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MAJOR PARKINSON

Eclectic Prog • Norway


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Major Parkinson picture
Major Parkinson biography
Founded in Bergen, Norway in 2003

Major Parkinson soon started playing at small venues, but build a strong fundament with a growing local following, soon they started to play a larger venues and festivals, namely Eggstokk festival (rock festival in Bergen).

The members - Jon Ivar Kollbotn (Lead Vocals), André Lund (Electric Guitars), Alf Borge (Electric & Acoustic Guitars/Background Vocals), Eivind Gammersvik (Bass), Lars Christian Bjørknes (Synth/Percission/Guitars), and Cato Olaisen (Drums) released their self-titled debut in 2008; their producer was Sylvia Massy who had been working world-renowned names such are Tool and Johnny Cash.

The album got positive reviews in national media newspapers, which further led to some national and international tour dates, culminating in the Hove-Festival where they shared stage with Faith No More and Disturbed.

Jens Erik Aasmundseth replaced Olaisen on drums in 2009.
Their second album, 'Songs From A Solitary Home' was released in 2010.

Their music is mixture of pop sensibility with various forms of rock - from hardcore to progressive rock. While listening to their music, one can hear influences from Tom Waits, Procol Harum, Jethro Tull, Kansas, System of a Down, Kaizers Orchestra, among others.

Thanks to Christoffer Rekstad (Aginor) for the biography information.

Photo by Jarle H. Moe

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MAJOR PARKINSON discography


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

3.72 | 71 ratings
Major Parkinson
2008
4.05 | 108 ratings
Songs from a Solitary Home
2010
4.00 | 221 ratings
Twilight Cinema
2014
3.97 | 185 ratings
Blackbox
2017
3.48 | 30 ratings
Valesa - Chapter I: Velvet Prison
2022

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

4.50 | 18 ratings
Live at Ricks
2015
4.09 | 14 ratings
A Night at the Library
2022

MAJOR PARKINSON Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

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

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

4.18 | 11 ratings
Euthanasia Roller Coaster
2013
3.83 | 6 ratings
Madeleine Crumbles
2016
2.63 | 8 ratings
Pretty Eyes, Pretty Eyes!
2016
4.00 | 6 ratings
Blackbox
2017
4.10 | 10 ratings
Munchausen by Proxy
2018
4.14 | 7 ratings
Jonah
2020
4.20 | 5 ratings
Solitary Home (The Hollywood Tapes)
2020

MAJOR PARKINSON Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Valesa - Chapter I: Velvet Prison by MAJOR PARKINSON album cover Studio Album, 2022
3.48 | 30 ratings

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Valesa - Chapter I: Velvet Prison
Major Parkinson Eclectic Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I was pretty impressed with this band's 2017 release "Blackbox" but even more impressed with their live album from earlier this year called "A Night At The Library". On the heels of that live record the band releases studio album number five called "Valesa-Chapter !: Velvet Prison". Quite a change in musical direction with this one as they head straight into 80's Synth/Pop but with some Disco and Rock thrown in. The backdrop for this album is the 80's as they go into the politics of that decade. Jon Ivar the singer says this about this record "Synth anthems set in a disco of nuclear anxiety."

There are a ton of guests helping out including a female vocalist who has an almost squeeky high voice which contrasts with Jon Ivar's rich and powerful singing. I always put a check mark beside a song I really like and circle it if it's really amazing but I also put an "x" beside a song if I really don't like it. So a few check marks on this one but several "x" marks too. I can't get past the plastic. Synths dominate this and there's also a keyboard percussion instrument that I lament. Now it's not all like this as we get some tracks without all the 80's and Disco sounds but I can't get past the prejudice I have towards Disco being a teenager when it was popular and detesting it at the time.

I know some Avant bands who've implemented some of these Disco sounds to great acclaim but not from me, it's just too much to get past. I loved that they added "Jonah" to this record, a track introduced on the "A Night At The Library" album. It's a little different here plus they actually talk about Jonah a few tracks before on "Live Forever" which is so cool. "Behind The Next Door" is such a good track and I have to mention "MOMA" which is CARDIACS-101. Like a tribute to them because this is supposed to be set in the 80's?

I'm not going to say much more but 3 stars is all I got. Jon Ivar is one of those vocalists that is the price of admission. Just so impressed by him but as far as the music goes just not my scene for the most part.

