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Jordsjø Pastoralia album cover
3.90 | 66 ratings | 5 reviews | 32% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2021

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Prolog (2:16)
2. Skumring i Karesuando (7:37)
3. Mellom Mjødurt, Marisko og Søstermarihånd (6:30)
4. Pastoralia (6:05)
5. Fuglehviskeren (2:32)
6. Beitemark (6:01)
7. Vettedans (2:02)
8. Jord III (10:34)

Total Time 43:37

Line-up / Musicians

- Håkon Oftung / vocals, guitars, flute, keyboards
- Kristian Frøland / drums, percussion

- Håkon Knutzen / guitar (8)
- Ola Mile Bruland / spoken word & poetry (8)
- Vilde Mortensen Storesund / backing vocals
- Mats Lemjan / bass clarinet
- Christian Meaas Svendsen / double bass
- Åsa Ree / violin & vocals (3)

Releases information

Label: Karisma Records (KAR213)
Format: Vinyl, CD, Digital
May 7, 2021

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
and to rivertree for the last updates
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JORDSJØ Pastoralia ratings distribution

(66 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(32%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(46%)
Good, but non-essential (17%)
Collectors/fans only (5%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

JORDSJØ Pastoralia reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by friso
4 stars I picked up on Jordsjo with their Nattfiolen LP, which became one of my favorite records of 2019. On that album they cemented their own style of retro prog in the vein of early Camel (think of a track like Mirage's Nimrodel / The Procession / White Rider). In 2020 the band released an instrumental album filled with mystical jazzy folk prog under the 'Elds Mark' banner. A fine record as well. Jordsjo's 2021 offering is actually a good mixture between these two records. The band has a sort of 'acoustic' roomy sound, though playing electric instrument most of the time. The band has a great flute player and the the fuzzy lead guitar suits the natural sound.

The compositions still have traces of symphonic prog, but this album often sounds more like prog folk in the vein of Gryphon. The band has an introverted way of playing and combined with the introverted Norwegian vocals it all sound quite mystical. Somehow this album sound very linked with nature, as if it is an ode to the woods and forest of Norway. The compositions are filled with interesting retro textures and sounds, all very sophisticated in a subtle way. Compared to Nattfiolen this album is even less filled with actual songs and perhaps a bit more abstract (a bit like technical fusion music sometimes). On the other hand the style of Jordsjo has become even more distinguished from other prog groups in the retro-prog field. The recording quality is fine and the vinyl comes with a lot of great artwork - to the point of almost justifying a purchase because of the sheer beauty of the physical album.

With 'Pastoralia' Jordsjo again shows itself to be one of the better and more interesting progressive rock groups of the day. On every album the band manages to refine its craft and become more distinguished, seemingly without giving a care about pleasing today's prog crowd too much. For my own personal taste this album lacks some moments that really grasp me on an emotional level. Instead I feel more like witnessing something very magical, but also a bit distant. Still a good contender for best album of the year so far and must-have for listeners of symphonic prog, retro prog and prog folk.

Review by Progfan97402
4 stars Jordsjø doesn't seem to suffer Wobbler syndrome in making us wait six years for a new release and wondered if they fell off the face of the earth (like what happened to Wobbler between Rites at Dawn and From Silence to Somewhere, which made the three year wait between that one and Dwellers of the Deep a big shock). Jordsjø once again only made us wait two years for a new release, and the Elds Mark project didn't seem to get in the way (Elds Mark was essentially Jordsjø in disguise recording all instrumental prog folk). COVID didn't seem to stop them, although I'm sure it affected how they performed live. Pastoralia is the followup to Nattfiolen, a truly wonderful album that, in 2021 still holding up very well. Pastoralia has provided me a new challenge, as it was an album that didn't grab me as fast as previous ones. But as I give it more listens, I find it to be a great album, but perhaps the music is a bit less melodic and less accessible which is the reason this album could get dismissed in some circles. There are songs on this album that cover familiar Jordsjø ground, like "Skumring i Karisuando" and "Mellom Mjørdurt, Marisko og Søstermarohånd". Here Håkon Oftuns provides his usual assortment of guitar, flute, keyboards, and vocals with Kristian Frøland on drums. The Mellotron is the M4000D which is a virtual Mellotron keyboard unlike the M4000 (no "D") was tape driven. Still he uses the M4000D in a very convincing fashion. Speaking of which, the band goes into Gryphon territory on "Vettedans" which helps that what sounds like a bassoon is being used, when in reality it's tron bassoon. "Fuglehviskeren" sounds like a rehash of "Septemberbål" off Nattfiolen until you discover they are doing a more jazzy approach this time rather than doing a Nordic version of "Mood for a Day" (Steve Howe). "Prolog" is a great way to start the album because it's a full piece (they tended to intros that are brief, like some brief flute stuff or electronic bits) and they go a jazzy route on this piece. "Beitemark" has some nice dreamy use of electric piano having a bit of that Canterbury feel with that Jordsjø sound. The title track is different in that clarinet and violin are present so giving it some new ground never heard on a Jordsjø album. Violin is provided by Åsa Ree, who appeared on many other Norwegian albums, including Wobber's Dwellers of the Deep and Tusmørke's epic Nordisk Krim. The album closes with the 10 minute "Jord III". Is Jordsjø following in the footsteps of Focus where Focus recorded a bunch of "Focus" pieces on many of their albums, Jordsjø recording "Jord" pieces. Anyways "Jord III" is showing the band doing more complex music than before. Usually they revisit themes and melodies, here they don't. The band gets more experimental here, even some odd spoken dialog. The piece ends with some unsettling dissonant organ. So what it seems is there are some cuts on here they are covering familiar ground covered on Nattfiolen, but I really enjoy how they covered new ground. But they also took a less accessible path, so it took me quite a few more listens for the album to grab me. The reason for the four star rating instead of the five their other albums deserved is for that reason.
Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Complex, nuanced, many-faceted symphonic prog coming from Håkon Oftung and Kristian Frøland's folk/anachronistic predilections. This is the band/project's sixth full-length studio release since 2014.

