Music like fashion, constantly continues to change. That has been the case since the birth of rock ’n’ roll. In 1964, a new type of rock group was born, the power trio. It consisted of just drums, bass and guitar. One of the earliest power trios The Mudders, was founded in 1964 by Frank Zappa. Over the next couple of years, the power trio became popular in both sides of the Atlantic.
Two years later, in 1966, Joe Walsh formed The James Gang in Cleveland, Ohio in 1966, while guitarist Rory Gallagher formed Taste in Cork, in Ireland. Meanwhile, Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker formed Cream in July 1966. History had just been made. Cream would become the most successful of the sixties power trios, selling fifteen million copies of the four albums they released in just under three years.
Soon, many more power trios were following in Cream’s footsteps. One of the highest profile and most successful was The Jimi Hendrix Experience. It was formed in 1966, continued right up until Jimi Hendrix’s death on September ’18th’ 1970. By then, power trios were de rigueur
The only problem was, that every three-piece band was referred to as a power trio, regardless of the instrumentation they used. All sorts of combinations of instrumentation has fallen under the power trio banner. However, there’s only one band that have successfully combined drums, harmonium and Hardanger fiddle, harmonium. That is the Norwegian group 1982, who will release their fifth album Chromola on Hubro Music on the ‘24th’ of March 2017. Chromola marks the welcome return of 1982, who were founded ten years ago in 2007.
That was when Sigbjørn Apeland, Øyvind Skarbø and Nils Økland formed 1982. The nascent group was a essentially a Norwegian supergroup. 1982 featured three of Norway’s most inventive, innovative and experienced musicians.
Each member of 1982 had a wealth of experience. They had all been members of a variety of bands and worked extensively as sidemen. The three members 1982 were no strangers to a recording studio, and had all previously worked as producers. In the case of Nils Økland, the most experienced member of 1982, he had already released a trio of solo albums. However, 1982 was a new chapter in his career. 1982 would become a vehicle to showcase the collective talents of Norway’s latest power trio.
Sigbjørn Apeland, Øyvind Skarbø, Nils Økland.
Two years after 1982 was formed, they released their much anticipated debut album, Sigbjørn Apeland, Øyvind Skarbø, Nils Økland. Critical acclaim accompanied the improvisational trio’s debut album. It was an ambitious, innovative and inventive album, while 1982 were called one of Norway’s most exciting bands.
The next chapter in the 1982 story took place at the Grieghallen Studio, in Bergen, on December the ‘7th’ 2010. That day, 1982 recorded the eight tracks that became their sophomore album Pintura. However, it wasn’t released for nearly a year.
In 2011, 1982 signed to Hubro Music which has been their home ever since. By then, word was spreading about 1982 and their unique improvisational style. It would continue to spread when 1982 released their sophomore album, Pintura on the ‘28th’ of November 201, 1982. It found 1982 picking up where they left off on Sigbjørn Apeland, Øyvind Skarbø, Nils Økland. This was a starting point for another critically acclaimed album featuring groundbreaking and genre-melting music. However, for their third album, 1982 would collaborate with a musical veteran.
1982 + B.J. Cole.
This was none other than the legendary pedal steel player B.J. Cole. He joined 1982 at Grieghallen Studio, Bergen on December ‘7th’ 2011. For many people, 1982 and B.J. Cole might have seemed like unlikely collaborators. Especially, given how different their respective musical backgrounds were. However, this is what people have come to expect from 1982. They were determined to push musical boundaries to their limit, and sometimes, beyond. This is what they did on what became 1982 + B.J. Cole.
Eleven months later, and 1982 + B.J. Cole was released on the ‘29th’ of October 2012. It was hailed by critics as another ambitious and innovative album from the pioneering power trio. Upon its release, 1982 + B.J. Cole proved to be the most successful album the Norwegian supergroup had released. So when it came time for 1982 to release their fourth album, A/B was another collaboration.
When work began on what would be A/B, 1982 decided their fourth album would be another collaboration. This time, 1982 invited wind players Fredrik Ljungkvist of Atomic, Erik Johannessen of Jaga Jazzist, plus Sofya Dudaeva, Hanne Liland Rekdal, Matthias Wallin and Stian Omenås. They joined 1982 on what was a rather unorthodox collaboration.
When A/B was released on the ‘2nd’ of May 2014, critics discovered an album that harked back to the days of the vinyl album. Essentially, A/B was an album of two parts, the A-side and B-Side.
