Nils Økland is around long enough to mark his presence on the European and worldwide music scenes. That is for many reasons but two most distinguished are: his instrument, Hardanger fiddle, which of he is the true virtuoso. And his remarkable approach which makes his music immediately recognisable to those who experienced that sound even just one time.
I could compare him in that regard comfortably to Matthias Loibner, sensational Hurdy Gurdy performer whom I reviewed here earlier.
Nils also plays a violin and viola D’Amour with an equally skilful way, but what really matters here is his musical imagination which goes far beyond the folk music he is usually identified with. One doesn’t need to know at all about his classical music experience or roots to trace that pace and the Baroque harmony in his music.
Lynsing had been recorded with the same group which made 2015 ECM’s Kjølvatn project. More of that, it was even recorded in the same Østre Toten stone church for its specific sense of ambience and the acoustics which such a venue offers. It is clear then that carrying on with the musicians and space well acknowledged it can only bring all to another level. In case of top class performers that this band represents.
An opening Drøm is a wonderfully open and dreamy folk tune. It is fresh and clear like a first breath of the fresh air through the just open window at the early morning, when a fog still hides the view, but life coruscate already with the full glam in your wide-open eyes.
Following Lynsing is even more dance and full of melancholy and devotion for the beauty outside or inside, doesn’t matter, it is a worship that one can sense in every note coming.
Flukt, brings the break to this idyllic landscape. With Mats Eilertsen gentle Bass walk counting the tune and the lament of the fiddle it goes up to the climax to decay gently and fades into silence.
Skygger is my favourite here, but the choice is tough as they are all beautiful and each one holds its own strength. It is here when the reverb of the church adds to the performance vastly. Each note has a different pace. It all breaths like a life organism rather that sounds like one the sound. So organic that it merges with the thoughts in your head and turns into one contemplation.
Blámyr continues in the same mood exploring the Depth even deeper, but it reminds me more the admiration I remember from the Saint Colombe’s music. It is full of loftiness which brings back to my memories wonderful landscapes from congenial Alain Caorneau movie Tous les matins du Monde brilliantly framed with French Baroque music performed by Jordi Savall and his Hysperion XX super star group. The music one can listen to the end of the world and one day more.
I would be nothing but barbarian if I would have stolen from you the joy of discovering this music for yourself. Every note, every line is like healing nectar here. Pure essence of the shire beauty. Immerse yourself in it deeply, open your eras wide and just breath. Breath deep and smile.