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JORDSJØ

Symphonic Prog • Norway


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Jordsjø biography
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.

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

Jordsjø official website

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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)

4.69 | 7 ratings
Jordsjø
2015
4.00 | 3 ratings
Jordsjø II
2015
4.33 | 3 ratings
Songs From The Northern Wasteland
2016
4.38 | 61 ratings
Jord
2017

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)

4.91 | 2 ratings
Jordsjø
2017

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

JORDSJØ Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Jord by JORDSJØ album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.38 | 61 ratings

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Jord
Jordsjø Symphonic Prog

Review by Progfan97402

5 stars I've only known Jordsjø for about three weeks, but this Norwegian duo has blown me away in a way it hadn't since I bought Änglagård's Hybris back in 1997 (shortly after it went out of print), that prog of this quality can be had and it was released after the 1970s. Jordsjø manages just that for me! The duo consists of multi-instrumentalist Håkon Oftung and drummer Kristian Frøland but from listening to the music you'd think it was a full band, but a full band is hired for live performances. Their double LP set from 2017 compiled material from their first three cassettes, including the split with progressive electronic act Breidablik called Songs from the Northern Wasteland (an obvious reference to Michael Hoenig's Departure from the Northern Wasteland). That double album set left me with me mind blown, it's everything I've ever wanted in prog! The Norwegian vocals may be a bit difficult on non-Norwegian ears, but I have no problem with that, even if I'm American. I'm used to foreign languages in prog ever since I got hooked on Italian prog back in the 1990s. This 2017 cassette release Jord wasn't featured on the double album set, naturally, but it comes to show how much Jordsjø is bound to be a force to reckon with in the prog community. The production seems a bit more polished, but make no doubt about it. The music is the same as before: in the Änglagård, Wobbler, Tusmørke and Sinkadus vein. "Le Meg Forsvinne!" is another one of those Solina String Ensemble-lead pieces similar in vein to "Solina, Min Dronning", it's clear Oftung wanted to record a very similar song. Once again, in the vein of late '70s German prog bands like Eloy or Novalis, there's a brief ELP-like organ break before going back into that late '70s German space prog vein. "Postludium" is very different from the rest of the album as it's firmly in the vein of Breidablik, I wouldn't doubt Breidablik was influencing Oftung. Rather eerie spacy electronic music that's clearly progressive electronic, then it ends with this strange pipe organ that sounds like a Mellotron pipe organ. The way things are going, I expect Jordsjø to be smash hit with progheads everywhere. Their music simply left my mind blown, and Jord is no exception!
 Jord by JORDSJØ album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.38 | 61 ratings

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Jord
Jordsjø Symphonic Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

5 stars JORDSJO are a relatively new band out of Norway and this is studio album number three for these guys although they also have a split album with another band which is apparently more in the Electronic realm of things. This particular album touches on Folk but is more in the Symphonic style bringing ANGLAGARD to mind quite often. This is surprising to me because the Swedish melancholy is all over this album with plenty of mellotron too but they aren't Swedish! The ANGLAGARD vibe for me is very strong, as I hear it in the vocals, keyboards, flute and guitar.

I like what Simon(Mascodagama) said about this album in comparing it to ANGLAGARD. To paraphrase "It has more room to breathe and is less suffocating than what the Swedes offer". Listening to this had me thinking though as to why we haven't heard more albums that sound like ANGLAGARD and SINKADUS. I can think of the American band MAXWELL'S DEMON but it is surprising given how popular in Prog circles that ANGLAGARD is that more bands haven't jumped on that sound.

"Over Vidda" is the less than 2 minute intro track that is somewhat haunting with atmosphere and flute. "Abstraksjoner Fra Et Dunkeit Kammer" opens with relaxed guitar followed by laid back flute and these will be contrasted until it starts to pick up 1 1/2 minutes in with drums and more. So good! Love that guitar. Vocals before 2 minutes. A change after 3 minutes as it picks up with guitar and drums before the organ joins in. It settles before 5 minutes with flute and organ then the guitar starts to light it up as the tempo picks up again. Vocals are back before 6 minutes. There's that excellent guitar again.