Just one lengthy piece, 18.16 featured on The A-Side, where 1982 were joined by a wind sextet. The rest of A/B was a series of groundbreaking sonic journeys that critics hailed as 1982’s finest hour. This set the bar high for 1982s future albums.
Nearly two years passed before 1982’s thoughts turned to their fifth album, Chromola. Just like their four previous albums, 1982 planned to record Chromola in their home town of Bergen. 1982 had decided to record Chromola over a two day period between ‘11th’ and ‘12th’ of May 2016. This was an ambitious plan, with little, or no margin for error. 1982 would need to bring their A game to Bergen for these two days.
As the ‘11th’ of May 2016, approached 1982 knew would be no ordinary recording session. On the evening of Wednesday the ‘11th’ of May, 1982 were due to give a concert at the Sandviken church in Bergen.
That night, 1982 took to the stage alone. No guest artists joined them onstage. This was very different to 1982s two previous albums, where they had collaborated with a variety of artists. Not this time around though.
The only person that would join 1982 at the Sandviken church, were producer Øyvind Skarbø and Davide Bertolini. He had engineered 1982s four previous albums and would oversee the recording of the concert.
Just before 1982 took to the stage at the Sandviken church, Davide Bertolini pressed play and the tapes started to run. Øyvind Skarbø took his seat behind his drum kit. Meanwhile Sigbjørn Apeland moved towards the pipe organ, and glanced towards his harmonium that sat nearby. Nils Økland moved towards the front of the stage holding his Hardanger Fiddle. Later, he would switch to the violin that sat nearby. As the lights were dimmed, 1982 began what was a very special concert.
The concert was a homecoming for 1982, who grew up in Bergen. They were the hometown heroes who were now one of Norway’s top bands. Soon, 1982 were in full flight, and the people of Bergen proved to be an appreciative and enthusiastic audience. By the time the concert drew to a close, 1982 were conquering heroes. However, as 1982 took their final bow, they knew that tomorrow they had an album to record.
On Thursday ’12th’ of May, 1982 returned to the Sandviken church to begin work on Chromola. For the first time since they released sophomore album Pintura in 1982, 1982 were about to record an album alone. There were neither collaborators nor guest artists waiting in the wings.
The only other people in the Sandviken church were producer Øyvind Skarbø and engineer Davide Bertolini. He was preparing to oversee the recording of the seven tracks 1982 had written for Chromola. Soon, the time came for 1982 to take their places.
Øyvind Skarbø settled behind his drum kit. Sigbjørn Apeland sat at the pipe organ, which would feature on six tracks. His harmonium only featured 03:52. For his parts, Nils Økland would switch between Hardanger Fiddle and violin. Over the course of the ’12th’ of May, 1982s fifth album took shape. By the end of the day, 1982 had achieved their goal and completed the recording of Chromola.
All that was left was for Chromola to be mixed and mastered. It was mixed by Davide Bertolini between the ‘29th’ and ’31st’ of August 2016. Morten Lund then mastered Chromola on the ‘30th’ September 2016, in Oslo. Once the album was complete, 1982 could begin the planning their tenth anniversary.
What better way for 1982 to celebrate ten years of making groundbreaking music, than with a the release of their new album Chromola.
Opening Chromola is 07:56, where drums pound, cymbals hiss and an organ drones. It’s played deliberately and dramatically, before flamboyant flourishes provide a contrast to the darkness and drama. Adding to the drama is the urgent violin, while Øyvind works his way around the drum kit. Soon, the violin transforms the soundscape, adding a ruminative sound, that allows for reflection. So does the organ, as it’s played slowly and deliberately. The drums are still played with speed and power adding a contrast. Meanwhile, the organ drones as the violin adds a beautiful, heart-wrenching sound and they unite Beauty, drama and a melancholy sound combine as the tempo rises and falls. As it falls, the violin sits above the drone, as the arrangement is stripped bare before the drama builds and music becomes ruminative on this powerful and poignant soundscape.
Drums play ominously as drone is joined by a thoughtful violin on 06:19. Gradually, the mesmeric arrangement unfolds. The organ is played slowly, while hypnotic drums add an element of drama on this cinematic soundscape. By now, the organ and violin unite and create wistful, but beautiful backdrop as the drums provide the heartbeat. Later, Sigbjørn enjoy their moment in the sun as they play a starring role. Soon, they’re joined by the expressive sounding violin. Just like the organ, it adds to the drama on this cinematic soundscape before it reaches its crescendo.
