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 15, 2018
Read The Music of Richard Whiting CD/LP/Track Review
The Music of Richard Whiting
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: November 15, 2018
Read Barefoot Dances and Other Visions CD/LP/Track Review
Barefoot Dances and Other Visions
by Jerome Wilson
Published: November 15, 2018
Read Twinscapes Vol. 2: A Modern Approach To The Dancefloor CD/LP/Track Review
Twinscapes Vol. 2: A Modern Approach To The Dancefloor
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 15, 2018
Read Talking with Charlie - An Imaginary Talk with Charlie Parker CD/LP/Track Review
Talking with Charlie - An Imaginary Talk with Charlie Parker
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 15, 2018
Read The Gene Krupa Quartet: Live 1966! CD/LP/Track Review
The Gene Krupa Quartet: Live 1966!
by Richard J Salvucci
Published: November 15, 2018
Read "The Space" CD/LP/Track Review The Space
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: November 6, 2018
Read "The Literature" CD/LP/Track Review The Literature
by Karl Ackermann
Published: August 3, 2018
Read "Wings Uncaged" CD/LP/Track Review Wings Uncaged
by Geannine Reid
Published: November 2, 2018
Read "Open Borders" CD/LP/Track Review Open Borders
by Jack Bowers
Published: January 14, 2018
Read "Congo" CD/LP/Track Review Congo
by Chris May
Published: April 28, 2018
Read "Lessons Lyrical" CD/LP/Track Review Lessons Lyrical
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: January 12, 2018