Fire

Fire

“Fire” is one of many guitar pieces I’ve entertained myself with, since my teenage years.

Many versions and improvisations have been recorded over the years.

This version, was recorded live in my living room after a couple of beers (on a nice summer evening).

After the guitar, I grabbed the cello and improvised three tracks on top of it, and that was that.

I make it sound simple, but the structure, lyrics and melody was worked on for many years.

It’s a song that might be “challenging” for some, but I really like it.

I love its atmosphere, and its attitude, as it is pretty resilient and stout.

 

Ishtar Rise

Ishtar Rise

“Ishtar Rise” is the second and final part of the “work” I started on with previous release: “As We Speak”.

Huge parts of the improvisations was recorded live with bass and drums.

It’s always fun to do something different with a traditional instrument. Earlier this year I used a banjo to play sitar sounds, and the real sitar as a Russian plucking instrument.

This time it’s the mandolin that had to go east, getting dirty playing first fiddle in a middle-eastern impro situation. (I’ve always liked to use the mandolin on eastern stuff, but rarely get the opportunity to do so).

With me on the recording:

Bjørn Tore Kronen Taranger: Drums

Audun Havåg: Bass

 

As We Speak

As We Speak

“As We Speak” is the first song in a two-part piece. The final part will be presented next week.

The song was recorded with a mandriola (which is a 12 string mandolin, with bass strings)

I bought the mandriola when I was around twelve, from an old couple that had it for display at their cabin.

I remember they told me that it was very old, and that no one knew where it came from.

It’s age shows.

But it has an amazing sound! It’s playability is the best I’ve ever encountered from an instrument like this, and it’s intonation is superb.

But it has sadly become quite frail over the years, and I don’t dare to use it for anything else than studio work these days.

Even though I’ve used many mandolins over the years, I prefer to take off four strings on the old mandriola and use it as a mandolin when possible, because of it’s rich and vibrant sound.

 

The Run

The Run

This song was composed and recorded for one of my solo projects called “Ninth Project”.

(I had nine different projects at the time, this was number 9).

I recorded enough material for an album, and contacted producer Yngve Sætre, to help me finish up the songs, in his “Duper studios”.

While we were working on the mixes, my main band “Woo” broke up, and I decided to make a band of this “Ninth Project”, which I called “Ninth”.

The vocals were re-recorded with the new “Ninth” vocalist Stein Hevrøy, and sent to be mixed in LA by producer/mixer Andrew Scheps.

After a while, Stein quit the band and the vocals had to be re-recorded again, this time by Per-Helge Lande. The song was again sent to LA, and mixed by Andrew.

After a while Per-Helge quit as well. I tried 4-5 different singers after that, before I shut down the band.

So, it feels kind of good to bring these songs “home” in this project as I was originally singing them myself when I recorded them.

It is also one of the main reasons for doing this project in the first place.

So many songs, carefully made (through blood sweat and tears) for bands that, soon enough, broke up. Which is quite normal in this business.

Anyway, it felt right to release them under my own name and with my own voice. That way, the music will not again be disrupted by singers with cold feet.

When that is said, I‘ve always loved the social side of music most. It’s what drove me.

I never really wanted to do anything solo. I love the camaraderie, laughs, arguments, achievements and support you get with a team, or simply from a bunch of good friends.

Life’s about people being together, in the end. Friendship is more important than musicality, even in the music business.

 

Raised, Embraced & Erased

Raised, Embraced & Erased

This versjon of the song “Raised, Embraced & Erased” started it’s life on a tour-bus in the US. Recorded on a battery driven micro studio, on the way to the next show (somewhere in Ohio).

Guitars and drums has obviously been re-recorded (several times) after that trip, but it’s all performed onto that original recording.

The roads are so straight in the US that for us Norwegians, the trip (from the east coast to the west) felt like standing still.

Try touring Norway, with our fjords and mountains, and you’ll see what I mean.

 

Eastern Crossing

Eastern Crossing

“Eastern Crossing” is the second part of a larger work that’s inspired by the similarities in traditional music; from the south-east of Europe and all the way through the northern countries.

As always, the song are recorded with real instruments, but its extra fun when the instrumentation requires more “unconventional” instruments, such as sitars and orchestral percussion (like timpani and huge drums).

But the most ambitious part of the recording surfaced when I decided to record the whole string arrangement by myself.

The string section contains 49 cellos, 4 upright basses and a couple of violins (with 2 to 4 microphones per instrument, it became a pretty large mix). Fortunately it wasn’t necessary to edit these tracks too much.

I also wanted the strings to sound a bit like they do on old eastern recordings that I have in my collection). Meaning, not too sterile or “classical” in sound.

 

Quadral

Quadral

The song "Quadral" is the first part in a suite of songs that "lingers" in eastern music.

By that, I mean music from East-Europe and Asia.

Over the years I find it more and more jaw-dropping; how similar these traditional music forms are to each-other and to our western music as well.

Kinda obvious of course, but the more I listen, more pieces falls into place in an infinitely big and detailed picture.

It was fun to record these songs, as it gave me an excuse to pick up some of my favourite instruments. Like the sitar, eastern strings, flutes and even, applying Estonian choir elements.

The production was mostly improvised (over the song structure), so I have many versions which are pretty different, in both speed, statement and “ethnicity”.