A distant drone is joined by a tender, melancholy sounding violin on 06:37. Soon, the pipe organ plays, while a brief shriek gives way to the a reflective, soul-baring violin. Meanwhile, the organ drones, but takes care not to overpower the violin. At one point, the violin wails, as if recalling hurt or heartbreak. Later, the organ takes on a liturgical sound, before sympathising with hurt or heartbreak suffered by the violin. As the soundscape builds, the organ plays, cymbals crash and join flourishes of fiddle. Suddenly, a beautiful, hopeful and joyous sound emerges. Before long, there’s a return to the reflective and liturgical sound on this musical emotional roller coaster.
Understated describes 07:00, as sounds flit in and out this experimental sounding track. Scratchy strings, a distant dark rumbiling drone and found sounds combine. Suddenly, a drum cracks, before the organ wheezes and the wistful violin play. Soon, it’s joined by an organ that ebbs and flows. When it drops out, all that remains is the distant violin, an industrial sound. This adds a cinematic sound, and at one point, it sounds like a boat’s engine as the wistful violin plays a lament.
There’s a military sound to the drums that open 04:03. It plays ominously, as the organ drones and is joined by the fiddle. They create a cinematic backdrop. It’s as if 1982 are marching off to battle. There’s a sense of melancholia, as the organ drones and grows in power. So do the drums. As they march off into the distance, all that remains is the fiddle playing its sad refrain.
Fingers scrabble across the fiddle strings on 04:45. Meanwhile, the pitter patter of drums can be heard in the background. Found sounds are added, as bursts of sound emerge from the organ. By then, the soundscape has taken on an experimental sound. Elements of avant-garde and free jazz, combine as 1982 improvise. The pipe organ is poked and stabbed, resulting in array of challenging, discordant and melodic sounds escaping. Meanwhile the scratchy fiddle wails, clicks and cracks emerge from Øyvind’s drums. All the time, 1982 are pushing musical boundaries on this ambitious and genre-melting soundscape.
04:09 closes 1982’s fifth album Chromola, which celebrates this innovative band’s tenth anniversary. Atmospheric sounds combine with the wistful violin, as the rest of 1982 transform everyday items into makeshift instruments. Crackles and squeaks join the violin, before the organ drones and cymbals are caressed. Soon, the organ takes centre-stage, adding a melancholy sound before droning dramatically. The drums play pound and rap, as the organ soars above the soundscape. Latterly, all that remains is the violin. Its ruminative sound allows time for refection on this poignant sounding soundscape, as 1982 take their leave on this very special album.
Chromola is the much anticipated fifth album from the Bergen based 1982. It will be released by Hubro Music on the ‘24th’ of March 2017, just in time for 1982 to celebrate their tenth anniversary. The Bergen based supergroup have come a long way since then.
Nowadays, 1982 are one of the leading lights of the Norwegian music scene. However, 1982s music has also found an audience much further afield. That is no surprise, as 1982 are musical poisoners, who have spent the last ten years creating ambitious, challenging, inventive and innovative music. However, 1982 reach new heights on Chromola.
After a three year absence, Norwegian improvisational trio 1982, return with Chromola, which is, without doubt, the best album of their ten year career. It’s an almost flawless album where the music veers between understated, wistful, melancholy and ruminative to dark, dramatic and intense to moody and broody and occasionally, hypnotic and mesmeric. However, Chromola is the musical equivalent of emotional roller, and the soundscapes can just as easily become beautiful, hopeful and joyous. Often the music is poignant and powerful, and offers the opportunity to reflect. Sometimes, though there’s a liturgical sound to Chromola, which is fitting as it was recorded in a church. Then on a couple of soundscapes, the music takes on an experimental sound. Always though, the music has a cinematic quality as 1982 seamlessly, mix musical genres on Chromola.
1982 fuse elements of avant-garde, drone music, experimental, free jazz, industrial, minimalist and progressive rock on Chromola. The influence of Terry Riley and John Cale can be heard on Chromola. So too, can bluesy, Eastern and Arabian sounds Chromola is an album that’s multilayered, spectral and full of textures, nuances and subtleties. Quite simply, Chromola is a captivating, ambitious, innovative and genre-melting album from musical 1982.
After ten years together, still, 1982 continue to push musical boundaries to limits to their limits and sometimes, way beyond. Sometimes, it’s as three musical mavericks have decided to rewrite the musical rulebook in their quest to continue creating groundbreaking music. This they certainly do on Chromola,which is a career defining album that ensures 1982 have much to celebrate, when their tenth anniversary arrives.