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NEEDLEPOINT

Crossover Prog • Norway


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Needlepoint biography
An Oslo-oriented combo NEEDLEPOINTwere founded in 2010 as a trio by Bjørn KLAKEGG (guitar), Nikolai EILERTSEN (bass), and Thomas STRØNEN (drums), obviously influenced by jazz, rock (especially late-60s or early-70s psychedelic rock), and 70s progressive rock scene.

Their debut opus "The Woods Are Not What They Seem" was released via Bjørn's own label BJK Music in March 2010, whilst gigging at venues, or attending lots of festivals around Norway. In their second album "Outside the Screen", released in 2012, David WALLUMRØD (keyboards) joined them and Bjørn made his debut as a vocalist. In the fall of 2014, they invited Olaf OLSEN as the new drummer, and in the following year released their third creation "Aimless Mary".

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NEEDLEPOINT discography


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

3.55 | 11 ratings
The Woods Are Not What They Seem
2010
4.20 | 16 ratings
Outside the Screen
2012
4.33 | 29 ratings
Aimless Mary
2015
4.00 | 31 ratings
The Diary of Robert Reverie
2018
4.03 | 62 ratings
Walking Up That Valley
2021

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NEEDLEPOINT Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Walking Up That Valley by NEEDLEPOINT album cover Studio Album, 2021
4.03 | 62 ratings

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Walking Up That Valley
Needlepoint Crossover Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars Refreshing psychedelic folk from Norway that brings back nostalgic feelings from 1967's Summer of Love--when love and optimism were still at the center of the Hippie/Flower Power movement--before the tragic death of cult icon John Griggs in 1969.

1. "Rules of a Mad Man" (5:11) reminds me of The BYRDS, The ASSOCIATION, The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band, and Sweden's The AMAZING. (8.75/10)

2. "I Offered You the Moon" (7:51) an intricately woven Summer of Love like pop psychedelic song that has an unexpected jazzy feel. Amazing Pat Metheny Group/RTF/Chick Corea-like instrumental passage in the fifth and sixth minutes. Love Erik Nylander's congas! And then the bass, Fender Rhodes, and drums really get to shine over the final 90 seconds. Wow! (14/15)

3. "Web of Worry" (3:34) As if Paul Simon wrote and sang a Stevie Wonder song. At the two minute mark, during the instrumental passage, it turns full Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young. So cool! (9.25/10)

4. "So Far Away" (3:11) could be acoustic LED ZEPPELIN, BREAD, CELESTE, or PAUL SIMON. And then it goes Massive Attack unplugged at 2:20! Just brilliant. (9/10)

5. "Where the Ocean Meets the Sky" (4:25) more complex, sophisticated jazz-tinged pop psychedelia that sounds like it comes straight out of a California Pop Festival of 1968 or 69. Again, strongly reminiscent of Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young from this era--especially the front-and-center bass play and perfect vocal harmonies. Brilliant and beautiful. Again, great hand percussion play to go with the gorgeous drumming and richly nuanced instrumental tapestry. (9.25/10)

6. "Carry Me Away" (3:56) has a very Brian Auger's Oblivion Express and, less, Santana feel to it. The guitar solo over the is so straight out of Eumir Deodato's 1973 world-wide jazz funk version of Ricard Strauss' "Also Sprach Zarathustra" as inspired from the 1968 classic film 2001: A Space Odyssey. (9/10)

7. "Another Day" (4:45) despite its interesting instrumental palette (including harpsichord), this one drags a little too much. (8.25/10)

8. "Walking Up That Valley" (10:44) opes like it's going to break into "Hair" by The Cowsills. But with the appearance of the vocal we can see that it is a true folk song--a gorgeous one at that. Simple guitar with solo voce, gradually joined by other guitars and Hammond. At 4:30 we transition into a uptempo, more jazz-rock instrumental passage. The sound palette of guitars, bass, and snare drums and cymbals is very cool thought the flanged lead guitar is nothing too exciting. I'm quite reminded of Gadi Caplan's masterful jazzy Prog Folk album from 2016, Morning Sun. As a matter of fact, this entire album has a similarity to that wonderful album. The guitar solo over the zoom-along AMAZING-like passage in the ninth minute is astonishing! What an amazing passage! Some of Al Stewart and Donovan in the gorgeous next session. The way we're cut off from the continued jam at the end feels like robbery! One of the best prog epics of the year--maybe the best. (19.75/20)