"Finske Skoger" has these intricate guitar melodies but soon bass, drums, flute and organ join in. A catchy little number. "Jord I" opens with organ followed by melancholic flute and relaxed acoustic guitar melodies. Drums join in then it picks up 1 1/2 minutes in, mellotron too. This is incredible. Electric guitar to the fore after 2 minutes, mellotron as well. Vocals 3 minutes in as it calms down and check out the mellotron choirs 4 minutes in with intricate guitar and keys. Love this! Vocals are back before 5 minutes with mellotron, drums and guitar. Some outbursts after 6 minutes with mellotron to end it.

"Jord II" is the longest song at 8 1/2 minutes and it opens with intricate guitar and strummed acoustic guitar as what sounds like violin joins in. A change 1 1/2 minutes in and man this sounds like ANGLAGARD with the flute over top. The keyboards sound amazing 2 minutes in and check out the flute and mellotron before 3 1/2 minutes. The tempo picks up a minute later. So impressive! Love those keyboards. Some piano melodies then it settles with acoustic guitar 6 1/2 minutes in followed by flute. It picks up again. Man this is killer!

"L Mog Forsvinne!" has an interesting start with those spacey sounds. Synths lead the way here. Vocals 1 1/2 minutes in with melodic guitar and a beat. This is really good. Drums and keyboards lead after 4 minutes as the vocals step aside briefly. A nice heavy sound here as the vocals return. More great sounding guitar after 5 minutes then the vocals return before 6 minutes. "Postludium" is spacey and electronic sounding. Spacey synths before 4 minutes to end it.

Yes this will be right near the top, if not at the top of my "best of" list for 2017, I can guarantee that. The Norwegians seem to be taking over the Prog scene and I for one am quite happy about that. Masterpiece!

 Jordsjø by JORDSJØ album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2017
4.91 | 2 ratings

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Jordsjø
Jordsjø Symphonic Prog

