Nils Økland and Sigbjørn Apeland Glimmer reviews

UK, Swiss,  German and French reviewers are fascinated by the new album Glimmer by Nils Økland and Sigbjørn Apeland

It’s very rare to encounter music as beautiful as this, that can be returned to again and again and release new pleasures every time. Nils Økland, the violinist and specialist of the Hardanger fiddle (whose extra resonating strings add a constant drone) has been making remarkable music between the borders of folk, jazz and contemporary composition/improvisation for years now. […] But this duo with the harmonium player Sigbjørn Apeland, with whom he grew up musically and has played with countless times, is something else. Over fourteen shortish pieces often derived from traditional singers in the folk tradition of western Norway (sometimes collected by Apeland himself), together with a few originals including music jointly composed for a film about the nineteenth century painter Lars Hertervig, the harmonium’s wheezing bellows and Økland’s keening fiddle conjure up an austere, hard won aesthetic of grounding drones and minimal, almost reluctant melodic filigree. […] Most importantly, this is an album whose emotional key remains fairly constant throughout, communicating a very ambient-friendly, meditative and rather melancholy atmosphere that, while not for the faint-hearted, is extraordinarily effective at setting up a musical mood. And when it finishes playing, you can just start again. Phil Johnson, London Jazz News

Dies ist Musik von überwältigender Melancholie. Was, wie wir von Földényi wissen (oder, ganz anders und aggressiver, von Thomas Bernhard), nichts mit sentimentaler Selbstvergessenheit zu tun hat, viel aber mit einer verschärften Welterfahrung durch Verdunkelung; mit einer existenziellen und keineswegs gefühligen Trauer über den Zustand der Welt und das Los des Menschen und allen Lebens. Diese Musik ist so etwas wie Fado unterm Polarlicht. Peter Rüedi, Weltwoche


Vor Jahren begaben sich Nils Okland mit seiner Hardangerfiedel und Violine sowie Sigbjorn Apeland mit Klavier und Harmonium auf die Insel Lysoen, um an den Komponisten Ole Bull zu erinnern. Jetzt erweitern sie das Feld, forschen nach alten Gesängen ihrer eigenen frühen Jahre, aus  Nord-Rogaland und Sunnhordland,  in abgelegenen Regionen West-Norwegens. ‘Glimmer’ ist der Titel von Cd und Lp, also, ‘Flimmern’, ‘Funken’ – fast verlorene Melodien werden vor dem Vergessen bewahrt. In die Musik von ‘Glimmer’ fliessen auch Stücke ein, die von Gemälden des Landschaftsmalers Lars Hertervig inspiriert sind. Im Umgang mit alten wie neuen Stoffen bleiben die Zwei äusserst erfinderisch. Michael Engelbrecht, Deutschlandfunk

«The appropriately titled ‘Glimmer’, from Nils Økland (Hardanger fiddle and violin), and Sigbjørn Apeland (harmonium), is an evocative journey through the traditional landscapes of Norwegian folk music. Much of the album is related, in different ways, to the area of Western Norway where Økland and Apeland grew up, Nord-Rogaland and Sunnhordland. The enchanting music created by the duo echos a feeling of natural beauty, hope and resilience; beautifully crafted from Apeland’s collection of pieces from local singers who have helped to keep the musical traditions alive. Combined with original compositions, the album flows gracefully from beginning to end, bringing to mind a harsh, rugged, yet beautiful land of musical storytelling and lasting friendships. […] Recorded at ABC studio, Etne, Norway, and mixed at Bavaria Studio, Munich, ‘Glimmer’ is produced by Manfred Eicher. The sound is stunning… in a way that suits the instruments being used. It’s like the music comes out of the earth manifesting itself by way of two musicians channelling its power and importance, thereby retelling old and new stories through the captivating music they play. Mike Gates, UK Vibe

Comme une parenthèse dans l’agitation du monde, un éloge de la lenteur tissé par deux Norvégiens, le violoniste Nils Okland et le claviériste Sigbjorn Apeland. Minimaliste et planant, un voyage beau et envoûtant. Patrick Labesse, Le Monde