Nils Økland, Sigbjørn Apeland: Glimmer

The contemplative, folk-inspired Glimmer isn't jazz but might appeal to fans of Jan Garbarek, Ketil Bjørnstad or Mette Henriette


Some while ago, having enjoyed violinist Økland’s left-field, rock and distortion-fed Lumen Drones I reviewed his subsequent, wide-ranging 2015 ECM release Kjølvatn and caught the band a little later at Southampton’s Turner Sims Hall. With, a.o., Rolf-Erik Nylstrøm (s) and Mats Eilertsen (b) on board it seemed only natural for that review to appear, as it did, in JJ.

Økland’s compatriot and fellow improvising participant here, harmonium virtuoso Sigbjørn Apeland, played on Kjølvatn. But that doesn’t necessarily mean, of course, that a review of the present Glimmer belongs in JJ.

As the press release tells us, this music takes as its starting point folk music from the Haugalandet peninsula of western Norway. Further: “Apeland’s collection of pieces from local singers who have helped to keep the traditions alive forms the basis of the repertoire here, along with original compositions. The latter range from pieces written for a film about Lars Hertevig, the great Norwegian landscape painter of the 19th century [a coastal sketch of his graces the CD cover] to music inspired by modernist composer Fartein Valen.”

One piece – Myr [Moorland] – features sustained and strongly driving ostinato rhythms. Elsewhere, a contemplative rubato mood prevails in distilled yet psychologically expansive pieces of gravely beautiful inwardness, yearning and reflection. Jazz it isn’t – but it would be a strange jazz enthusiast of the music of, say, Jan Garbarek, Ketil Bjørnstad or Trygve Seim, Karl Seglem or Mette Henriette who would not want to spend some appreciable time engaging with such exquisitely wrought aural poetry as is to be relished here.

Skynd Deg, Skynd Deg; Gråt Ikke Sore Pike; Valevåg; O Du Min Immanuel; Glimmer; Hver Er Det Godt Å Lande; O, Venner; Se Solens Skjonne Lys Og Prakt; Reven Sete På Setet; Myr; Malurt; Demper; Rullestadjuvet; Nu Solen Går Ned (47.52)
Økland (Hardanger fiddle, vn); Apeland (harmonium). Etne, January & March 2021.
ECM 484 1962