 Valesa - Chapter I: Velvet Prison by MAJOR PARKINSON album cover Studio Album, 2022
3.48 | 30 ratings

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Valesa - Chapter I: Velvet Prison
Major Parkinson Eclectic Prog

Review by alainPP

4 stars MAJOR PARKINSON, name found in an old theater building, founded in 2003, 1st album in 2008, name associated with TOOL and FAITH NO MORE at the start, distilling pop, rock, hardcore and prog...not easy. Jon's voice can recall that of the late COHEN, Steve VON TILL or Tom WAITS; collider group of avant-garde sound bathing between synth-pop, new wave, cinematic and psyche-progressive, art rock in all its splendour. Texts on political life for their 6th album based on dark melodies, on a greasy synth base and 4 and a half years of work to give birth to it.

7 real titles mixed with interludes for a new concept: "Goodbye Blue Monday" cinematic intro, current fashion between film and 'The Wall' sequence, violent orchestral crescendo before "Behind Next Door" voice ā la Cohen warm, languorous on a melancholy piano, air of the 1st 'Top Gun' and it takes off on a live where it's more Garou (yes I know) or Joe Cocker who seems to take the microphone, astonishing, divine and solemn on this tune? heady; well we are far from what they did before. "Saturday Night" not the disco though; tribal synth pads, a bit of ethereal, strange new wave pop; the soaring keyboards, the childish voice of Claudia, all that disconcerts, sounds grandiloquent, symphonic with the stunning organ finale. "Ride In the Whirlwind" for the pre-Foxtrot nursery rhyme piano interlude? It denotes the start, it puts the ear on alert and launches "Live Forever" always on heavy, catchy synths, a little on the MEAT LOAF in more pop than rock; syncopated tonal air which boosts the title and brings the vocals naturally, the crystalline choirs then a bass drum machine that will have to be ingested, yes danceable. It rises and advances towards synth-pop, dream-music, you have to listen and go up a floor to swallow "Sadlands" on a live sound, cinematic country-rock air again, stadium atmosphere, it would put chills behind the back of the neck, what a voice anyway from Jon; singular unstoppable interlude and "Intermezzo" follows on an 'electronified' DEAD CAN DANCE, dark Wallian musical trance again; latent ambient cinematic with forward-thinking F1 racing. "Jonah" and the return of the late Leonard COHEN, air to the JOY DIVISION, THE CARS, KILLING JOKE for a gospel atmosphere with appropriate choirs; the languorous synth; the piano break Nick CAVE for a while. We arrive at the first half of an album for the moment unclassifiable, the eclectic genre at its peak; I even read reminiscence at the PET SHOP BOYS it's to say, come on, we'll close and we're going to "Velvet Moon" for a short intimate piano-voice title Jon abusing his suave atonal voice.

"Irina Margareta" follows for the title even more hilarious in the good sense of the word, it is warm, solemn, grandiloquent; it's nostalgic, cinematic, epic. It goes up with the haunting synth now recognizable, Jon raises his voice lowers it on that of the Archangel, we are conquered. "The House" returns to the dark classic atmosphere before leaving on a Genesis charisma air... before leaving on a disconcerting post new wave sound you will have understood; it's dancing pop, I know that many won't understand the chronicle on this site... but it's very progressive like a TEARS FOR FEARS, a SIMPLE MINDS, a TALK TALK. "The Room" shifts, it changes and it's in the same line, the strength of the bass synth with the melody choirs; a violin on a TANGERINE DREAM melody throws even more trouble if possible, the synths are more shrill and dancing in the tune of 80's BUGGLES now. I note that this album is excellent to avoid falling into Alzheimer's in view of the memories generated. "Posh- Apocalypse" raw cinematic interlude on KRAFTWERK for example, on the soundtracks of the 'Supercopter' or 'K- 2000' series, much longer than it seems and "Moma" for the ultimate break in this album, downgraded noisy punk hard trance, a shrapnel of sounds before continuing on Claudia surfing on the synth notes, drowning us a little more in this musical maelstrom. "Lemon Symphony" another cinematic interlude on a fast beat, choirs, confusing, progressive. "Fantasia Me Now!" Here's QUEEN now with 'Radio Gaga', well the last real title with Claudia and Jon on a more or less frantic air, the style: a little brass ā la BRAND X, hop the voice ā la Kylie MINOGUE now. 3'40'' sudden break and it starts again; the finale becomes aggressive on the voice, soft on the synth, an unclassifiable cinematic musical melting pot bringing "Heroes" finally, at the end also to deliver the coup de grace, Jon delivering his last dark phased song on the piano while Claudia gives the la to aerate the air, an important moment to come back from this dreamlike hour.

MAJOR PARKINSON I've read it and it captures the effect just released an album more like driving a convertible down an ocean boulevard through a scorching, psychedelic sunset with mushrooms receding at the far'!

