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JORDSJØ

Symphonic Prog • Norway


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Jordsjø picture
Jordsjø biography
Founded in Oslo, Norway in 2014

JORDSJØ is one of those bands that help me to keep my faith in Symphonic survival intact, because when I believe that there's nothing able to resurrect my capacity of surprise, this relatively new bands from countries like Norway take me by assault with original material that combines several genres creating a new breed of Symphonic.

Photo by Kai Mauseth

The band was formed around 2014 by Håkon Oftung (Vocals, flute, guitars & keys) and Kristian Frøland (Drums & Percussion) and their debut "Jordsjø" saw the light on September 6, 2016, and even though blended Symphonic with some sort of Prog Folk, immediately caught my attention.

In their next album "Jordsjø II", they retake the original path, but with less folk passages but a more aggressive edge that captured me as a fan.

Their third release (Well, a joint album with the Norwegian Synth Project BREIDABLIK) "Songs From The Northern Wasteland" didn't impressed me as much, being that it was oriented towards Electronic Prog, a genre that I don.t listen very often, but it was obvious that the magic touch was there and we only had to wait and see how they would evolve.

But the moment of truth came in January 2017 when they release the fantastic "Jord", a clearly Scandinavian album, with reminiscences of ÄNGLAGÅRD, one of my top then desert island bands, but in this case apart of the pristine symphonic, they blend different sounds and styles that make the genre richer.

As usual, only time will tell and the band will decide what path to take, but I?m sure they will keep providing us interesting music that will save Symphonic Prog from oblivion.

Iván Melgar-Morey ::::: Peru

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JORDSJØ discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

JORDSJØ top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.09 | 67 ratings
Jordsjø
2015
3.86 | 40 ratings
Jordsjø II
2016
3.21 | 28 ratings
Jordsjø / Breidablik: Songs from the Northern Wasteland
2016
4.01 | 210 ratings
Jord
2017
4.07 | 252 ratings
Nattfiolen
2019
3.86 | 43 ratings
Pastoralia
2021

JORDSJØ Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

JORDSJØ Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

JORDSJØ Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.68 | 31 ratings
Jordsjø
2017

JORDSJØ Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.50 | 4 ratings
Nattfiolen (demo)
2018

JORDSJØ Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Pastoralia by JORDSJØ album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.86 | 43 ratings

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Pastoralia
Jordsjø Symphonic Prog

Review by prog_traveller!!

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. "Pastoralia" sounds a bit more earthy, folky and more natural than its predecessors. Between airy floating, folky prog, symphonic waves, jazzy bustle and earthy rocking, the music changes cheerfully back and forth.

Flute inserts create a slightly secluded atmosphere, the electric guitar can also rock gently. Compared to its predecessors, the proportion of Scandinavian folklore has decreased slightly, but there are more jazzy sprinkles. Influences of medieval music can also be discerned without being assigned to a specific region.

As usual, the singing is not spectacular, but with its reserved nature it fits perfectly with this music, which floats away from the speakers for the most part while still attracting attention through its artfully interwoven nature. It is very important to mention that the band on this album combined a kind of slightly heavy sound with the folk sound. To cut a long story short: JORDSJØ with"Pastoralia" conjure up songs that have something strangely dreamlike about their tendency to go on musical wanderings through unreal soundscapes. As a result, the magical nature mysticism of the predecessor is somewhat suppressed. Nonetheless, "Pastoralia" turned out to be an excellent album full of playful melodies in the tradition of the Norwegians.

 Pastoralia by JORDSJØ album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.86 | 43 ratings

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Pastoralia
Jordsjø Symphonic Prog

Review by Progfan97402
Prog Reviewer

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.
 Pastoralia by JORDSJØ album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.86 | 43 ratings

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Pastoralia
Jordsjø Symphonic Prog

