JORDSJØ - Pastoralia

Jordsjø - Pastoralia

8 songs
43:41 minutes
***** ***


So far I haven’t had the honour to review Jordsjø’s music, but I have been fairly familiar with their sound due to recommendations I got from streaming services. According to their label, Pastoralia is the duo’s third album, but depending on how you count, it might as well be their sixth already. Fact is that over time the two musicians have been working hard on evolving their music orientation, landing somewhere between romantic progressive rock with an early seventies vibe and a pastoral (ok, that adjective just had to be used here) folk vibe. Like in the past, Jordsjø prefer to make concise albums. In the case of Pastoralia, we only get four regular vocal tracks, one longer instrumental and three short instrumentals that work as intros or interludes. The entire album is therefore already over after three quarters of an hour, which is short for a progressive rock album, but don’t we all prefer concise albums without any unnecessary lengths over self-indulgent epics that risk to bore you over their one hour plus lengths?

Pastoralia begins with a prologue smartly titled Prolog, offering flutes, guitar, drums, organ... thus giving straight away an impression of what to expect. Skumring I Karesuando continues like that with vintage sounding progressive rock, with the folk elements adding a fantasy flair that reminds me of Bo Hansson’s album inspired by The Lord of the Rings, although Jordsjø sound clearer and more transparent and also have vocals, whose wistfulness perfectly fit the music. Mellom Mjødurt, Marisko og Søstermarihånd shows that the Norwegian duo has found its sound and is not ready to overly experiment. There’s discreet mellotron happening in the background, the flute is more upfront, lots of acoustic guitars… well, everything you need for a good, old-fashioned folk prog song. Pastoralia the title track is a bit more straightforward with its catchy melody and concludes the album’s first half.

The second half begins with the short instrumental Fuglehviskeren which is performed on acoustic guitar, acoustic bass and clarinet, if I am not mistaken. Breitemark is once again a more typical track, before we get with Vettedans another short instrumental, this time a very folky piece that has a certain medieval vibe. The album ends with the ten-minute long Jord III which apart from a few spoken part moments is another instrumental. I especially like the guitar playing that reminded me of mid-seventies Mike Oldfield.

Norway currently has a very exciting progressive rock scene, and while Jordsjø maybe neither have the over-the-top exaggeration of Ring Van Möbius or the catchy appeal of Meer, they still are a force to be reckoned with. Their songs may not come with melodies that you catch yourself singing in the shower, but they are quite the masters of arrangements, making sure that their compositions are filled with enough details in order to get you to listen to the album repeatedly. The four regular tracks have already been pre-released as singles, but it’s the whole product that should give you a fair impression of the pastoral beauty of the duo’s new album.

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