You should hang on if you don't know yet, otherwise you know you're going to listen to a unique unclassifiable musical genre that won't leave you indifferent. Let's wait for Chapter 2.

 A Night at the Library by MAJOR PARKINSON album cover Live, 2022
4.09 | 14 ratings

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A Night at the Library
Major Parkinson Eclectic Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 4.5 stars. The only other record I own by this Norwegian band is "Blackbox" from 2017 a very solid 4 star album in my opinion. "A Night At The Library" is a live record released in 2022 but recorded live at Bergen Public Library on May 15, 2020. This was live-streamed during a lockdown over there and it's a stripped down affair with them being a four piece of drums, vocals, violin and piano. Most of the music is taken from "Blackbox" in fact six of the eleven tracks are from that most recent studio album of theirs. We get three tracks from 2014's "Twilight Cinema", one from 2010's "Songs From A Solitary Home" and a new track called "Jonah" that is my favourite on here. I've got a top five that I will focus on but I can't express to you how emotional this record is.

The lyrics are so meaningful on most of these songs and the vocalist Jon Ivar has this deep voice so rich and full of character, the perfect voice to convey these powerful words. Towards the end of the show which is an hour long he gets emotional and somewhat dramatic I believe because he knows that they have just given the performance of their lives. The water in my eyes kept rising throughout this record to point I'm saying "What's going on!". My buddy Avestin gave this 4.5 stars as well so I'm in good company folks. My top five includes the opener then four of the last five tracks making this such a perfect record to listen to, I mean all the songs are good but I love the order of the set list. The female violinist adds backing vocals which adds so much here as well.

"Lover Lower Me Down" is one of those songs where I'm asking why is this so emotional? Piano and violin early then vocals at 1 1/2 minutes as the violin steps aside making his words the focus. He speaks "See my guitar gently weep" over and over around 5 minutes in as it blends into another great song called "Black River". But lets talk about "Baseball" another moving track like the opener and I should mention that the first four of my top five are from "Blackbox". Some good contrasts here and urgent fast paced singing at times. The guy is such a rhymer. It's almost experimental around 3 1/2 minutes then a calm with female backing vocals. How about that repeated line "I got his baseball" why does that move me?

"Night Hitcher" opens with upfront drums as slicing violin joins in along with piano. I have to mention the inventive violin work here each time the singer stops. The band was on fire this night. "Before The Helmets" is again so moving and meaningful. Gosh! Those fragile vocals. I mean when he returns singing after 4 minutes I'm broken as female backing vocals help out. "Jonah" was a new track early from 2020 and this was performed in May of that year. It's the final 4 minutes or less that have me almost having to pull off the road at one point. Including some fist pumps for this man who's going to be the king of the world. He was a loner you know and I remember his rifle. When his voice rises to an emotional and powerful level that's when I'm fist pumping.

What a surprise this album was. Totally unexpected but man how happy I am to own this treasure.

 Blackbox by MAJOR PARKINSON album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.97 | 185 ratings

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Blackbox
Major Parkinson Eclectic Prog

Review by friso
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Major Parkinson from Norway has found a way to combine quite dark progressive rock with pop sensibilities. At first spin it sounded like a poppy version of Sleepytime Gorilla Museum to me! Keywords to describe this album are ghosthouse, darkness, caberet, dance music and ambient pop. The low pitched male vocals create a the feel as if listening to a vampire, whereas the female lead vocals sound a bit gothic / childlike.

On the first side of the vinyl the band plays its dark pop without much interruption. Every song has its own specific elegant nightmarish vibe. Compared to ordinary progrock the music sounds quite electronic/produced and is slightly more repetitive. The album never becomes boring, because Major Parkinson keeps adding layers and the atmospheres are really sufficient. On side two 'Baseball' is the most cabaret-influenced song in which the band's humor runs wild. This was the song that took me longest to get into, but I started to like it eventually. The ending song 'Blackbox' is another highlight for the album. Love the wind-section in the end.

The gold vinyl (on Karisma Records) I own should never have been released, because it doesn't sound at all like the sharp and perfectly produced digital version. The vinyl sounds flat and compressed. This is a bit of a letdown, but I won't blame the band for it. This is a pleasant four star progressive album that friends and family might also like.

