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Jordsjø - Nattfiolen CD (album) cover

NATTFIOLEN

Jordsjø

 

Symphonic Prog

4.15 | 133 ratings

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Progfan97402
Prog Reviewer
5 stars The only disappointing thing I can say about this album is the title track being left off, thankfully you can download it over at Bandcamp, but that piece is so amazing it shouldn't have been left off the album, it would have fit fine on the CD, but since the vinyl LP was also in mind, Håkon Oftung had to make the decision to leave it off and not have to disappoint buyers in either the CD or LP camp.

I am so pleased that I didn't have to wait so long for a Jordsjø release, not like Wobbler where you had to wait six years between releases (Rites at Down, From Silence to Somewhere). Which I love about Jordsjø since discovering them in September 2017 is that organic approach to prog, with a frequent pastoral approach that I really dig, often rooted in Nordic folk, giving it that Scandinavian feel that I so enjoy from prog from that area of the world. I also love how they completely avoid that sterile digital approach that plagues way too much prog these days (neo prog obviously being the most guilty). As usual Oftung gets help from Kristian Frøland on drums and various guests as needed. "Ouveture" is a simple piano and flute intro, but "Stifinner" is the first real song on the album. Starts off with this loud Mellotron passage, but then calms down with acoustic guitar, with vocals in Norwegian (in fact all the vocals are in Norwegian). I really like that organ and flute passage later on. "Solens Sirkulære Sang" is a lengthier piece demonstrating the band's more ambitious side, but Håkon Oftung also knows his limits, as Jordsjø as never been about playing a million notes per second (too much prog since the 1990s has been like that, and even before then ELP was frequently accused of that as well), like Camel, Jordsjø is more focused on the emotional part, unlike Camel, they give it that Nordic touch. "Septemberbål" is an unaccompanied acoustic guitar piece, much like a Nordic version of "Mood For a Day", but unlike that famous piece, it's more influenced by Nordic folk than classical guitar like what you get from Steve Howe. "Mine Templer II", a sequel of "Mine Templer I" (from 2016's Jordsjø II, later appearing on the self-entitled double album compilation). Instead of rehashing the original, it's completely brand new song and it's truly a stunning piece. I only imagine the lyrics having a same them that connects the two (but lost on me not knowing Norwegian) Really dig that flute intro, sounds so '70s you think it was recorded in the '70 (funny how that flute intro reminded me of that incidental music I heard on the original 1970s Land of the Lost TV series as I frequently heard similar sounding flute, although in the case of Håkon Oftung, it's likely just a coincidence as he was clearly not alive in the '70s, and lives in Norway). Then the song starts with a wonderful pastoral approach, nice vocals in Norwegian, and that nice use of piano to go with it, but I love how things change, with an intense organ passage, then the vocal theme reappears, this time, without vocals, but jazzy guitar parts instead, then a wonderful theme to close this piece. "Til Våren" is a really ingenious piece. There's the vocal section, and then when the flute section kicks in, it took me several listens to discover the flute theme is the same as the vocal section. Jordsjø sure has a way with creating a theme, and changing it drastically until it dawns on you it's a different take on that theme. Regardless this is truly one of the album's highlights. "Ulvenatt" is an atmospheric number that's very much in Pink Floyd territory, also Camel and even Sebastian Hardie. Håkon Oftung even does that David Gilmour style of guitar playing (also a bit in the style of Andy Latimer and Mario Millo). It ends with Geir Opdal giving some brief sound effects off his Buchla Music Easel.

And just in case you don't know Jordsjø, their music is very highly recommended if you enjoy bands like Wobbler, Änglagård, White Willow, Sinkadus, Tusmørke, and Landberk.

As mentioned, the omission of the title track is the album's only disappointment, had this been made in, say 2005, it would have been likely included as it would have been likely only issued on CD because 2005 would have been before the vinyl resurgence. If it was included it certainly would have been a highlight, but as it stands, the album, even without the title track, still blows me away. It's certainly one of the finest releases of 2019 so far.

Progfan97402 | 5/5 |

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