Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Stórsveit Nix Noltes - Orkideur Hawai CD (album) cover


Stórsveit Nix Noltes


Prog Folk

4.00 | 1 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Special Collaborator
Prog Folk Researcher
4 stars This is a really charming album from an up-and-coming group whose tour with Animal Collective in 2009 garnered them some much-needed international attention after half a decade of toiling as mostly a regional phenomenon in their Icelandic homeland. Loosely formed from members of other Iceland acts such as múm, Benni Hemm Hemm, Kria Brekkan and other groups, the band currently consists of eleven members, although I believe this debut release only features five or six musicians. Not sure really, as I picked this up as an Amazon download. The band apparently has an arrangement with their label where copies of this CD are burned “on-demand”, and I’ve read they also sell discounted copies at their live shows so for anyone who’s interested you can probably avoid the cost of importing a copy to whatever country you happen to live in.

I suppose this would be classified as ‘world music’ if you found it in a record store or library, but I personally find that label kind of annoying (isn’t all music technically world music, after all?). In any case the angle is pretty simple: a bunch of Icelandic art and music students who have an intense fascination with traditional Bulgarian folk music, and have hopped it up a bit with a little indie, jazz and at times even mildly punk-influenced flair. It works.

This first album was recorded in 2005 and independently released by the band in 2006. Currently on Fat Cat Records, the group expanded to eleven members in 2006 and recorded a second album which was released in 2007 and remastered in 2008. I haven’t heard that one yet, but it’s on my wish list. This one is just a tad rough in a few places, with the improvisational jazz sections of “Isinova Oro” feeling slightly strained for example, or “Laz” with its recurrent, complex rhythm building anticipation for some sort of spectacular climax before simply petering out. But overall this is an exciting release, full of traditional Bulgarian folk music given new life in the hands of young and creative musicians from a land and culture far removed from Eastern Europe. The instrumentation is predictable – lots of brass, some strings and accordion; but also plenty of percussion and a bit of electric guitar as well. I’m reminded a bit of the band Katalena, who do something similar with traditional Slovenian music, or the American group Rupa & the April Fishes who go a bit further by combining traditional Italian, French, American and Indian sounds with original compositions for a real cultural gazpacho of folk music. The difference here is that these are all instrumentals, so for those who prefer to concentrate on the music and don’t want to be ‘distracted’ by singing, this is a real find.

All the songs here are very good, but a couple of them stand out. “Griska Lagid” is a slow number that follows a couple of fast-paced, danceable tunes and it really highlights the complexity of the rhythms and instrumental arrangements in Bulgarian music. And the luxurious note-bending of “Blagoeugrad Region Oro” reminds the listener that this music has its origins in Eastern Europe, not a frozen island in the North Atlantic. And finally, the band hints at the power and showmanship of their live shows with the romping closing song “Odessa Bulgarish”, whose gorgeous string passages must be heard to be appreciated.

Overall a thoroughly enjoyable and well-produced album, and one I highly recommend to any folk, prog folk, indie, gypsy or ‘world music’ fan. Four stars for sure.


ClemofNazareth | 4/5 |


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Share this STÓRSVEIT NIX NOLTES review

Social review comments () BETA

Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives