The Best Nordic Wave Releases Of 2017.

Hakon Stene and Kristine Tjogersen Michael Pisaro-Asleep, Street, Pipes, Tones. 

Michael Pisaro’s Asleep, Street, Pipes, Tones’ is a quite beautiful electro-acoustic composition which features seventeen short movements lasting just over an hour. It was reinterpreted and recreated with care and accuracy by Håkon Stene and Kristine Tjøgersen, who create what’s akin to a partially frozen sonic world where even the smallest shifts of emphasis in an otherwise glacial rate of change appear to take on the dramatic status of major events. Meanwhile, the listener reflects on how humans receive and capture sound and music, during this thought-provoking electro-acoustic piece.


Label: Glacial Movements,

When John Roger Olsson a.k.a. Havenaire, released his sophomore album Rabot, the album cover featured two photographs by Swedish geographer Fredrik Enquist from 1910. These images inspired Havenaire to record one of the finest ambient albums of 2017, which features a cinematic sound that is rich in imagery. Suddenly the listener is standing alongside Fredrik Enquist and seeing the terrain as he sees it. This is only possible because of the music on Rabot, which is Havenaire’s stunning sophomore album, and an ambient arctic opus which showcases his cinematic sound that is rich in ethereal beauty and imagery.

Irabagon, Hegre and Drønen-Axis.

Label: Rune Grammofon.

It’s nearly five years since the Norwegian-American trio of Irabagon, Hegre and Drønen first collaborated in Berlin in June 2013. Since then, they’ve released their debut album Axis where they combine elements of avant-garde, experimental, free jazz, fusion, improv, noise and post rock on what’s an ambitious, challenging and innovative album. It finds the Norwegian-American trio play with freedom and inventiveness as the two lengthy tracks take countless twists and turns. However, never try to second guess Irabagon, Hegre and Drønen who are at their creative zenith on Axis.

Irene Tillung-Hildersyn.

Label: Heilo

During her career so far, accordionist Irene Tillung has worked as a musician, composer and arranger. More recently, though, she’s been studying film music scoring. Still, she found time to record a concept album Hildersyn that featured brand new music that was played by top folk, jazz and classical musicians. They combined to create a beautiful, distinctive and enchanting album of playful music.

Jan Erik Mikalsen: Saan.

Label: Aurora.

During 2017, Jan Erik Mikalsen emerged as one of the rising stars of the Norwegian contemporary music scene when he wrote the music on Saan. It features three impressive orchestral works which were interpreted by the Oslo Philharmonic and they  Norwegian Radio Orchestra. These pieces are rich in texture and imagery and unmistakably Nordic in sound. Saan is also melodic and  full of dramatic crescendos thanks to the combined talents of the Oslo Philharmonic and Norwegian Radio Orchestra.

Jonas Johansen-Charmcatcher.

Label: DME.

Many record buyers know Danish composer and drummer Jonas Johansen from his work with Band Mrazem, Danish Radio Big Band, Emborg Larsen Quintet, Fredrik Lundin Overdrive and Groove Factor. They’re just a few of the bands Jonas Johansen has played with over the years. Despite his busy schedule, Jonas Johansen is a successful solo artist who released his latest album Charmcatcher in 2017. This carefully crafted jazz album, which features The Flyover, Taa-Daa and Portrait,  is another reminder of a truly talented and composer and drummer whose music deserves a much wider audience outside of his native Denmark.

Kjetil Mulelid Trio-Not Nearly Enough To Buy A House.

Label: Rune Grammofon.

In his native Norway, Kjetil Mulelid is regarded as one of jazz music’s rising stars. That is no surprise to anyone who has heard the Kjetil Mulelid Trio’s debut album Not Nearly Enough To Buy A House. It’s an album where the music is absorbing, atmospheric,  bright, energetic, innovative music and melodic. Sometimes, though, the music becomes challenging as the Kjetil Mulelid Trio showcase their considerable skills. However, Not Nearly Enough To Buy A House is also a tantalising taste of a band with a big future ahead of them, the Kjetil Mulelid Trio.

Krokofant-Krokofant III.

Label: Rune Grammofon.

When Krokofant released their eponymous debut album in 2014, they were regarded as one of the rising stars of the Norwegian music scene. Three years and two albums later, critics are calling Krokofant one of the most exciting and innovative Norwegian groups. Proof of that is Krokofant III where Krokofant push musical boundaries, and constantly seek to reinvent themselves and their music. In doing so, they’ve created Krokofant III, which  is a groundbreaking, genre-melting album and magnificent musical Magnus Opus.

Laurence Crane/Asamisimasa-Sound Of Horse.

Label: Hubro Music.

Laurence Crane and Asamisimasa’s partnership began in 2008, when they premiered White In Berlin at the Ultima festival in Oslo. Nine years later, they released Sound Of Horse which is album of Laurence Crane compositions. In Asamisimasa’s hands, these compositions become cinematic, dramatic, inventive, innovative minimalist and urgent. The music on Sound Of Horse is also ambitious and sometimes challenging, but continually captivates and sometimes, surprises the listener. Especially, when Asamisimasa throw a curveball and change direction musically as they continue in their mission to  introduce Laurence Crane’s music to a much wider audience. 

Marius Neset-Circle Of Chimes.

Label: Act

For many critics, composer and saxophonist Marius Neset has been  seen as the natural heir to Jan Garbarek for the last couple of yeas.  That is no surprise as Marius Neset is a talent saxophonist and composer. Proof of that is his latest album Circle Of Chime where he leads his usual quartet on an album where he plays with power, intensity and intricacy. Sometimes he showcases a bluesy, romantic sound before switching to a swinging, post bop sound. In doing so, Marius Neset showcases the difference sides of his music on Circle Of Chime. It’s an incredibly personal and cohesive album that captivates from the opening bars to the closing notes. 

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