Review by Progfan97402

5 stars Like so many bands lurking around Bandcamp, I didn't find out about Jordsjø until sometime later. This Norwegian prog act is lead by multi-instrumentalist Håkon Oftung (who was in Tusmørke and Black Magic). They already released limited edition cassettes that quickly sold out, so I'm left with downloading them; however, this double LP is just what I needed! Music as obsessive retro '70s as this begs to be listened to on vinyl. It compiles material from their first three cassettes, including the part Jordsjø contributed on Songs from the Northern Wasteland (the other half was contributed by electronic act Breidablik). Nothing on their fourth cassette Jord was included, though, so you're stuck with downloading that one (that cassette was sold out too). This simply blew me away! This music is totally up your alley if you enjoy such groups as Änglagård, Wobbler, White Willow and Tusmørke. This is perhaps the most '70s sounding retro-prog album I have ever heard! In fact it's often hard telling this was all recorded between 2015 and '16! Oftung uses Clavia Nord Stage for Hammond organ, Mellotron M4000D, and MiniMoog Voyager, but you'd never know he's playing on modern-day equivalent of modern gear. He also uses some authentic vintage gear too when possible, like the Solina String Ensemble and the Fender Rhodes electric piano, and probably others, but this is what I've seen of his gear online. He gets Kristian Frøland and Tore Flatjord to play drums on some of the songs, which leads me to wonder if he'll consider Mattias Olsson to play sometime in the future, at least just one song (that would make a great combination!). That also got me thinking he should also considering having Lars Fredrik Frøislie drop on by for some dual keyboard action. On "Solina, Min Dronning" he gets none other than Martin Nordrum Kneppen of Wobbler on drums! Each side has its own theme, side one is "The Heavy Side", side two is "The Arctic Side", side three is "The Fantasy Side" and side four is "The Other Side". Side one is more or less, the album's heavier material. "UK Original" starts off mellow, but as it goes on, it sounds like a totally progged version of Deep Purple or Uriah Heep, with that heavily fuzzed Jon Lord or Ken Hensley-type of organ. The music frequently breaks into a Wakeman-like synth solo. "Mine Templer 3" has a bit of a medieval feel, sounding a bit like a more symphonic, Nordic version of Jethro Tull. Side two is the "Arctic Side", I guess these songs Oftung & Co. were trying to capture the mood and feel of the far north of Norway, beyond the Arctic circle. I have no idea what's going on in the lyrics as its sung in Norwegian. "Hulderheimen" has that Tusmørke and Wobbler thing going on, I really particularly dig the flute section. "Under Aurora B" gets me thinking of Terje Rypdal, which I don't think is entirely surprising, as both Oftung and Rypdal hail from the same county. It gets me thinking of Jon Christensen's drumming on "Silver Bird is Heading for the Sun". Of course there differences as there are some amblent and electronic parts. Also some of Oftung's guitar playing in this piece is very much in Rypdal's style. "Svarthelleren" is a bit more rocking, with some nice flute parts, and a nice beautiful instrumental break. The word "Svarthelleren" repeats itself quite a bit, but to my American ears, it sounds like he's saying "Smarthammer" or "Salthammer" and I know that's incorrect, as it's all sung in Norwegian. I can't get a proper translation of "Svarthelleren", and what little info I can get is Svarthelleren is a point located at Loppa, in Finnmark, in the far north of Norway (no wonder this song was included as The Arctic Side). "The Fantasy Side" is what Oftung probably felt was the side that felt had a more fantasy element to the music, but again, its lost on me given its sung in Norwegian. "Ogion" starts off rather calm, and there's some Anthony Phillips type of acoustic passages I really dig, then the music picks up steam with some ELP-like organ passages and some Änglagård moves. "Se Balinors Lamper!" starts off a bit spacy, and then it picks up, but then it suddend turns into a dirge with that Nordic/medieval feel in it, the bassoon sounds like a Mellotron M4000D replication, rather than a real one, it really gives this eerie and somber feel to it. I guess "The Other Side" is the side that don't fit any particular mood or theme."Solina, Min Dronning", unsurprisingly features the Solina String Ensemble extensively (as it turns out, Oftung uses a real one, and not an virtual emulation or VST plugin), giving more than a passing resemblance to late '70s German prog bands. I get thinking of Novalis' Sommerabend as it frequently has that similar mood and spirit, except its sung in Norwegian, and that Nordic influence has itself felt. "Hekseskogen" most reminds me of Bo Hansson circa Mellanväsen (Attic Thoughts), especially in the organ and flute department. I wouldn't doubt Håkon Oftung had Bo Hansson in mind because this piece totally captures his style, including the organ playing. This album has it all progheads are sure to enjoy! Frequently complex music, lots of great analog keyboard sounds, lots of wonderful twists and turns, a wonderful atmosphere, and for those who love that Scandinavian prog sound, you get that frequently somber Nordic vibe to the music. Plus some of the songs are surprisingly melodic, I can actually hum some of this, which is something I couldn't say of Änglagård. There's the occasion the group slips into a more electronic mode, the influence of Breidablik, no doubt. For example, the doomy "Fugløykallan" (from The Arctic Side) starts off with some of the most sinister sounding Mellotron I have ever heard before going into more electronic territory sounding like something Breidablik would do. I mispelled this as "Juglonkallen" as the tracklisting (both back cover and on label) was printed in that German Fraktur blackletter font where some of the characters can cause confusion. "F" looks like "J", "Y" looks like "N", and you could barely see the slash through the common Norwegian "Ø". If things go right, Jordsjø is bound to be a hit with progheads everywhere, as this double compilation album only proves. I shouldn't throw five stars just anywhere, I do need to be objective, but I really think this deserves it, and if you missed out on the cassettes (like I did), and you want it on solid format, this is totally essential! For such a retro sounding album, it's only natural to listen to this on vinyl. For the last few days this album hardly left my turntable, this is perhaps the finest prog rock album I've heard since Änglagård blew people's minds away back in the 1990s! Some of the songs, such as "Solina, Min Dronning" sound even more '70s than the real stuff that came out at that time! How is that even possible? You haven't lived until you hear Jordsjø.
 Jordsjø by JORDSJØ album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.69 | 7 ratings

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Jordsjø
Jordsjø Symphonic Prog

