Nils Økland Band - Kjølvatn - ECM 2383



Hard on the heels of Nils Økland’s critically-lauded collaboration with rock players Per Steinar Lie and Ørjan Haaland, here is a new album from Norway’s Hardanger fiddle master, introducing a new quartet. Kjølvatn makes a quieter musical proposal than Lumen Drones, but a richly creative one, with intensities of its own. 

Once again, Nils’s music confers the authority of tradition, even as he creates new forms, drawing on a rich world of experience. “Over the years,” says Nils, “ I have moved between a wide range of genres from classical violin to Balkan folk, rock, jazz, free improvisation and Norwegian folk music.” I've always composed my own material inspired by all these expressions. In early baroque music – another musical style I let myself be inspired by – it was common to have sketches as the basis for making new music. In this band we work with methods influenced by this”.

On Kjølvatn most of the music is from Økland’s pen, but each band member contributes his unique perspective to the arrangements. The album was recorded at the Østre Toten stone church outside Lena, in Norway’s Oppland county. The church has long been noted for its excellent acoustics, also factored into the music-making here. The space’s natural resonance helps to bring out the details and subtleties of the writing and improvising and is responsive both to the floating, drone-based pieces (“Blå Harding”, for instance) and those with edgier dynamics (“Fivreld” or “Start”).

International release of Kjølvatn follows Norwegian release by three months. The album was rush-released in Norway in March, in time for a run of concerts in the North. Both album and live events were very positively received by the Norwegian press.


Leading Norwegian daily paper Dagbladet spoke of “seductive tones from a magical landscape” and “music that is both physically present and vision-inducing”. Aftenposten praised the “interaction of a formidable band. The violins and fiddles of Økland have the central focus, but the other four musicians create the most enchanting settings and detours.”

For more information on Nils Økland’s projects and concerts visit his homepage: