Saturday, November 5, 2011

1982 Trio

1982 Trio (group)
Nils Okland (fiddle, violin)
Oyvind Sharbo (drums)
Sigbjorn Apeland (Harmonium, Wurlitzer)

Different, distinctive and always captivating. 1982 is a trio that evolved out of three already highly acclaimed Norwegian musicians, Nils Okland, Oyvind Sharbo and Sigbjorn Apeland.

They have been on the improvisational scene for decades and have recorded a number release with each other in duo settings or with other musicians. Only four years ago did they finally band together to record as a trio.

The group's music is a combination of Norwegian folk, improvisation and atmospherics. There are elements of classical chamber music, third stream jazz and organic ethnicity that abounds throughout their work. The trio demands the listener's focus is squarely on the music, hence there are no song titles to allow you to conjure up preconceived notions of the songs origins or meanings.

1982's self titled debut, 1982 (Norcd; 2008), is a work of found ideas and movements that travels slowly but leaves indelible marks along the way. "6:42" rolls out brightly with Sharbo and Apeland practically spray-painting new colours and shapes around your ear. It's all in gentle tones that eventually moves into levitation, lead by Apeland and Okland with Sharbo improvising in and out of the piece.

"4:39" hangs heavy and infectious. Apeland's playing is like more forceful Eno circa Thursday Afternoon or Neroli. Sharbo and Okland intersect quietly on the piece but their minimalist contribution adds an addition mysticism to the piece. The epic "17:39" produces by a Cage-ian and Emerson Quartet quality. It's minimal yet full of life and spirit. You have to let your ear settle into stoic melodic melody before being full engulfed. A wonderful and forward thinking debut.

It wouldn't be until 2011 that 1982 would return to these fertile grounds (after a series of other projects) with Pintura (Hubro Music; 2011). "10:38" explores similar folkish territory but with more depth and richer structure than before. Okland's violin sound inspired and swirls with creative movement. Sharbo delivers a number of lovely touches, strokes and clangs that while improvised are vibrant intersections to the piece. 

"6:02" feels like a suite with all the appropriate tempos (allegro, andante, adagio). They are subtle but for me they are there. Distinct and well balanced, the harmonics elevate and carry you in a joyous manner.

"3:19" and "3:52" both sheds a different light on the trio. They are heavy pieces, "3:19" even having a bit of a backbeat thanks to Sharbo's pulsating kit. Apeland and Okland explore and extend some wonderful exchanges that have a touchingly Nordic while still providing an open adventure for the listener. "3:52" closes quietly but unexpectedly for me. I think it will leave you hanging on wanting more as well.

I have been absorbed with these two records just as I have been with Equilibrium who may be on a similar path as 1982. 1982 are a completely different trio. While working in the same sphere as other European musicians; they are balancing classic traditions and improvised themes to a perfect end.

This is beautiful work from a trio that may get together only occasionally, but every opportunity is worth the time for you to listen. Ranking as one of my favourite albums this year. Highly Recommended.

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