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Articles | Featured | Future

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Nils Økland Band: Kjølvatn

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Norwegian Hardanger fiddle specialist Nils Økland has a broad range of musical interests, as illustrated by his eclectic discography. His solo album Monograph (ECM, 2011) spotlighted his lyrical, folkloric side; Lysøen--Hommage à Ole Bull (ECM, 2011) with keyboardist Sigbjørn Apeland payed tribute to the Norwegian classical tradition; Lumen Drones (ECM, 2014) found him making trance music with two rock musicians; and the recent Felt Like Old Folk (Smeraldina-Rima, 2016) collaboration with the Belgian duo Linus was almost completely improvised. He ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Vossa Jazz 2016

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Vossa Jazz Various venues jny:Voss, Norway March 18-20, 2016 Perched high on the mountain side, the weather-beaten wooden farm houses of the Voss folk museum command a truly impressive view of the town below, ringed by snow-capped mountains, interlocking valleys and ice-covered fjords that stretch to the four points of the compass. Founded in 1917--the same year the Original Dixieland Jass Band recorded the first jazz record--the museum's bric-a-brac of bygone days and ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Nils Økland: Kjølvatn

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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 ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Nils Okland / Sigbjorn Apeland: Lysoen: Hommage a Ole Bull

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The problem with being tagged as traditional is an inherent and immediate perception as being somehow retro or backwards-looking when, in truth, traditions ought to be living, breathing things whose definable frames of reference aren't necessarily confined by them. Norwegian violinist Nils Økland and pianist/harmonium player Sigbjørn Apeland know this better than most; in their 1982 trio, with drummer Øyvind Skarbo, they mine a most contemporary kind of free improvisation that can't help but be informed by the traditional Norwegian ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Sigbjorn Apeland / Oyvind Skarbo / Nils Okland: 1982

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On a per capita basis, creativity and innovation coming out of Norway is thoroughly disproportionate to a population straining to reach five million. With a particularly strong reputation for its intrepid exploration of modern technology and instrumental orthodoxy, there's also plenty going on without the benefit of laptops, turntables and effects processors. When harmonium player Sigbjørn Apeland, drummer Øyvind Skarbø and violinist Nils Økland--billed as 1982 Trio--performed at the top of Mount Ulriken as part of JazzNorway in a Nutshell ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Nils Okland: Monograph

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With now over a thousand releases, ECM has become as identifiable for its pristine sound production as its sumptuous design aesthetic. Each release since its 1969 inception has been adorned with beautiful photography and abstract art that has become as inherently important as the music contained within. A testament to this, Norwegian Hardanger fiddler Nils Økland's Monograph's cover could just as easily appear to be the pipes of a grand church organ, enhancing the albums liturgical quality, or a winter ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Punkt Festival 2008: Day 3-3

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Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3

Day three of Punkt 08 ranked as one of the strongest of the past three years. What's remarkable about the programming in the Agder Theatre is the attention to details beyond the music--though that would be enough. With lights and set design by Tord Knutsen, video by Jan Martin Vagen, and a team of Norway's best sound engineers including Geir Ostenjo, Frederik Rodberg, Kjell Morten Bruun, Elise Onseng, Phillip Moe ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Nils Okland: Bris

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As cool as the fjords of Norway, the sound of the Hardanger fiddle evokes images of vast vistas, rocky terrains and untarnished skies. The sympathetic strings that run underneath those played with a bow create additional overtones that are further enriched by the traditional style of playing the instrument, which involves a moving pedal tone drone over which melodies are layered. While its roots in the traditional music of Norway--a style that has remained essentially unaltered by cultural change and ...