Review by dougmcauliffe

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 album, and I'm gonna try not to tear this album to shreds while still being completely honest. The truth is, Jordsjo has really disappointed me on this new release. I've been a big supporter of the band ever since I blind purchased their album "Jord." To this day that record still grabs me and gets me so excited from start to finish, to the point where I've always considered them my second in command with modern Norwegian prog beneath the great Wobbler. Their last record, "Nattfiolen," was possibly their most popular and well received to date. I thought it was good, but not quite on the level of "Jord." However, there were some tracks on there that I really enjoy and still revisit. With that said, I did take some issue with some aspects of the record that unfortunately are really amplified on this release. On Pastorlia, I think there's just way too many ideas constantly clashing with one another. I feel like almost every single melody lacks a proper resolution. They've often been compared to Mirage-era Camel, which I can certainly see, Camel is my favorite band as my profile picture may suggest. However, though Camel would break into these twisting jazzy melodies and solos, they would always come together in the end for a pleasant melodic payoff. Here, every time I can feel it about to break out into just that, it sounds like the guitarist accidently played a fret below or above where he was supposed to. In turn, I just can't grab onto much here, the melodies are just not pleasing to the ear. This concept extends further into the actual song structures, which very often come off as touch-and-go. A lot of times as they'll jump from one passage to the next very sharply, lacking a good organic flow that this breed of mellower and lowkey prog really needs. Every now and then, it'll finally break out into a section of music I like, just to quickily simmer right back down into slow, mellow, background music. The vocals have never been the frontrunner or main driving force behind Jordsjos music, but here I think they fall particularly flat. For one, they also lack melody and seem to just be there for the purpose of being there. But mainly, a lot of times the instrumentation backing them up does very little to set the stage for the vocals or stand on its own with any sort of interesting playing. My favorite track is the 2 minute opener "Prolog," after that, the songs become very indistinguishable. As weird as it is to say, they sound very Jordsjo-by-numbers. Which isn't a distinct enough sound for me to be able to shrug off and jive with. The title track is one of the better songs, but it still suffers from having too much fat to trim leading to some real momentum issues. The closing track "Jord III" is probably all around the worst offender of everything I've criticized in this review, and it stings extra hard because the 1st two parts are both songs that I love dearly. I can sum it up in one sentence: they just don't develop their ideas on this album.

This record really makes me appreciate Wobbler for how well their songs flow and manage to keep you engaged with a strong grasp on the concept of melody. Now with all this said, DO NOT let me discourage you from checking out and potentially enjoying this album. This review is coming from the perspective of a fan, I really like this band and I've been trying to spread the word of their music for a couple years now. I will continue to listen to and support the band with their endeavors of future and past. I've only been a deep music fan for around 4-5 years now, and I can safely say this is one of the first times I've felt truly let down by a record from an artist that I love. However, I congratulate Jordsjo on pumping out another record and on finishing this much music with clearly a ton of work put into the writing, arranging and recording is a huge accomplishment and I'm grateful for this release. It just didn't do it for me, but it seems some other folks are enjoying it, so check it out!

2 Stars

 Pastoralia by JORDSJØ album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.86 | 43 ratings

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Pastoralia
Jordsjø Symphonic Prog

Review by friso
Prog Reviewer

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.

 Jord by JORDSJØ album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.01 | 210 ratings

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Jord
Jordsjø Symphonic Prog

Review by prog_traveller!!

4 stars If you want an album that will catapult you into strange worlds with amazing musical interpretation and complex but accessible compositions then this Norwegian duo is the right place for you.

Jordsjo released their fourth album in 2017 and with this one they definitely created their own distinctive sound.

We are dealing with an album with a rather folky touch, but depending on your taste, you can also attest to a grand symphonic rock influence.

It is sung, but comparatively little. It is better to let the instruments speak and carry the listener into completely different spheres.

The sound is of course dominated by scratchy, optionally also acoustic guitars, but they always share the stage with the other instruments. Sometimes flat, sometimes more delicate, organ sounds and the aforementioned flute keep coming into the limelight. The rhythm also describes astonishing, even tumbling movements that create a fascinating suction and before you know it, you are hypnotized and swing happily with the lively rhythm.

 Nattfiolen by JORDSJØ album cover Studio Album, 2019
4.07 | 252 ratings

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Nattfiolen
Jordsjø Symphonic Prog

Review by prog_traveller!!

4 stars Jordsjø released their alum Nattfiolen in 2019 and it delivers quite dreamy rock sounds, where delicate acoustic flute and guitar playing is just as important as bombastic keys and electrified guitars.

This piece in all of it's glory brings 1970s synth music, traditional folk and jazz. In terms of content, they are inspired by Norwegian nature and fantasy novels of all kinds.

Symphonic and acoustic passages on "Nattfiolen", on the one hand balance and alternate, but also complement each other, enriched with many acoustic instruments - especially the flute.

The compositions are arranged in many layers, sometimes with enormous complexity, they remain excellently audible and accessible.They blend classic prog and folk elegantly and masterfully and are definitely one of the best in terms of combining these two genres.

This album represents well thought-out and smoothly flowing songwriting, which does not allow itself to drop out. It allows you to wander into mystical worlds filled with feelings of calm and sends you on an unforgettable adventure to which you will gladly return

 Nattfiolen by JORDSJØ album cover Studio Album, 2019
4.07 | 252 ratings

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Nattfiolen
Jordsjø Symphonic Prog

Review by Muskrat

5 stars Those who adore Scandinavian symphonic folk prog, and who have always been put off by the dark and adventurous side of the music of Anglagard and the early Wobblers, will be delighted to discover this album.

