(NB – Nils Økland UK live performance December 13th)
With ‘Lysning’ – in English a clearing or forest glade – the violin and Hardanger fiddle virtuoso and composer Nils Økland has created a landmark recording that counts as his masterpiece thus far. It is also the synthesis and culmination of a long career working between different forms – folk music, art music from the baroque to free improvisation, jazz, rock, whatever – where Økland, who is now 56, has continued to pursue the same questing approach irrespective of the restrictive rules and boundaries used to separate different historical or generic styles. Listening to ‘Lysning’, everything suddenly becomes clear: Nils Økland plays Nils Økland music. Like a very select few contemporary masters – one thinks perhaps of Jordi Savall, Björk, Jan Garbarek – he has become his own genre.