 Twilight Cinema by MAJOR PARKINSON album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.00 | 221 ratings

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Twilight Cinema
Major Parkinson Eclectic Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

5 stars This is the third of four studio albums released by this Norwegian band, and was released in 2014. I have only just come across this group, so this was all totally new to me, and having played it and then started working out what on earth I could try and say about it! They have been listed on PA as a progressive rock group, in the eclectic sub-genre, and I can understand why that is as these guys are truly trying to move music into new areas and are progressing the sound, as opposed to attempting to regress to something that was popular 40 or 50 years ago. Firstly, the music is incredibly theatrical, timeless and also dark, yet with levity and life coming through at different stages. So let's think Clive Nolan, but also throw in Alabama 3, some Nick Cave and possibly Tom Waits, while Johnny Cash would be stirring the pot. Then let's add some accordion-driven pirate metal just for the hell of it, and see what the punters make of it. Clive would be the only one that I've mentioned that people would generally think of as prog, but all of those named have been key players in their own musical fields and have never been afraid of stretching out into different areas.

If I was going to think of just one prog band, then the approach does remind me in some strange way of classic Twelfth Night, but of course they sound nothing like them at all! This really is an album where the more attention that is paid to it, the more rewards can be obtained as the music is incredibly dense, multi-layered and faceted, and the more I listen to it the more I find within it to enjoy it. There is a darkness thrown in, as if instead of performing on a stage, the guys are on a becalmed sailing galleon at night, with lanterns providing the only lighting. There is so much happening in each song, with switches in tempo and musical approach taking place so frequently that one often loses track as to what is going on, but who cares? It is a staccato abrupt journey both into the absurd and the unknown, and I am all the richer for having heard it. Miss this at your peril.

 Blackbox by MAJOR PARKINSON album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.97 | 185 ratings

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Blackbox
Major Parkinson Eclectic Prog

Review by DragonX32

5 stars My music listening has fallen off in recent years, but then I noticed Major Parkinson had an upcoming album. Twilight Cinema is, in my mind, one of the better albums I've had the pleasure to experience. Not only do I still listen to Twilight Cinema on a regular basis, many of my friends that have little interest in music (much less prog) love this album. In short, I hold TC in high regard and I was especially excited for the new material.

So how does Blackbox measure up? Very well! While it's a pretty low threshold to cross these days, I feel pretty good saying that Blackbox will be my 2017 album of the year. Blackbox is consistent all the way through and I don't feel there are any "duds" on the album. The album streams seamlessly from dark, to poppy, to melodic, to circusy. The sounds (instruments, mood, tempo, style, etc) change very rapidly throughout the album, not dwelling on any sound or instrument for too long, and keeping you engaged throughout the entire experience. For one example of catchy tunes and interesting instrumentation, near the end of the track "Isabel - A Report to an Academy" the climax includes a catchy melody that involves the rhythm of a type-writer. Every time I hear that part, my mind is blown how well it brings together the other layers in the track to bring the song to a close. The band has countless examples like this in their catalog that demonstrate how unique their sound is.

Blackbox has excellent tracks throughout including Isabel, Madeline Crumbles, and Baseball. Compared to previous works, it did take me a while to fall in love with this album, as there is more of a focus on building up to a climax throughout the major tracks and throughout the album. While Blackbox is perhaps not as immediately accessible as their previous works, Blackbox may be Major Parkinson's best work yet.

If you are wanting to listen to something that is unique, engaging, eclectic, circusy, dark, and yet catchy with a broad array of instrumentation, then by all means check this one out, you won't regret it!

 Blackbox by MAJOR PARKINSON album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.97 | 185 ratings

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Blackbox
Major Parkinson Eclectic Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars Norwegian band MAJOR PARKINSON was formed back in 2003, and have steadily built themselves a reputation as a quality act in the experimental rock music scene, at some point crossing over to gain increased interest also from fans of progressive rock. They have four studio albums to their name so far. "Blackbox" is the most recent of these, and was released through Norwegian label Karisma Records in the late fall of 2017.

While I am one of many swayed by the charms and music of Major Parkinson, I'm still a bit unsure about just how broad a reach a band like this have. They are creative, make challenging compositions that are still easy to enjoy and listen to, managing to be challenging without being overly demanding, but they also create material that is very much their own and a few left turns away from most other bands out there. Eclectic progressive rock with synth pop tendencies and a bit of classic Gary Numan style sounds at that, flavored with cabaret tendencies and a dark circus atmosphere. If that description sounds enticing, Major Parkinson might well be the band you never knew about that you always hoped to discover.

 Blackbox by MAJOR PARKINSON album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.97 | 185 ratings

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Blackbox
Major Parkinson Eclectic Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Despite displaying very little instrumental flash, nuance, or virtuosity, Major Parkinson continues putting out interesting poppy prog goth noir--this one their fourth.

