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Music PR Norway

Oslo duo Apothek release new video for 'Family'

Video release: ‘Family by’ Apothek (released via DIY)
Release date: 14 May 2014
Watch: on Youtube 

‘If the cooks in Breaking Bad conjured up music while busying themselves with the money-making meth, they’d probably make something like this.’ - DIY 

“A wonderful example of excellent pop songwriting mixed with electronic sounds and a classical vibe. What is truly exciting is the schizophrenic way band treats the track’s beat causing wonderful little heart attacks with its sudden, unpredictable nature.” - The 405

“Combines the two artists’ musical backgrounds to somewhat stunning effect. A slow burning, euphoric little ditty which paces along at perfect head nodding speed, getting into your ears and latching on like a musical leech” - Ja Ja Ja 

Apothek’s music is often described as cinematic; a word that doesn’t mean much in isolation, but one which given context can be annoyingly accurate. Other than describing the concrete musical elements it also says something about the span or depth of the music.

It embodies nostalgia and being part of a tradition. So, even if the sound of “Family” is one that could only exist today, it’s nevertheless easy to look behind the chopped rhythms and discover the classic and surprising songwriting that would feel familiar regardless of the instrumentation.

It’s timeless, and exactly the type of song that doesn’t need the context of the current day to be enjoyed.  As a band, Apothek is absolutely a child of its time, but one with parents, great grandparents, siblings and cousins. Or “Family”, to be more precise.

‘Family’ is Out Now, available to buy digitally. Remix/Acoustic package to follow. 

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Norwegian group Tusmörke release their sophomore album, “Riset Bak Speilet”

Album release: ‘Riset Bak Speilet’ by Tusmörke
Release date: 23 June, 2014
Label: Svart Records
More information on: Svart Records website

Norwegian group Tusmörke (“Twilight”) is a strange beast. With roots streching deep into the Scandinavian neo-progressive rock underground of the early nineties. The identical Momrak twins recorded a Tusmörke demo in 1997 but soon put the band on hiatus for several years. Tusmorke returned in 2009 with a full electric lineup and the debut album “Underjordisk Tusmorke” appeared three years later.

June 2014 sees the dark minstrels return with a sophomore album “Riset Bak Speilet” (“The Birch Behind The Looking Glass”). A 50-minute transmission from the heart of the darkest northern forests, the album skillfully channels the spirit of classic British acid folk rock and soaks it in a black witches cauldron. The spellbinding concoction is at times reminiscent of classic acts like Jethro Tull and Incredible String band, and also not entirely far off from modern forest magicians such as Hexvessel and Wolf People.

“Time is an illusion when the music of Tusmörke is played: it ceases to exist. The listener loses her grip, our knowledge no longer stems from social media or printed newspapers: everything the modern world has made us believe, evaporates. Our ears grow into cones, blood turns thin.” 

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Stillness and Panic - third album from Hanne Kolstø

Album release: Stillness and Panic by Hanne Kolstø
Release date: 7 May 2014
Label: Jansen Plate Production
Listen on: official Hanne Kolstø website

Hanne Kolstø maintains her frequency and releases her third solo album in three years. She also keeps the core of her music, the musical landscape in which everything is allowed: electronica, noise, acoustic guitar, loops, sounds of burning rubber and her father’s brass band in Sykkylven, Norway. This enchanting ugly-beautiful sound has made her a favourite with the critics, and also landed her a nomination for the Norwegian Grammy award in the “Best pop album in 2012” category.

Stillness and Panic was recorded with old marching band instruments and pianos in her childhood home and the chapel where she once started as a soloist in the children’s choir. The soundscape is bigger than on any other Kolstø record, but her voice and lyrics are indisputably at the core of her music.

This music was written after Kolstø moved to the west of Norway, to Sunnmøre, and took a few months off from her otherwise continuous touring during the past few years. The silence, and the reflections made on long, solitary hikes alone in the alps of Sunnmøre, western Norway, are apparent in deeply personal lyrics and in the album’s title.

Like the two previous albums, this one is produced by Øyvind Røsrud Gundersen.