Total Time 43:37

A collection of sophisticated, deeply layered folk psychedelia that issues new and pleasant discoveries with each and every listen. Wonderful. Each and every song seems so lovingly created--from composition, lyrics, and performance to recording and mix. An absolute treasure. One of my favorite albums of 2021.

A-/five stars; clearly a masterpiece of retro-psych Prog Folk; an album that any prog lover will surely appreciate and love--especially the old-timers who were alive in the 1960s.

 The Diary of Robert Reverie by NEEDLEPOINT album cover Studio Album, 2018
4.00 | 31 ratings

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The Diary of Robert Reverie
Needlepoint Crossover Prog

Review by Beautiful Scarlet

3 stars This album may masquerade as a "Canterbury Scene" work but I see beneath the Wyatt esque vocals and instrument choices to see that this is absolutely not Canterbury Scene. The music is actually songs!? No riff salad here, no orgasmic changes, nay what you hear is what you get for short 3 minute tunes that have clear starts and finishes, absurd. Additionally the music is pretty subpar, not very catchy, repetitive and just plain dull to my ears. The music is always constrained by such tasteful concepts as "form". Also for an album sporting an acclaimed Jazz guitarist one would expect instrumentals? Most of the album is vocals, the bridges tending to be actually quite short on this album.

Easy 3/5, aside from the previously mentioned issues I have with this album/band the music is okay. This should appeal to fans of 60/70s Psych music or Indie rock. Definitely don't expect any kind of development on these songs or instrumental prowess, very tame generic fare. Canterbury Sound Score 3/5

 The Diary of Robert Reverie by NEEDLEPOINT album cover Studio Album, 2018
4.00 | 31 ratings

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The Diary of Robert Reverie
Needlepoint Crossover Prog

Review by prog_traveller!!

4 stars Since Needlepoint consists of experienced musicians who are active in other Norwegian projects and bands, the band is sometimes referred to as an all-star formation. Bassist Nikolai Hængsle Eilertsen also plays for Elephant9, Møster and The National Bank. Bjørn Klakegg, the guitarist, singer, sole lyricist and composer of Needlepoint is said to be a popular guest musician in various jazz combos. Keyboardist David Wallumrød is also a member of Southpaw, Lester and Clouberry Cream. The drummer Olaf Olsen finally joins a band that, more modestly, calls itself the big band. For Bjørn Klakegg and his companions, Needlepoint is a side project that deals with the progressive kind of rock music for a change and out of pure love for this genre. In this context, Robert Wyatt, Camel, Caravan, Return to Forever, Soft Machine and Weather Report are named as influences.

If you can get excited about the perfect retro sound in the Canterbury Prog area, you should actually have fallen in love with the band's music after the first few minutes of the opening "Robert Reverie". The flowing retro keyboards, the busy drums, the engaging vocal melody and the jazzed-melodic charisma of the piece immediately make you want more. The concluding "Shadow in the Corner" hits a similar notch, while some pieces in between convey an even more pronounced nonchalance.

On "On the Floor" one notices the powerful fuzz bass, the less casual than driving rhythm and the slightly psychedelic touch. The instrumental parts of "All Kind of Clouds" could almost be from Soft Machine. The lyrical folky guitars in "Will it turn Silent" provide an ideal accompaniment for the gentle ballad, which bears a certain resemblance to the early Genesis. The laid-back "In my field of view", "In the Sea" and "Grasshoppers" are less lyrically dedicated to the strange villagers and instead describe the state of relaxation that one can achieve with a little luck in the midst of rural nature. This shows once again that the famous Scandinavian melancholy is not mandatory for all residents of the region. "Beneath my feet" resembles the progressive jazz-rock of Colosseum, not least because of the virtuoso driving drums.

