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Jordsjo: Pastoralia

Jordsjo is a duo from Oslo Norway, made up of multi-instrumentalist Hakon Oftung and drummer Kristian Froland. The Scandinavian prog scene has a proud heritage, and with their third release Pastoralia, JORDSJO appear to be quite capable to make their mark on the scene.

Jordsjo shift seamlessly from one passage to the next, developing various motifs, but never hanging around long before the next change comes, keeping the listener engaged. The short and jazzy “Prologue” opens the CD, one of a few short compositions mixed throughout. I absolutely love how the band mixes the instrumentation, guitar and flute playing solo’s in unison, and especially the clarinet gives the band a unique flavor. The title track gets very intricate, often reminding me of Gentle Giant and Gryphon. Plenty of acoustic guitar is found throughout the CD, something I would love to hear more bands use. “Fuglehviskeren” is a terrific showcase for the bands acoustic leanings; it’s quite short, but very creative and gives off a gypsy vibe to my ears. I will say that I would rate this album even higher without the vocals, which I am indifferent to. Honestly, I’d love for this band to be all instrumental. As one might expect, the Mellotron makes a number of appearances, I find its most effective use during “Beitemark”, creating some real tension in the song. “Vettedans” is another wonderful short instrumental, a medieval approach in this one, which again reminds me of Gentle Giant. The piano shines on the intro of the closing track “Jord III”; instrumentally this track shows how adept the band is at creating atmosphere and layering multiple instruments into a cohesive track. The only drawback is the spoken word narration, which I find a bit distracting.

I think fans of Anglagard and Wobbler will really connect with Jordsjo, and that puts them in lofty company. I would love to hear a little more aggression and fewer vocals, but honestly, those are minor complaints about an otherwise intriguing album.

Track List:
1) Prolog (2:17)
2) Skumring I Karesuando (7:37)
3) Mellom Mjodury, Marisko Og Sostermarihand (6:30)
4) Pastoralia (6:05)
5) Fuglehviskeren (2:32)
6) Beitemark (6:02)
7) Vettedans (2:02)
8) Jord III (10:36)

Added: April 28th 2021
Reviewer: Eric Porter
Related Link: Band @ Bandcamp
Hits: 504
Language: english

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