Tracklist:

Vertical split
The Clinch
One plus one makes one out of two
Shiftswitch
Our time is up
Someone else
Nothing out loud
Don’t remember I forgot you
Meiosis
Stillness and Panic

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Silje Leirvik – Endless Serenade

Album release: Silje Leirvik – Endless Serenade
Label: Autumnsongs Records
Release date: 16th December 2013
Listen: via Youtube sampler 

Autumnsongs Records are very happy to announce Norwegian songwriter Silje Leirvik's second album, Endless Serenade. The album comes only a year after Leirvik's debut, and is packed full of lush atmospherics and a glowing energy. Where her debut album, With The Lights Turned Out So Beautiful, was set in a more traditional singer-songwriter genre, featuring the organic tones of grand piano and string section, this time Leirvik (alongside producer Rhys Marsh) decided to experiment more with textures — feeding pedal steel guitar, electric piano and drum machine through tape delay machines, then blending this with drums, mellotron and guitars. This results in the album having a very warm, retro presence, that swims through its gorgeous undertones or folk, rock and pop.

Opening track Glass of Water sets the album’s shimmering tone with its gently pulsing guitars and lyrical refrain “I’ll drink of yours, you can drink of me”, setting out Lerivik’s stall as a thoughtful songwriter, enchanted by the unknown. Recent single Silver & Gold echoes this sentiment. Leirvik herself says that Silver & Gold is a song about the complexity and mysteriousness of love. If it came in the form of silver and gold, we would know when it was found, but life tends to be less specific.” It is this theme of love, and the mystery that entangles it, that dominates the album thematically. Through the beguiling When In The Water to the mesmeric Snø (sung in her native tongue) a contemplative lyrical flourish is never far away.

“Once under the skin, Leirvik's songs will remain with you for a long time” Norway Rock Magazine

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Spirits of The Dead release their new album on 9 December

Album release: Rumours of a Presence by Spirits of The Dead
Release date: 9 December 2013
Label: The End Records
Listen: on official website

“This is superior stuff, and as a Soundtrack to a trip through imaginary green and pleasant lands, delivers in full" - 7/10 Classic Rock Magazine

"Spirits of the Dead are giving psychedelic rock a welcome with bold colourful brushstrokes and a genuine sense of wonder” - Prog

"Deeply powerful and captivating every second of the way" - Shindig!

"Hallucinogenics may been involved in making some of the music. For fans of King Crimson, Nick Drake and Tame Impala" - 7/10 Rock Sound

Labelled as ‘Norway’s finest psychedelic stoner band’ Spirits of the Dead are ready to unleash their third album Rumours of a Presence, recorded in some of the most isolated parts of Norway.

Sometimes it is hard to be an optimist. Here in the privileged Western world, we live in an age where most people spend their entire lives transfixed by glittering pixels on a smartphone screen, seemingly impervious to everything else that is going on around them, immune to the magic that sparkles and flashes in the air, even dead to the provocative crackle of synapses hidden within their own weather-beaten skulls. But that magic definitely exists. It exists in the music of Spirits Of The Dead, the modern era’s most skilled and soulful psychedelic rock protagonists and the keepers of the ancient flame of altered sonic states. It exists elsewhere too, of course, but Spirits Of The Dead are a band that have taken up permanent residence in the shadowy recesses of restless minds.

These Norwegian seers may seem to fit neatly into that cosy cabal of retrogressive rock ‘n’ roll bands that are in permanent nostalgic thrall to the great guitar-driven works of the late 60s and early 70s, and yes, there is definitely a superficial adherence to that arcane code buried deep within the songs that they have presented to the world thus far. But there is something else going on here, something idiosyncratic and mesmerising, something that defies description and dares the imagination to throw off its shackles to the known and the now. Maybe that magic lurks in the valves and wires of the analogue equipment that gives Spirits Of The Dead their timeless but timely sound. Maybe it lurks in the gaps between the warm, distorted tones that resonate every time this band pick up their instruments and channel their unerring creative pulse. Maybe it cannot be found at all. It matters not, because Spirits Of The Dead have drawn inspiration and solace from a bottomless well of musical inspiration, harnessing the riffs and melodies and subtly intricate arrangements of the fines psychedelic and progressive rock and filtering it all back through the prism of their own brilliant creativity.

This is music that matters and moves. These are songs that surround you like the warmth of a brightly-coloured cloak amid the icy, hostile squall of life’s never-ending blizzard. These are songs that send waves of exhilarating electricity through your bloodstream, causing your heartbeat to quicken and your limbs to flail in breathless pursuit of spectral grooves yet to be tamed.