No fan of Canterbury-esque retro prog should miss "The Diary of Robert Reverie"!

 Walking Up That Valley by NEEDLEPOINT album cover Studio Album, 2021
4.03 | 62 ratings

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Walking Up That Valley
Needlepoint Crossover Prog

Review by prog_traveller!!

4 stars Progressive jazz rock from Canterbury meets "Gulliver's Travels". At least that's what you might think if you look at the album cover and hear the first few minutes of "Walking Up That Valley" by Norwegian jazz progger NEEDLEPOINT. But the Norwegian quartet has much more to offer, which is primarily due to the fact that they make no secret of where their musical love lies: in fairytale retro prog with folky songwriter roots full of fragile jazz playfulness, where the Ants crawl under the skin on the cover and leave a more than pleasant tingling sensation there.

Bjørn Klakegg still composes everything on his own, writes the English lyrics and sings his melodies as if he loves and understands the whole world. In addition, Klakegg enriches the charming mix of Canterbury, jazz-rock, folk, pop and retro-prog offered by Needlepoint with the sounds of the guitar, cello, flute and violin. The excellent drummer Olaf Olsen was able to present his energetic game in places. Some of the song structures of Needlepoint have jazz-rock-canterbury-esque jams and well-composed instrumental parts attached to them. The latter led to comparisons with the band called Camel. In places one could feel reminded of the early Genesis by the pastoral moods.

Needlepoint already caught me with the first track "Rules Of A Mad Man" one of the longest tracks on the album, starts with a fantastic bass, tricky drumming, almost spoken vocals, then ends with a very spacey keyboard game, which makes for nice psychedelic moments. For me the first highlight! "Web Of Worry" comes as an airy, light song with pleasing vocals, not exciting, just like the following "So Far Away". Acoustic guitar and violin determine this almost melancholy song, and Björn Klakegg's singing also stands out here. The next piece begins again very relaxed, but after about 2 minutes the song tips over and there is jamming, jazzy guitars, shimmering keyboards and very fiddly drums, but then come back to the quiet starting point. "Carry Me Away" only just over three minutes, but it is very relaxed and easygoing, with a very melodic, almost catchy chorus, and the choir at the end fits this mood very well. At the end of the album, title track "Walking Up That Valley", with over ten minutes the longest piece of the album, but also the most intense. Everything that makes Needlepoint so interesting is combined in one piece.

In the instrumental fragments Needlepoint go off well, a drummer can naturally develop his entire technique. The numerous analog keyboard instruments by David Wallumrød are among the decisive factors in the arrangements of the pieces and give the sound image a nostalgic, atmospheric note.

The positive moods of "Walking Up That Valley" can restore belief in the good in the world. The ease with which these experienced musicians switch between pastoral retro-prog and jazz-rock jams justifies the sometimes expressed view that this is a Norwegian supergroup.

 Walking Up That Valley by NEEDLEPOINT album cover Studio Album, 2021
4.03 | 62 ratings

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Walking Up That Valley
Needlepoint Crossover Prog

Review by Beautiful Scarlet

3 stars When I first heard this album I saw other reviews had mentioned that this album/artist sounds like Caravan which led to my somewhat disappointment as the music was not what I had in mind. After further listens I've come to agree with the Caravan vibe, however, I find the this album brings to mind less In The Land Of Grey And Pink and more Blind Dog At St Dunstans. In other words I think this album sounds like the work of Pye Hastings (lead vocalist actually sounds a bit like him) rather than Richard/Dave Sinclair.

The music itself is very chill pretty music with clear inspirations from the late 60s early 70s albeit less raw, better production/mixing. There is a lot of singing not very much instrumental work and the tracks are all around four minutes aside from I Offer You The Moon and Walking Up That Valley. The longer tracks don't really have any instrumental moments, there length being in my eyes a bit of a waste. I think this is very much so a three star album for me, it's good but certainly never excellent or even great.