1. "Prolog" (2:16) solo jazz guitar joined by organ-led jazz combo before turning proggy around 0:45. Interesting for introducing the essence of the album that is to follow: a ball of confusion! (4.25/5)

2. "Skumring i Karesuando" (7:37) so many changes, styles and themes! From Keith Emerson/Änglagård to Ian Anderson to monastic chant to FOCUS, WOBBLER, and CAMEL--every 20 seconds a new and drastically different motif and style is presented and or returned to. Astonishing! And this one works! (My favorite song from Jordsjø. Ever.) (14/15)

3. "Mellom Mjødurt, Marisko og Søstermarihånd" (6:30) gently finger-picked acoustic guitar is soon joined by Mellotron strings, synth and simply effected lead guitar before shifting to strums and flute with organ background. Drums and vocals join in as organ becomes the more dominant foundational instrument. Flute solos with the vocal melodies as does choral vocalise before next verse. In the third minute, jazz guitar takes the lead before an eerie GOBLIN-like passaged of percussion and bass clarinet and other background instruments/sounds. The band then gathers up together to play out a very WOBBLER-like passage until breaking down for solo acoustic guitar work in the fifth minute. Though the lyrics are sung in Norwegian, I very much like them--they feel sacred--like something that one might have seen performed in a monastery in the 17th or 18th Century. An instrumental JETHRO TULL-like passage then begins at 5:45 and plays out till the end. With repeated listens I hear more and more similarities to the musics being published by Greek Folk Prog band, CICCADA. Another top three song. (9.25/10)

4. "Pastoralia" (6:05) sounds like a simple song composed by Christoffer Gunrup's THE AMAZING but performed by (or with) GRYPHON or acoustic GENTLE GIANT--though the melodies are more akin to those used by modern Greek prog folk band CICCADA. (8.5/10)

5. "Fuglehviskeren" (2:32) a wonderful little jazzed-up folk piece--instrumental. This one could have had the support/contribution of Markus Pajakkala's UTOPIANISTI squad. My final top three song. (4.75/5)

6. "Beitemark" (6:01) another ancient-feeling song structure performed by a wild diversity of old (1960s) and older (Renaissance troubadour) instruments and vocal styles. A bit of old WOBBLER, GHOSTS OF JUPITER, and the most recent NEEDLEPOINT in this one. (8.75/10) 7. "Vettedans" (2:02) pure GRYPHON with this one (minus vocals) with anachronistic stringed, horn, and keyboard instruments. Nice. (4.5/5)

8. "Jord III" (10:34) solo piano, as if stuck trying to figure out his melody lines, turns into a full-band song at 1:25, using one of the piano's melody lines repeatedly until a solo jazz guitar takes over early in the third minute playing a coda into a new, more fully developed full-band. The song plays out as if the composer and principal instrumentalists were trying to work out some mental mathematical issues in counterpoint and melodic inversion and manipulation; the recording of a long étude. In the eight and ninth minutes, there is a SKE-like "conversation" of a particular melody--in parts--within a group of six or seven individual musicians (using their instruments). The final minute uses an organ to finalize with a continuous chord building of swirling notes. Interesting--especially intellectually--but hardly drawing me back for more "enjoyment." (17.25/20)

Total Time 43:37

These guys just keep getting better and better--their music and production maturing with each album release. The only thing maybe getting in their way now is their own penchant for cleverness.

B+/4.5 stars; a near-masterpiece of eclectic anachronistic progressive folk rock music worthy of inclusion in any prog lover's music collection.

Latest members reviews

4 stars E-organ, e-guitar, acoustics, piano and flutes dominate the sound, driven discreetly to dynamic by drums and occasional bass lines. The clavinet and e-piano always provide jazzy tints, while elsewhere rich mellotron surfaces provide a rich sound. Electronic is hardly to be seen this time. "Pasto ... (read more)

Report this review (#2570008) | Posted by prog_traveller!! | Thursday, June 10, 2021 | Review Permanlink

2 stars While this really pains me to write, I felt this would be a good chance to write a not so positive review. I say this because most the time, if I'm writing a review on this website, it's either 4 stars or 5 stars. That's because I don't typically like to go out of my way to trash or tear down an ... (read more)

Report this review (#2541320) | Posted by dougmcauliffe | Friday, May 7, 2021 | Review Permanlink

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