Over the last ten years, the Norwegian music scene has been thriving.  It’s now one of the most vibrant musical scenes in Europe. Playing an important part in the rise and rise of Norwegian music, are the  members of Finland, whose debut album Rainy Omen, will be released on the 17th July 2015, by Hubro Music.

During that ten year period, Ivar Grydeland, Pål Hausken, Morten Qvenild and Jo Berger Myhre have been members of various bands. They’ve also worked with numerous artists on a variety of projects. 

Given the schedules of the various members of Finland, they could be forgiven for sticking to their “day jobs.” There was no chance of that. The members of Finland love music. It courses through their veins. So in 2010, Ivar Grydeland, Pål Hausken, Morten Qvenild and Jo Berger Myhre formed Finland, who are best described as a multitalented supergroup.

That’s because Finland have an enviable musical pedigree. The four members of Finland have previously, been members of some of Norway’s most groundbreaking band. They’ve also worked alongside some of the biggest names in Norwegian music. This describes Ivar Grydeland, perfectly.

Ivar Grydeland was born in Trondheim in 1976, when was twenty, Ivar began to study at the Norwegian Academy of Music. He graduated in 2000, but returned in 2001 and graduated in 2003. Since then, Ivar has been a member of numerous groups, including Dans Les Arbres, Emo Albino, Finland, HISS, No Spaghetti Edition, Tony Oxley Project 1 and Wazahugy. However, many people will know Ivar Grydeland as Huntsville’s guitarist. He played on Huntsville’s five studio albums. On Finland’s Rainy Omen, Ivan also plays banjo, pedal steel, lap steel guitar acoustic guitar and adds vocals. This talented multi-instrumentalist is joined by an equally talented rhythm section.

The first member of Finland’s rhythm section is drummer Pål Hausken, who has been a member of many bands. This included Hilde Marie Kjersem, TUB Quartet, In The Country, Jonas H. Sjøvaag’s Navyelectre Large Ensemble, Music For A While and Sacred Hearts. Pål Hausken has also worked alongside Christer Knutsen, Ida Jenshus and Susanna Wallumrød. That’s not surprising. He’s one of Noway’s top drummers. Joining Pål Hausken in the rhythm section is another man with an illustrious musical past, bassist Jo Berger Myhre.

Describing Jo Berger Myhre as a bassist is unfair. Jo’s much more than a bassist. He also plays electric and baritone guitar. Again, Jo who has been a member of several bands, Splashgirl and Slow Motion Orchestra. Jo has previously played alongside Nils Petter Molvær and Mariam the Believer. However, for the last five years, Jo has been a member of Finland, where he’s the perfect foil for Pål Hausken. The final member of Finland is keyboard virtuoso Morten Qvenild.

Just like other members of Finland, keyboard virtuoso Morten Qvenild has been a member of numerous bands. This includes sPaceMonkey, In the Country, Susanna and the Magical Orchestra and The National Bank. That’s not all. Previously, Morten was been a member of Jagga Jazzist and The Shining. However, for the last five years, Morten Qvenild has been a member of one of Norwegian music’s rising stars, Finland.

Since 2010, the members of Finland have had to juggle their other musical commitments with that of Finland. However, when their schedules dictate, Finland play live. Finland live, and in full flight, is an impressive sight and sound. 

When Finland take to the stage, four of Norway’s top musicians, fuse a disparate and eclectic selection of musical genres. The result is music that’s not just inventive, but innovative. After concerts, constantly, the members are asked when they will be releasing their debut album? Usually, the answer has been when they can find the time. However, now the time has come.

On 17th July 2015, Finland will release their debut album Rainy Omen, on Hubro Music. Rainy Omen has been a long time coming. 

The sessions for Rainy Omen took place at Parachute Studio in Oslo, with technician Øystein Frantzvåg. Once the Rainy Omen sessions were complete, the album was mixed by Juhani Silvola. Since then, Rainy Omen has lain unreleased. Finland were waiting for the right time. 

Partly, that was so the members of Finland could find time within their schedules. Getting everyone in the same place at the same time isn’t easy. It’s a logistical nightmare. However, eventually, everyones schedules permitted the release of Rainy Omen, which will be released on the 17th July 2015. This five track album shows why Finland are perceived as one of the rising stars of Norwegian music.