Sometimes it is hard to be an optimist, but when Spirits Of The Dead are plugged in and letting the magic flow through their fingertips, this moment in time feels like something to be celebrated, the future looks bright and the world is a weird, wild and wonderful place. All you need to do is listen…

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Mona & Maria release debut album, 'My Sun'

Album release: My Sun by Mona & Maria
Release date: 21 October 2013
Label: Jansen Plateproduksjon
Listen: on Soundcloud

Mona & Maria are a fantastic new duo from Oslo. They are now here with their debut album My Sun - music which can be described as harmony-based pop with folk elements and great, and often grand, arrangements, but still with an acoustic feel. Their debut consists of 10 self-written songs.

Mona & Maria tell us about the debut: “Something was let loose after we started working on songs that did not fit the sound of the band we were in. We strongly felt the need to create something more personal, and we started making melodies to something obscure that had been lying dormant in both of us. After a band breakdown, came a new musical need that we found in each other. We both were terrified of singing alone, but together we sort of found a third person to make us feel secure. We began experimenting with harmonies. It became our way of being together. After several rounds and recordings of these songs, the record started to take shape, and we found our soundscape by working with dynamics. We wanted to have both the low-key and intimate, and the grandiose and dramatic, to have both darkness and light at once. We wanted to make unpretentious arrangements that enhanced the lyrics and the melodies, and not buried them. The result was My Sun.”

Mona Andersen (27) and Maria Knudsen (28) have already written songs together for many years, and both were central parts of the band Bazooka Boppers, with which they released two albums. After the band’s break-up in 2010, Mona and Maria continued playing together, and it worked out so well that they decided to move forward as a duo. The album was recorded at Engfelt & Forsgren Studio with Christian Engfelt (Cato Salsa Experience, Apricot and Turns, and as a producer Lionheart Brothers, Cheaters and more) as a producer, along with the girls themselves. Engfelt also plays the bass on a few of the songs.

Also participating on the album are some of Norway’s very best musicians:

  • Martin Horntveth (Jaga Jazzist, The National Bank, Jonas Alaska) - percussion
  • David Wallumrød (Jonas Alaska, Bjørn Eidsvåg med flere) - keys
  • Eivind Staxrud (Raga Rockers) - guitars
  • Olaf Olsen (Big Bang) - drums
  • Knut Schreiner (Turboneger, Mirror Lakes, Kåre & The Cavemen) – guest guitar
  • Marcus Bror Forsgren (Lionheart Brothers) – guest guitar
  • Kaja Fjellberg Pettersen (Karpe Diem, Jens Carelius, Siri Nilsen) - cello
  • Bendik Brænne (Dum Dum Boys, Los Plantronics) – saxophone and flute
  • Henning Sansdalen (Le Corbeau, Hanne Hukkelberg) - bass
  • Hans Friis (Dum Dum Boys, Los Plantronics) - trombone
  • Members of KORK also participate on strings and bassoon.

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Atlanter - Vidde: out August 12 on Jansen Plateproduksjon


Album release: Vidde by Atlanter
Release date: 12 August 2013
Label: Jansen Plateproduksjon
Listen: on Jansen Plateproduksjon site

Atlanter is Jens Carelius’ and Arild Hammerø’s new band project. They play rock inspired by desert blues bands and German krautrock and have a healthy appreciation for classic psych and prog. All this is done with a Norwegian twist and point of view, and is perhaps best described as Norwegian "viddeblues". Besides Carelius and Hammerø, the viddeblues ensemble Atlanter consists of Jonas Barsten Johnsen and Morten Kvam. Their debut album Vidde consists of 9 powerful, rhythmic-based songs, all written by the band and produced by Øyvind Røsrud Gundersen (Siri Nilsen, Jens Carelius, Hanne Kolstø).  

Arild Hammerø from the band tells us about the music and the album: "Atlanter has an open-minded approach to playing music. The songs change from one concert to another, and we try to avoid a polished and rehearsed sound. I think everyone in the band enjoys this openness, that something new can happen on every song. We captured this feeling on the record too, and what brings it all together is that it is mostly based on very distinct rhythms. Playing with Atlanter is like dancing around a fire, there is an intense energy there. Our goal is for the audience to feel this energy too, so they can join in on the dance."

About the band

Jens Carelius has made a name for himself on the Norwegian music scene with the releases The First Songs (2008), The Beat Of The Travel (2009) and The Architect (2011). He has received brilliant reviews for all albums, especially the recent two, with mostly 5 and 6 out of 6 in most Norwegian newspapers. And, yes, in Norway, reviews are always out of 6.  He has sold a great number of albums, and was also the opening act on the largest stage at the Øya festival in 2011.