1. "Lover, Lower Me Down!" (4:47) drums and, of course, vocals/lyrics on display here despite it being 70% instrumental. (8.5/10)

2. "Night Hitcher" (5:46) the synth/keyboard work is my favorite thing about this song. The chorus is so out of a 1980s film soundtrack! Something by John Hughes or Pump Up the Volume. Again, the percussion/rhythm work is remarkable and there is a rather wonderful buildup and synth chord sequence as it approaches its end but, otherwise, there is nothing so extraordinary about this song--nothing that draws me back to listen to it repeatedly. (9/10)

3. "Before the Helmets" (1:25) melodic piano with incongruous singing voice. (3/5)

4. "Isabel - A Report to an Academy" (9:41) (8.5/10)

5. "Scenes from Edison's Black Maria" (1:46) minimalism!? (4.5/5)

6. "Madeleine Crumbles" (5:06) upbeat pop noir! with nice performance from female singer Linn Frøkedal. A modern, goth noir take on The Psychedelic Furs' "Love My Way." (9/10)

7. "Baseball" (10:20) prog cabaret! entertaining! All we need are the Cirque du Soleil acrobats.(8.5/10)

8. "Strawberry Suicide" (2:57) classical/Kurt Weill/Leonard Cohen! (8/10)

9. "Blackbox" (5:48) 80s underground synth pop! I do like it better when the band alternates a female vocalist with that of the melodramatic atonal voice of Jon Ivar. (9/10)

A little too simple and repetitive, musically, and, being deaf to lyrics, the lyrical messages are lost to me, this is just not what I'm looking for in progressive rock music. But I can see how some might like it.

Four stars; an excellent addition to any adventurous prog rock music collector.

 Blackbox by MAJOR PARKINSON album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.97 | 185 ratings

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Blackbox
Major Parkinson Eclectic Prog

Review by rdtprog
Special Collaborator Heavy / RPI / Symphonic Prog Team

5 stars From Norway, the band has released his 4th album all of them received good reviews. What strikes us right away is the whispering voice that set the tone for the album just like when you want to create a monster talking in a movie. You know that he has a big voice, but you don't want to scare away the children. So the first part of the album as a cinematic atmosphere that reminds me of the project of Black Codex. It's interesting to hear the clear female voice and chanting melodies contrasting with that special male voice. There's a lot of instrumentation like saxophone, xylophone, cello, etc. that gives a lot of sophistication to the music. There is some addictive chorus throughout and beautiful keyboards melodies. If the general mood could be haunting, the second part of the album brings some light pop melodies. Don't look for some guitar solos here, every instrument is like a little orchestra in support of the melody. In conclusion, I didn't get bored a minute on this album.
 Twilight Cinema by MAJOR PARKINSON album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.00 | 221 ratings

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Twilight Cinema
Major Parkinson Eclectic Prog

Review by DrömmarenAdrian

4 stars Major Parkinson is a Norwegian progressive rock band which has made three album since 2008. I have just heard their last from 2014 "Twilight cinema" because I am exploring this year's new releases and I am very impressed. I can absolutely understand how people consider this a five star record and I want to praise it honestly. This is modern and very sophisticated prog rock.

The record's cover is dark and melancholic. We see a cold forest with a raven in the centre, who is sitting on a stone. Even if the sound mostly is quite dark is it so full of intriguing ingredients and funny sound effects so you'll be happy to hear it anyway. The melodies are also quite sweet. The dark and deep vocals come from Jon Ivar Kollbotn and the guitarist of the band is André Lund. Eivind Gammersvik plays bass, Lars Christian Björknes plays synth and Steinar Hjelmbrekke plays guitar. Jens Erik Aasmundseth is the drummer of the band. On this record the presence of a girl: Annette Kathinka Servan is also important. She sings on at least two songs.

This colourful music could be used as soundtrack to an experimental movie. The band has made a record with very well produced and rich sounding music. It is a great flow in it too, the songs follow each other very smoothly. Often we hear sounds from a circus and the record is both exciting and harmonic. I think i like "The Wheelbarrow" most, a really powerfull song(9/10) but "Twilight Cinema", the ending chorus of the album(8/10) and "Impermanence" are energic tracks(8/10). The sweet "Beaks of Benevola"(8/10) and the darker "Black River" are also worth hearing. Actuelly this record surprises me. It doesn't sound like other prog rock, it touches other modern genres but mostly it is just unique.

An honest and intriguing record filled with enigmatic tunes will I give four stars!

Thanks to clarke2001 for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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