The Best Nordic Wave Releases Of 2017-Part 2.

Danish String Quartet-Last Leaf.

Label: ECM Records.

Nowadays, the Danish String Quartet is regarded by many critics as the most exciting young string quartets in Europe, if not the world. They’ve been breathing new life and meaning into contemporary compositions and the classical repertoire. However, when the Danish String Quartet released their debut album Wood Works in 2014 it was a foray into Nordic folk music. So too, is the Danish String Quartet’s much-anticipated sophomore album Last Leaf. It’s another captivating and near flawless foray into the world of Nordic folk music from the Danish String Quartet who further enhanced their reputation on Last Leaf.

Eivind Opsvik-Overseas V.

Label: Loyal Label.

When Eivind Opsvik returned with Overseas V last year, it was an ambitious, inventive, innovative and genre-melting music. He was  accompanied by his band Overseas as they fused disparate musical genres including everything from avant-garde and art rock to free jazz funk and fusion and even, post punk and progressive jazz. The result was a captivating musical journey where the soundscapes are concise and immediate. They’re also atmospheric, edgy, challenging, melodic, hook-laden and rhythmic. While rhythm is more important than melody and atmosphere on Overseas V, the music is still cinematic on what’s Eivind Opsvik’s finest hour.

Erik Honoré-Unrest. 

Label: Hubro Music.

Although Erik Honoré’s career has spanned four decades, he only released his debut album Heliographs in 2014. Three-years later, and Erik Honoré returns with his eagerly awaited sophomore album Unrest. It’s another ambitious album of imaginative, innovative and influential music as befits one of the leading lights of the Norwegian music scene. However, Erik Honoré reaches new heights on Unrest, which is a captivating album which feature a mixture of intensity, darkness, drama, emotion and ethereal beauty, that sometimes, features a ruminative sound that invites reflection as one of Norwegian music’s pioneers, paints pictures with his cinematic soundscapes.

Erlend Apneseth-Nattsongar.

Label: Heilo.

Back in 2016, Erlend Apneseth who is one of Norway’s top Hardanger fiddle players, was commissioned to write the music that became Nattsongar, for the Førde Festival. When it came time for Erlend Apneseth to record his sophomore album, he decided to take the music on Nattsongar much further. The result was an ambitious and eclectic album where Erlend Apneseth and a band of top musicians, drew inspiration from folk music from all over the globe. In dong so, Erlend Apneseth concentrates on the commonality, rather than the differences between music on Nattsongar which is enchanting and engaging album.

Erland Dahlen-Clocks. 

Label: Hubro Music.

When Erland Dahlen recorded his third solo album Clocks, he followed in the footsteps of American composer, music theorist and creator of bespoke musical instruments Harry Partch. He successfully transformed everyday items into musical instruments and inspired Erland Dahlen when he came to record Clocks. It’s a genre-meting album that veers  between dark and dramatic, to elegiac and ethereal, to eerie, futuristic, haunting and otherworldly. Other times, the music is evocative, before becoming emotive and uplifting and sometimes, ruminative and thought-provoking. Quite simply, Clocks is a breathtaking album of atmospheric cinematic soundscapes from sonic pioneer, Erland Dahlen

Erlend Apneseth Trio-Åra.

Label: Hubro Music.

Just a year after the Erlend Apneseth Trio released their critically acclaimed debut album Det Andre Rommet, they returned with their sophomore album Åra. It’s another album of original music that is an almost perfect improvised update of the post modern string trio. This is no surprise, as the Erlend Apneseth Trio feature master musicians who have dedicated their lives to the pursuit of musical perfection. They come tantalizingly close on Åra, which is another groundbreaking album of inventive, and imaginative music from a pioneering group of like-minded musicians that sets the bar high for future albums.

Gonimoblast-Gonimoblast Live. 

Label: Stoney Lane Records.

When London and Midlands five-piece electronica band Gonimoblast released their Gonimoblast Live in the summer of 2017, it featured two special guests Norwegian musical pioneers Arve Henriksen and Maja S.K Ratkje. They play their part in the sound and success of Gonimoblast Live, where electronica, jazz and improv are combined by seven multitalented musicians. They create Gonimoblast Live, which is captivating live album where the music is ambitious, adventurous and sometimes, mysterious, as subtleties and surprises are revealed on this truly groundbreaking album.

Gjermund Larsen Trio-Salmeklang.

Label: Heilo.

To mark the tenth anniversary of the Gjermund Larsen Trio, they return with their fourth album Salmeklang. Just like previous albums, bandleader Gjermund Larsen writes most of the music on Salmeklang. The result is an album where the music is atmospheric, melodic album and benefits from an intimacy and sensitivity. It’s as if Gjermund Larsen knows exactly what the listener wants to hear and sets out to deliver it. This he succeeds on doing so on Salmeklang, which is the highpoint of the Gjermund Larsen Trio’s career so far.

Goran Kajfeš Subtropic Arkestra-The Reason Why Volume 3.

Label: Headspin Recordings.

It was back in 2013 when the Goran Kajfeš Subtropic Arkestra released the first instalment in The Reason Why trilogy. Four years later came The Reason Why Volume 3 which was the most ambitious and eclectic volume in the series. It found the Goran Kajfeš Subtropic Arkestra fusing free jazz, fusion, jazz and rock with avant-garde, experimental and African music on this eclectic, genre-melting album of cover versions. Goran Kajfeš Subtropic Arkestra had kept the best until last and reached heights on The Reason Why Volume 3 which is a triumphant ending to this memorable trilogy.

Hanne Hukkelberg-Trust.

Label: Propeller Recordings.

Hanne Hukkelberg’s fifth album Trust is without doubt the most cerebral and thought-provoking album of her career. It’s also an album that is based on the Norwegian singer-songwriter’s own personal experience and observations. They played their part in the reinvention of Hanne Hukkelberg on Trust, which is a cerebral and thought-provoking album that features melodic, memorable, anthemic and hook-laden music. Trust is also a very personal album from Hanne Hukkelberg that features beautiful, poignant music from the one of Norway’s most innovative and influential singer-songwriters who constantly seeks to reinvent her music.

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