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Leagus: Flora Eallin

This is another new find for me. Here we travel to Sápmi, Norway where we find the duo of Herborg Rundberg (vocals, piano) and Kristian Svalestad Olstad (vocals, guitars). Their project is Leagus which began in 2013 while Herborg was attending the Tromsø Conservatory, obtaining her Masters in Rhythmic Music. As it turned out, just two years prior Olstad received his Masters at the very same school. Once their stars aligned, Leagus was formed and their debut album Lea Aigi was released in 2016, followed by Naimaka in 2019. For their 2023 release titled Flora Eallin, the band was commissioned by the North Norwegian Jazz Ensemble to create music for a ten piece orchestra. The result is twelve pieces of experimental music touching on minimalism, jazz, electronic, and down tempo rock. The duo utilizes improvised and composed methods, creating some unique music in the process.

I should note my promo copy did not provide a list of instruments, but the music is built around a healthy dose of electronics and percussion, very rhythmic and generally taking a nuanced approach. The duo’s minimalistic nature can be heard in the first track “Kime” beginning with piano and percussive sounds, with the electronics adding experimental touches. There is a note of melancholy here, which is quite pervasive throughout the album. With “Flor”, the sound is more abstract, very rhythmic, having a slight chaotic bent with trippy beats and sounds, the duo’s experimental side is showcased. On “Vann”, the piano snakes its way through a soundscape of trippy hip hop beats and sounds, the surroundings getting weirder and weirder as the song progresses. Angular guitar flourishes further deepen the sound palette. The balladic “Tendril” follows, featuring the vocals of both musicians (in Norwegian) as well as saxophone, creating a dreamy soundscape, very low key and mellow.

The recording is well produced, and obviously great care was taken to craft these sounds. There is nothing haphazard about this album, and although it is a challenging listen and patience is required, the rewards are there for the taking.

Released on Is It Jazz? Records.

Track Listing:
1. Kime (3:34)
2. Flor (6:04)
3. Vann (3:06)
4. Tendril (5:47)
5. Nihkui (5:30)
6. Vind (3:23)
7. Pripyat (5:35)
8. Geo (2:32)
9. Mykorrhyza (4:25)
10. Eallin (6:38)
11. Sol (2:19)
12. Hyperion (5:12)

Added: February 19th 2024
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Band @ Bandcamp
Hits: 163
Language: english

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