Overall this is a solid album that should please fans of Caravans Pye Hastings heavy albums and those looking for something pretty lighthearted. Canterbury Sound Score 3/5

 Walking Up That Valley by NEEDLEPOINT album cover Studio Album, 2021
4.03 | 62 ratings

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Walking Up That Valley
Needlepoint Crossover Prog

Review by mental_hygiene

4 stars Walking Up That Valley is the new Needlepoint album, a band that is categorized as "crossover prog", but really should be considered canterbury scene. This seems to be their first album that's catching the attention of the prog community, but is their fifth overall. The most prominent influence throughout this album is Caravan, with Bjorn Klakegg's vocals sometimes verge on sounding just like Pye Hastings. However, I wouldn't reduce this band to just Caravan. The production sometimes reminds me of the softer King Gizzard records. That might be a stretch, but the point is that this is a very interesting blend of psychedelia and canterbury quirkiness in a rather lush and pastoral setting.

Rules of a Mad Man opens the album and quickly envelops your ears with the excellent blend of acoustic guitars, organ, piano, and the rather charming vocals. Their singer has a strong norwegian accent that might get on your nerves if you're in the wrong mood. I've come full circle, and I think I actually really enjoy it. I love how Rules of a Mad Man strips itself down to a quasi-drum solo section. It's things like this that really evoke the Canterbury sense of jazz while still being rooted in psych rock. I Offered You the Moon follows, another excellent track with a real gem of a synth solo halfway through. Overall, I really appreciate the dynamics on this album. It's refreshing to my ears to hear a 2021 album use so much space and atmosphere in a way that doesn't flood the record.

Web of Worry continues to tone down the record, featuring some excellent drumming that is simultaniously fast paced but atmospheric. I think they generally really nailed the sound of the drums on this record. So Far Away is definitely the most peaceful song on here. It's a very warm and well written ballad. There's even a bit of soul influence on the singing of this song. I cannot get enough of how smooth this album can sound.

Where the Ocean Meets the Sky picks the album back up in energy. While a lot of these songs blend together in atmosphere, it never gets to the point where I can't keep track of each song. The guitars switch often from atmospheric and reverb-drenched comping to orchestrated lines with some interplay with the keys. Carry Me Away continues down this path, this time actually evoking Gong to my ears. Or a less chaotic version of Gong. The choir on the chorus on this song is so beautiful, and I would say is the song that's stuck with me the most from this record. it also is the song that depicts the cover art in its lyrics.

Another Day, the penultimate track, continues with the lush vocal harmonies. The keys add a slight harpsichord-esque classical flair that really compliments the song. Walking Up That Valley, the title track, is an evocative and peaceful track that recounts the titular journey into the valley. The lyrics might be a bit cheesy, but I really appreciate this track regardless. It's the most prog-folk song on this record, driven by acoustic guitar and slowly adding soft percussion and bass as it (oh no I'm gonna say it) progresses. I really appreciate songs that take you on a journey and can pull it off. It's a well executed terminal climax. It sadly ends on a bad note, something I was really disappointed by. It closes on a guitar solo that just fades out, which is really bad because it sounds like the album was supposed to continue. It's a shame that the album doesn't properly close.

Overall, Walking Up That Valley is a very calm, refreshing, and beautiful collection of neo-canterbury songs. I think this is a very masterful record, there's so much detail in each song between the production, the mixing, and the orchestration of it all. I'm looking forward to listening to their earlier albums. Needlepoint is an excellent band, and I really hope that this album is their break into the prog community and hopefully broader.

