Scandinavians seem to have a real knack for aestheticism and minimalism whether in architecture, design, gastronomy or in this particular case music. It seems like the philosophy of “less is more” just runs through their veins while still capable of very controlled intensity. I hope this generalization isn’t deemed inaccurate or insulting as this wasn’t my intention. But I am familiar with the work of chef René Redzepi at Noma in Copenhagen as well as chef Magnus Nilsson at Fäviken in Åre and these are the people who came to mind when I stumbled upon the Finnish quintet Oddarrang.
Before I go any further, let me warn you that Oddarrang makes music, very good music, but calling that music jazz would be far-fetched. Oddarrang’s sound is primarily ambient and melds post-rock and electronic music while also featuring tinges of classical chamber music and jazz, primarily because it’s core of Lasse Sakara on guitar, Lasse Lindgren on bass and Olavi Louhivuori on drums is augmented by Osmo Ikonen on cello and Ilmari Pohjola on trombone. This band isn’t for everyone. You’ll probably either hate it or love it. But I believe their sound is worth exploring.
Oddarrang released their fourth album entitled Agartha, just last week on UK label Edition Records, taking its name from the legendary world that is said to reside in the Earth’s core. The 40 minute five-track album is beautifully paradoxical alternating moments of stern contemplation and elegant meditation with tumultuous elation and head-banging climaxes. For a foray in the band’s mystical universe, check out the official music video for “Mass I-III” the album’s single. If you like what you hear, stream Agartha below in its entirety.
Sébastien Hélary co-founded Nextbop in 2009 with the objective of introducing modern jazz music to a younger generation of fans. Aside from music, his other main obsession is food, particularly ramen and other Japanese delicacies.