Flukt / Spill/ Norway
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2L (www.2L.no)

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Norwegian music has a built-in bounce to it, and this trio takes advantage of that in this fun release. Using stripped-down combinations of fiddle, Hardanger, accordion, and electric and acoustic bass, they ramble their way through fourteen spirited tracks. There is an impishness about their sound that makes this an easy listen. Even on the minor-mode tunes they refuse to take themselves too seriously, adding crafty dissonance and tricky rhythm changes. While the character overall is staunchly Norwegian, they do travel afield a bit. "Reel-potpourri" sandwiches an original tune by fiddler Sturla Eide Sundli between two Celtic reels. "Det er nu tid at vaage" has a vaguely Cajun lilt to it, but unfortunately guest singer Heidi Skjerve's quasi-jazz vocals don't add much. She fares much better on the moody "Dagen viger" and the gentle closing track, "Nestekjśrleik." On the former, Sondre Meisfjord's bowed double bass introduction is spellbinding. On the latter, Skjerve channels the spirits of Joni Mitchell and Shawn Colvin without doing a slavish impression of either. Each track on this release flows into the next with the ease of conversation between old friends. Sure, the subject may change abruptly and often, but it's never jarring and it rarely ends in fisticuffs. - Peggy Latkovich

Audio (c)(p) 2L Norway, used by permission

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