 Aimless Mary by NEEDLEPOINT album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.33 | 29 ratings

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Aimless Mary
Needlepoint Crossover Prog

Review by Muskrat

4 stars For his third album, NEEDLEPOINT is moving towards more sung and more jazz music. Even if the song is more present, it still gives pride of place to the music. The title track "Aimless Mary" reminds me a lot of BeardFish, especially because of the voice of Bj'rn Klakegg and Gentle Giant structure. I also note a big influence of jazz, even jazzrock ' la Jeff Beck of Blow By Blow (or Il Volo with very doctored guitar sounds) as in the first piece entitled "fear". The compositions are always so dense, mellow and strange. David Wallumr'd has abandoned his Autoharp and focuses on the Clavinet and the Hammond organ. A new drummer joins the group: Olaf Olsen. With "Half Awake", he proves that he is not only there to accompany the music of Neddlepoint, even if he does it excellently. Finally, we find this kind of Laid Back Prog in the song "Why" which reminds me of JJ Cale, or Riders On The Storm of the Doors. Really cool blues. An Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection.
 Outside the Screen by NEEDLEPOINT album cover Studio Album, 2012
4.20 | 16 ratings

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Outside the Screen
Needlepoint Crossover Prog

Review by Muskrat

5 stars I discovered NEEDLEPOINT thanks to their last album, "Walking Up That Valley". I find it absolutely brilliant and wonder how I could miss this band since they exist since 2010, more than ten years. Unbelievable! This stuff is driving me crazy! Quite what I'm looking for these days: softness, musicality, virtuosity and originality. The instruments climb on top of each other and talk to each other to obtain a most complex subject ... while remaining incredibly musical. Here, no rage and the musicians are gods. For now, I am very excited to discover their discography. Decidedly, Norway gives us excellent progressive music! For a while I thought there were several guitarists until I took a closer look at this formation. No, there is only one guitarist. So he overdubbed himself to get this result? Not much. In fact, the keyboardist plays the Clavinet and Autoharp, which confuses the issue. "Outside The screen" is something to be listened to with headphones, eyes closed. Note that the drummer at the time (Thomas Strønen) has changed since then, but he was devilishly good. With a song like "If I Turned Left", NEEDLEPOINT invented the Laid Back Prog. (For those who don't know, the Laid Back is JJ Cale's own style.) Just for that, I'm giving them a well-deserved 5 star!
 Walking Up That Valley by NEEDLEPOINT album cover Studio Album, 2021
4.03 | 62 ratings

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Walking Up That Valley
Needlepoint Crossover Prog

Review by Muskrat

4 stars The Norwegian band Needlepoint's Walking Up That Valley record is a very, very cool thing that should delight those who enjoyed the Magic Bus approach. Needlpoint does not play in Canterbury (although I find there a little Caravan / Cressida side especially in the way of singing and using semi-acoustic guitar sounds) but rather in English Psychedelic Rock from the end of the years. 60. Superb pieces, rich compositions and admirably interpreted! Special mention for drummer Olaf Olsen who knew how to breathe vital momentum throughout this record which otherwise would have risked being too soft. Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection. Truly 4.5 stars.
 Walking Up That Valley by NEEDLEPOINT album cover Studio Album, 2021
4.03 | 62 ratings

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Walking Up That Valley
Needlepoint Crossover Prog

Review by JohnProg

4 stars Needlepoint's fifth work is a great example that prog can also be a very accessible genre; and therefore, it reminds us of its roots (pop - rock from the 60's). The band uses some Canterbury elements, mainly, and without fear of being wrong, influenced by the first Caravan albums. You will hear Jazz rhythms and solos, but also 1960s pop / rock vocal lines. All this in a psychedelic environment that seems to travel through time.

"Rules of a Mad Man" opens the album in a very nice way, with some vocal lines that will make you repeat the song over and over again. "I Offered You the Moon" is the best piece on the album, and the one that comes closest to the canterbury sound, with a minimoog sound that gives you goose bumps. These two songs are a summary of the entire album.

I recommend this work to those who want to listen to an album from 2021, but with the essence of the 60's and 70's. Those who love psychedelia and pleasant melodies.

Thanks to dAmOxT7942 for the artist addition.

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