Jordsjø – Salighet (2023)

Jordsjø - Salighet (2023)
Artist: Jordsjø
Album: Salighet
Genre: Symphonic Prog
Label: Karisma Records
Year Of Release: 2023
Quality: FLAC (tracks+.cue)

Tracklist:
1. Invokasjon (2:52)
2. Sankeren (7:22)
3. Salighet I (6:17)
4. Salighet II (6:10)
5. Ura (6:39)
6. Danseritualer fra Jordsjø – Prosesjon & Ekstase (2:55)
7. Stjernestigen (10:21)

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Personnel:
– Håkon Oftung / vocals, guitars, flute, keyboards
– Kristian Frøland / drums & percussion

RMR management bestowed themselves with a project. One that will – apparently – never happen. And this is to cover the best cuts of the mighty Jethro Tull. The forerunners of Progressive Rock, annoying escape artists running from the steely clutches of the guardians of ‘proper’ rock ‘n’ roll of times long past. And it’s a mighty task given that Ian Anderson’s artistic loins are so large. You’ll have trouble finding the right words – and enough time doing it.

Thus, we were mighty surprised to find some sort of clone without being one. Jordsjø‘s Salighet immediately caught our attention with its penchant for old-style prog, full of refreshing melodies and harmonies, astonishing polyphony, flute-filled passages, and snazzy guitar parts. Oh, and did I mention it? They master the ubiquitous Hammond sound in a way that won’t make me grind my teeth down to dust. A refreshing mix of the aforementioned Tull and Genesis in their prime. Or a downturned brother in arms of Wobbler, to quote a more modern band for once. And where the latter are loud and feisty in comparison, Jordsjø are quiet and thoughtful. A somewhat geeky tour-de-force that showcases how retro-prog ought to sound like. Just sayin’.

The record sports jazzy passages, high on well-known tropes the transverse flute already embarked upon in the past. Somewhere, sometime, decades ago. And you’ll find snazzy guitar solos that are so ’70s that we almost slapped the baggy old blue jeans and bright orange-brown shirts on our scrawny behinds again. The record is full of pensive ambient moments, like the juicy conversations of outstanding acoustic guitar and the flutes on offer. Furthermore, thoughtful folksy noodlin’ about the soundscape suddenly appears from nowhere. And it (almost) never overstays its welcome (Stjernestigen, for instance). But suddenly the whole chebang breaks down into dreamy chanting of the Håkon Oftung / Kristian Frøland team. In short the record sports some truly eclectic offering of a quiet complexity. Albeit one that may not be to everybody’s taste, it does test your patience after a while.

That said, the only other negative on this record is the extensive meandering about the soundscape. It’s right on that thin red line just before the abyss of noodly overkill opens up. In other words, some more restraint may have gotten Salighet a crisper allure. On the other hand, most of those quietly scratchy musings do have a somewhat calming and hypnotic effect. And that’s yet another positive on that mighty platter of prog delights.

Interestingly, whilst there ain’t no weak tracks on Salighet, the record gains some serious prog notoriety towards the end. Danseritualer fra Jordsjø – Prosesjon _ Ekstase, for instance, positively transported me back to times when the aforementioned Genesis ruled supreme. Whereas Stjernestigen pretty much contains the essence of this here piece. So, if you’re short on time, allow yourself some 10 minutes of Jordsjø-esque indulgence nonetheless. This is one of the tracks where the band beats Wobbler at their very own game.

So, did Jordsjø‘s Salighet invent anything new in the progosphere? Absolutely not – and that’s perfectly alright. As the band so succinctly put it, the record is – and I quote – “…unfashionable and unpolished…” which is – come to think of it – deliciously true. But they revived old vibes in a way seldom seen these days. A top-notch, technically outstanding, quality prog piece and one of the most remarkable ones of 2023. And Loki must be laughing, the band just impressed the wizened old prog warriors over at the RMR review desk. And that means something, take it from one who’s been there.

Respect.
~ rockmusicraider

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