Scent Of Soil (Hubro Music; 2012)
Tore Brunborg (sax)
Rune Nergaard (bass)
Petter Vagan (guitar)
Kirsti Huke (vocals, keyboards)
Gard Nilssen (drums)
Swinging in a completely different direction for the Intersection, we were sent the self titled debut from Scent Of Soil and I have to say it is spellbinding. Created by vocalist, Kirsti Huke and Torn Brunborg (an original member of the legendary group Masqualero), the group explores a unique combination of folk, indie and jazz that is stunningly rich and heavenly.
Kirsti Huke's vocals are caressing and passionate. It gives similarities to early Anja Garbarek, Sarah McLaughlin and the more notably comparison, Ricki Lee Jones. The lovely rich voice combined with the ethereal sound of the group conjured up memories of a hybrid His Name Is Alive/Azimuth/This Mortal Coil. But those are only touch points for those who need a descriptive starter, Scent Of Soil is something altogether different and worth every dollar, pound, yen, pesos or euro you decide to spend.
While the opener, "Breeze" feels like Ricki Lee Jones and Nick Drake in harmony, it signals that Scent Of Soil will be a beauty description of the genres led by dynamic vocals and majestic musicianship. The piece is originally built around a poem by Robert Frost and illustrates a longing and desire to find an answer to sorrow. The quintet show a more indie sound on "Ocean." Vagan and Huke present an uplifting vibe with rising guitar lines. Nergaard and Nilssen add the groove while Brunborg's notes come in delicately and provide a romantic overtone to the piece.
"Ease" gently drifts along from its opening notes and Huke's sultry vocals until Brunborg, Vagan and Nilssen come crashing through in the middle with shimmering dark beauty. Huke returns to lay the piece softly upon conclusion. "Trondervise" is a more ambient piece that floats along led more by Brunborg in a bold yet understated performance.
"Go Charm!" is probably the closet you may get to rock on this set. The band rise with bashing drums, wah wah guitars and operatic vocals. It's a crash sounds that glistens with maturity and luster. The title track is somber and bluesy, yet appropriate for closing out this texture and diverse session. It's soft and climbs quietly like an elevator up the highest of skyscrapers.
Scent Of Soil is an astounding, well balanced and genre-bending debut that truly deserves your attention. While each of the members of Scent Of Soil have their own groups and established careers, here's to hoping that this supergroup of sorts is here to stay. Highly Recommended.