I had never heard of Jordsjø but Nattviolen is already the fourth studio-album from this Norwegian band, since its eponymous debut album in 2015. Jordsjø is a duo featuring Håkon Oftung (Tusmørke) on vocals, guitars, flute and keyboards, and Kristian Frøland on drums and percussion, with additional musicians.
The 3 longer tracks (between 6 and 10 minutes) alternate between dreamy with twanging acoustic guitars and flute to slow rhythms and bombastic eruptions, topped with wonderful vintage keyboards, like the Hammond organ, but especially the unsurpassed Mellotron (brass, violin and choir section). This is a bonus on this album, like the very pleasant native vocals. The 4 short tracks are instrumentals, from the very short Ouverture (tender flute and piano) to Septemberbål (beautiful acoustic guitar play, evoking Dutch Flairck).
Solens Sirkulære Sang (7.39) : First a mellow atmosphere featuring dreamy flute, electric guitar and Hammond (Landberk comes to my mind). The native vocals really sound very pleasant. Now the mood shifts between dreamy and more dynamic and lusher, with a spacey synthesizer solo, and the distinctive Mellotron and Hammond sound. Halfway a break with flute and propulsive guitar riffs. Then again between dreamy and more bombastic, embellished with flute, Hammond and Mellotron, strongly evoking Anglagard. Finally a compelling build-up to a sumptuous grand finale featuring a majestic Mellotron choir sound, blended with Hammond and repetitive electric guitar leads, wow!
Mine Templer II (6.29) : It starts with a slow rhythm that contains delicate work on the Hammond and piano, along warm vocals. Gradually it becomes more dynamic, the flute joins, then Hammond and Mellotron, again with strong hints from Anglagard. Halfway dreamy with fragile electric guitar, Hammond and piano. Then an acceleration with sparkling piano and flute, topped with dynamic drums. In the final part a subtle jazzy electric guitar solo, with piano, and an exciting Hammond sound (tremolo and churchy), blended with again subtle work on the electric guitar.
Ulvenatt (5.45) : The final, instrumental composition is a wonderful goodbye from the band, pretty different from the other 6 tracks. In the first part a slow rhythm with sensitive electric guitar, soaring Hammond and delicate Mellotron drops. In the second part a strong build to a very compelling atmosphere with an intense electric guitar solo (in the vein of mellow Focus and Camel), including subtle bending and howling runs, blended with lush Hammond organ, goose bumps!
A wonderful blend of folk and symphonic rock, with an omnipresent Mellotron sound and obvious hints from Anglagard, worth to discover.
**** Erik Neuteboom (edited by Dave Smith)
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