Arild Hammerø released his debut album Dagen Som Gryr in 2008, which was well received by the Norwegian press. “Arild Hammerø is a folk singer who protects the heart-warming legacy of folk singers Lillebjørn Nilsen and Stein Ove Berg. Sensitive, lyrical and likeable”, wrote Norwegian newspaper Vårt Land. The album Flåte by Hammer & Hersk (Arild Hammerø and Daniel Herskedal) was released in 2012 and received good reviews. Arild is also a regular on guitar in the electronica duo Ost & Kjex, and participates on the album Cajun Lunch.  

The rest of the band play a central part too, however, with Jonas Barsten Johnsen a young percussionist with a Masters degree from the Norwegian Academy of Music. He is/has been collaborating with amongst others: Frøy Aagre, Bendik Hofseth, Bendik Baksaas, Disaster in the Universe, Eivind Aarset, CCTV, Adam Rudolph and Bjørn Charles Dreyer. He is also a key player of the improv scene in Oslo with a focus on electronics, percussion and dance. He has played more than 100 gigs each of the last 3 years, including the most central festivals in Norway.

The band are completed by Morten Kvam who has played the string bass/electric bass and been an active musician in Bergen and Oslo within different genres such as jazz, rock, improvisation and folk music. He has collaborated with musicians such as Siri Nilsen, Terje Isungset, Per Jørgensen, Olav Dahle, Walter Thompson (US), Kevin Dean (CAN), Arild Hammerø, klezmer band Ot Azoi, Bugge Wesseltoft, Borge & Kvam, Polkabjørn and Kleine Heine, Push and Ine Hoem. He has also contributed on all Jens Carelius’ records and Arild Hammerø’s debut album.

Reaction

  • 6/6 “a debut album that sounds downright grand and, pardon our French, fucking awesome.” – Groove.no
  • 5/6 “a mountain plateau filled with violent rhythms and sudden turns… The album grows with every spin” – Gaffa.com
  • 5/6 ”Mountain magic! Atlanter makes their debut with a blast, and equal parts of discipline and playfulness. “ – NRK P3

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Her Royal Harness - 'a romanticist and cathartic take on synthesized pop'

Album release: The Hunting Room by Her Royal Harness
Release date: 15 July 2013
Listen: on official website 

Her Royal Harness is the conception of Norwegian songwriter Helene Jaeger, described as a romanticist, catharsis driven take on genre-synthesist pop.  

The project came into being soon after Jaeger encountered London producer-instrumentalist Dylan Long in an internet music forum, a meeting which at the time quickly turned into an argument. However, the two had a lot in common, kept talking and gradually sensed that their two contrasting approaches to making music combined to make something distinctive and emotionally potent.

Having worked out some early songs in collaboration, the two got in touch with US mixer Justin Gerrish (Vampire Weekend, The Strokes ++) via a chance e-mail, and were happy to discover that he was into working with them. Their first, self-released experiment ended up being play-listed on national radio, leading to key festival gigs and a period of being courted by a major label.

By that point, however, the pair had grown disillusioned with their initial songs. Dropping the material and taking a different approach thematically and musically, they retreated from the world for a year to write and record their debut album.

Pushing a variety of influences through their own filter - southern gothic writing, Metroplex techno, Holland-Dozier-Holland, early rock'n'roll, Solid Gold-era Gang of Four, Echo and the Bunnymen, Baroque classical music, an obsession with the late 1980s Eventide H3000 effects unit... the two approach making pop music from the anything goes, boundaryless position. 

According to Jaeger, “The Hunting Room” is a record about “someone not quite at home”, chronicling a series of attempts at breaking through restrictions, searching for meaning, trying to get a reaction from an unresponsive environment. 

On the origin of the moniker "Her Royal Harness" Helene says "From the time you are born, people around you continually attempt to define who you are. That's one way of looking at the harness." 

Musically, the album sees a range of expression: pitched down ¾ time techno laments, plucked film score strings played through 90s boom boxes, Mellotron choirs and hip hop bass lines, pummeling rock beats and post punk rhythms all firmly anchored in clear melodic structure and Jaeger’s Quixotic, impassioned delivery. 

Part of the rationale behind Her Royal Harness is to channel the deep-reaching expressive potential of pop, says Jaeger. “We see it as perhaps the greatest thing about pop music, its ability to move people, and that’s something we aim for – to make something that emotionally, even physically makes you react.” 

“The Hunting Room” is due out 15 July 2013, produced and recorded by Her Royal Harness in their basement project studio in Bergen, Norway and mixed by Justin Gerrish at DNA Studios NYC. 

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