Review by proghaven

5 stars One of the greatest assets - if not the greatest one - for Scandinavian prog during last years. Unfortunately all their studio works were originally released on cassettes, this format is now almost dead. But the good news is that recently Pancromatic reissued their debut album as a double vinyl with a lot of bonus tracks from their second studio album and the split album with Breidablik, plus a few previously unreleased songs. Another good news is that the band has a page on Soundcloud where most of their tracks can be listened to. Their music is very complex, sophisticated, inventive, unpredictable and - on the other hand - very soft, melodic and comfortable, I'd say cozy. They follow not only the traditions of Scandinavian prog scene, but also the traditions of old English school, first of all Egg of the Egg/The Polite Force period. At least some of Jordsjo's musical paths started from A Visit To Newport Hospital. Maybe they are not innovators, but surely very well crafted composers, arrangers and players. What they do is not an aromorphosis in the evolution of prog music, but surely aerobatics of idioadaptation.
 Jord by JORDSJØ album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.38 | 61 ratings

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Jord
Jordsjø Symphonic Prog

Review by rdtprog
Special Collaborator Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

5 stars This is my first encounter with the band that I discovered when we were asked to add them to the archives. From the first note, I could easily make my mind on what type of band we have here. The type of band that I enjoy since the 90's because the Anglagard influence is obvious with a symphonic Prog/Folk Rock style. The songs are well crafted with gorgeous melodies displayed around the flute, the delicate guitar lines, and the keyboards. The songs are not overly complex and could be on the lighter sides of things and sometimes joyful with some flute sections. While they fit into the melancholic tones of the Scandinave bands, they bring that driving energy in some passages that remind me of White Willow and even Jethro Tull. It's a shame that this band is not more recognized, I should check out their others albums.
 Jord by JORDSJØ album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.38 | 61 ratings

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Jord
Jordsjø Symphonic Prog

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
Special Collaborator Symphonic Prog Specialist

5 stars Surprising Scandinavian Duo

Years ago I failed to give proper attention to Scandinavian bands, but after all the marvelous music that came from that region, never made that mistake again, and honestly the vast majority of bands from this part of the world haven't disappointed me, so when the Norwegian band JORDSJÃ? was suggested to Symphonic, listened to the samples and bought Jord immediately.

My first impression of Jord was of delight and surprise, especially when found that the band consists of a duo (Håkon Oftung in the vocals, flute, guitars & keys and the percussionist Kristian Frøland), something unusual for such an elaborate recording, but let's go to the album which is the reason why we are here

Jord is opened by Over Vidda a flute and percussion preamble that places the listener in the mood for a mysterious an elaborate album, it's nice and refreshing but the real deal starts with the frantic Abstraksjoner Fra Et Dunkelt Kammer, a 6:50 mini epic that starts with a soft and melodic introduction that lasts for more or less two minutes, followed by a vocal section that goes "in crescendo" until it explodes in a blast of sounds and musical ideas where the synths take the lead but always having aggressive guitar passages. Simply delightful and the drumming is impeccable.

After this frenetic start the band changes direction with the folksy Finske Skoge a rhythmic track that reminds me of the softer GENESIS tracks with a touch of JETHRO TULL and some killer guitar riffs and again a sober percussion enhanced by Robert William Robert William Dall Frøseth as guest in the bass.

Now it's the turn for Jord I, another explosive song that reminds me of Jordrock by ÄNGLAGÅRD due to the multiple dramatic changes and that marvelous Mellotron that takes me back to the glorious 70s. The vocals (Even when I don't understand a word) help to create that mysterious and dense atmosphere that falls over the listener as a thick mist. Again they hit the nail right in the head.

From the start it's evident that Jord II is a sequel to the previous song, but they manage to maintain the individuality of both tracks with heavier sections and traces of PÄR LINDH's organ, but what impressed me more is the guitar and drums duets when both musicians show their skills. Another high moment in the album.

One thing I value very much in a record is the balance between vibrant and melodic tracks, not too much aggressiveness to desperate the listener neither too many soft passages to bore, and La Meg Forsvinne! helps to keep that equilibrium with an interesting song that blends rock and Jazz elements.

The album is closed by Postludium, an almost electronic instrumental track that caught me by surprise, being that I expected a bombastic finale, but the band went for a softer option that creates a sensation of relaxation after all the previous emotions. Interesting approach.

Usually I hate when the time to rate comes, being that it's hard not to know if you are awarding the album with an undeserved number of stars or being too exigent and unfair with a low rating, but with Jord I don't have that problem, the album impressed me from the first to the last note, I know that in December it will be in my top 10 list of the year, so without hesitation I go with 5 solid stars.

Thanks to ivan_melgar_m for the artist addition.

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