With "Nattfiolen" the Norwegian duo Jordsjø seems to have found their way and finally offers a matured and less eclectic style than on their previous albums. This duo is moreover more of a solo project where the leader sings and plays various instruments accompanied by a drummer / percussionist. Håkon Oftung is an accomplished musician, equal in talent on keyboards, guitars and flute. Hence a perfect balance in the instrumentation of the pieces. The compositions are pastoral, imbued with Scandinavian folk, often close to Anglagard (like at 3:30 on the track "Stifinner") or the first Wobblers, without, I repeat, the complicated and adventurous side of these. The melodies all in finesse, the delicate arpeggios and the pure sound of the electric guitar à la Latimer, bring to mind the Camel of "Snow Goose", or the German band Rousseau (listen to "Le Grand Rêveur", or "Entrée" on Flower in Asphalt). Finally, singing in Norwegian reinforces the romantic and sensitive atmosphere of the music.

A masterpiece of the kind that deserves its five stars without hesitation. Keep it up guys, everything is perfect !

 Nattfiolen by JORDSJØ album cover Studio Album, 2019
4.07 | 252 ratings

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Nattfiolen
Jordsjø Symphonic Prog

Review by friso
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Take the most mystical moments of Camel's 'Mirage' album, add some of that artistic/authentic PFM songwriting, a bit of Robert Fripp's clean jazz-guitar tone, some haunting flutes in the minor-6 vibe, and finally some moody nordic folk singing and you'll know what to expact from this release of the Norwegian group Jordsjo. To my knowlegde this is the most imaginative and honest sounding retro-prog effort ever made. It captures that moments of seventies prog where the atmospheric power and instrumental story telling was at its most potent. The amount of musical ideas offered on this fourty minute record is quite high, yet the band keeps their medium long compositions meaningful and descriptive of distinct atmospheres. The very skilled musicians of Jordsjo have an amazing interplay - the way vocals, flutes, jazz-guitar (love that tone!) and organ/mellotron change lead feels almost like a dance. Moreover, the band has an amazing timing for when to introduce an new theme. A final compliment for the mix on this record. 'Nattfiolen' has THAT sound. That warm, mysterious, lively and almost unhumanly perfect sound. The gatefold sleeve of the vinyl edition is beatifully designed and adds to the listening experience.

In my opinion this album should not only be consideres a top 3 record of 2019 (with 'Resistance' and 'Amazonia'), but also among the best retro-prog efforts of the 21th century. Much more lively and grasping than - for instance - Anglagard or Wobbler.

 Nattfiolen by JORDSJØ album cover Studio Album, 2019
4.07 | 252 ratings

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Nattfiolen
Jordsjø Symphonic Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Norwegian band JORDSJO was established sometime around 2014, and following a couple of self-released albums the band was picked up by Norwegian label Karisma Records who released their official debut album "Jord" in 2017. Later on their label compiled the band's earlier material into the compilation album "Jordsjo", and now in 2019 Jordsjo the band have returned with their second album "Nattfiolen". Staying put with Karisma Records as their label of choice.

For those who know and love their vintage era symphonic progressive rock, Jordsjo is a band they need to note down on their list of bands to explore. With references like Bo Hansson, early Eloy, possibly Camel and probably quite a few more candidates, their Earthen, mystical symphonic progressive rock is a delightful trip into the lesser explored sounds of the early 1970's, and one I imagine will be found desirable by just about anyone that finds such a description to be interesting.

 Nattfiolen by JORDSJØ album cover Studio Album, 2019
4.07 | 252 ratings

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Nattfiolen
Jordsjø Symphonic Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars Jordsjø are based around Håkon Oftung (vocals, guitar, flute, Hammond M100, Mellotron, Clavinet D6, ARP Pro) and Kristian Frøland (drums, triangle, percussion) with some additional guests, and this is their fifth album in just four years so they are incredibly prolific for this style of music. This is an album out of time, as the guys refuse to sit within one particular genre of progressive rock and instead move throughout the scene, bringing it together in something which feels quite lightweight at times and massively complex at others. Just by looking at how plays what on the album, I expect from will discount Frøland as "just" the drummer and that this is based all around Oftung, but while that is obviously true in some respects, here is a musician who I would expect to be as happy playing jazz as he is prog, as he is way more over the kit than many would expect.

But given that virtually everything else is performed by Oftung (although a special mention should be made of Christian Meaas Svendsen ? he may only play his double bass on the one song, "Mine Templer II", but it has quite an impact), it is his vision which carries it through. It is hard for the listener to pick his main instrument, as at times it appears to be piano, at others keyboards, while his guitar and bass playing is superb and his flute sublime. It is unusual to find a musician who appears so content on woodwind, stringed instruments and keyboards, and don't forget he also provides vocals. Vocals are in Norwegian, which I am really happy about as it adds an additional element to a non-native speaker such as myself.

It isn't unusual for there to be sections where there is very little bottom end to the arrangements, no bass and very little foundation, which moves the music in a quite different direction. Even though none of the songs are particularly lengthy (just one more than nine minutes in length, and the album itself is less than forty), there is always room for the music to shift and change considerably throughout. Jordsjø are a new name for me, even though they have been around for a while, and here is yet another I will be adding to my watchlist as this is a very strong album indeed which is highly recommended to any old school progheads.

Thanks to ivan_melgar_m for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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