Dust Driven which opens Rainy Omen was written by Morten Qvenild. From the moment Finland are counted in, the track takes on a slightly experimental sound. Clunky drums, chiming crystalline guitars combine in the middle distance. A pizzicato guitar can be heard, while Ivan encourages Finland along. Soon, they combining quivering, shimmering, cinematic guitars with Finland’s rhythm section. A bold bass line is joined by hypnotic drums and keyboards. Washes of a lysergic, summery sounding arrangement unfold, as Finland fuse experimental, rock and surf seamlessly.

Slow and cinematic describes the introduction to George Lumineux, which is a Ivar Grydeland composition. That’s before the steel guitar and rhythm section combine to drive the arrangement along. Soon, the tempo is rising, as washes futuristic music sits above the main arrangement. By then, it’s best described as ethereal. Then Finland throw another curveball, as the arrangement rings out. That’s down to the guitars, while the rhythm section contribute the heartbeat. A muted, scrabbled bass joins the crystalline, neo Byrdsian guitars. Elements of avant garde and industrial music can be heard in this captivating, genre melting soundscape. It’s the perfect showcase for Finland, Norways fab four.

Jo Berger Myhre wrote Magnetic Sail. Straight away, it sounds like the soundtrack to a Wim Wenders film. Indeed, if Paris Texas was going to be remade in 2015, Magnetic Sail would be perfect. It’s slow,  moody, but beautiful. The slow, moody sound comes courtesy of the rhythm section. Meanwhile, washes of shimmering, quivering guitars tremble provide the ethereal beauty on what’s Rainy Omen’s finest moment. 

No Low Voices is a fourteen minute epic, written by Ivar and Jo. It sees Finland rock out. That’s the case from the get-go. Guitarist Ivar Grydeland, drummer Pål Hausken and bassist Jo Berger Myhre are like a power trio. While the rhythm section drive the arrangement along, a joyous jangling guitar rings out. This seems to encourage drummer Pål Hausken. Frantically, he powers his way round his kit. Bassist Jo Berger Myhre matches him every step of the way. Adding the finishing touch is Morten Qvenild’s keyboards. However, this frantic tempo can’t continue indefinitely. So, midway through the track the tempo drops and the track veers between cinematic to moody and ominous. Providing the moody, ominous sound are the drums, while guitars add a cinematic twist. Keyboards add an experimental hue, as the track becomes a dark, driving rock jam that allows Finland to showcases their considerable skills.

Rainy Omen closes Rainy Omen. This Jo Berger Myhre penned track, is very different from the previous track. It’s slow, trippy and has a darkness. The darkness comes courtesy of Ivar’s guitar. By contrast his guitars play a large part in the slow, triply and cinematic sound. Behind him, the rhythm section play slowly, adding a dramatic backdrop. By then, Finland are jamming, and into the tightest of grooves. The arrangement then takes on a moody, experimental sound. Drums provide a pounding heartbeat, while an industrial sound emerges in the background. It’s a truly innovative and atmospheric soundscape, where Finland show just why, they’re considered one of the rising stars of the Norwegian music scene.

Finland have been together since 2010, and recorded Rainy Omen in June 2011. By then, they had only been together a year. Already, they were a tight, talented band. That’s not surprising, as Finland featured four of the top musicians in Norway’s vibrant musical scene.

Ivar Grydeland, Pål Hausken, Morten Qvenild and Jo Berger Myhre had been at the heart of the Norwegian scene for over ten years. During that period, they had been part of some of the most important and innovative bands of the past decide. The members of Finland had also worked with some truly inventive and groundbreaking musicians. They’ve obviously learnt from each of these musicians, and grown and matured as musicians. By the time they formed Finland, they were vastly experienced and looking for another musical challenge. They found it in Finland.

It was like a meeting of minds. Each of the members of Finland’s musical raison d’être was to make groundbreaking music. They wanted to push musical boundaries to their limits, and sometimes, way beyond. That’s what they do on Rainy Omen. The music in innovative, inventive and genre-melting. Elements of avant garde, experimental, industrial, jazz, psychedelia and rock are combined to make music that’s veers between atmospheric and cinematic to dark and dramatic. Other times, the music on Rainy Omen flits between beautiful to ethereal, and between lysergic and trippy. Always, though, the music on Rainy Omen is captivating, and results in what’s without doubt, one of the best debut albums of 2015. So good is Rainy Omen, that I eagerly await their sophomore album.

Especially since the music on Rainy Omen was recorded in between the 4th and 6th of June 2011. Finland have come a long way in the past four years. So much so, that Finland are now regarded as one of the rising stars of Norwegian. Rainy Omen is just a tantalising taste of what Finland are capable of. The followup up to Rainy Omen could be Finland’s Magnus Opus. Only time will tell.



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