scandinavian posts

Hannah Schneider

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012 by Julija

danish pop // vocal electronica

Following the recent international success of Oh Land and Fallulah, it’s safe to say that Danish songstresses take the current electronic-infused pop tendencies beyond the too common synths-plus-strings clichè. Copenhagen-based Hannah Schneider’s sophomore album Me Vs. I (2012) combines classic singer-songwriter tradition, perfect pop sensibility and Nordic electronic soundscapes. In the standout track “Me Vs. I”, featured below, Hannah’s mesmerizing vocals are emphasized by endless layers of electronic sounds and sample-collages.

Mesmerizing Nordic soundscapes.

Hannah Schneider – Me Vs. I

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Miriam Bryant

Friday, July 27th, 2012 by Julija

pop // soul

Miriam Bryant’s debut single “Finders, Keepers” (2012) might label her as a potential Sweden’s answer to the British soul invasion. However, while vocal comparisons to the critically acclaimed Adele are definitely due, Miriam’s songwriting is more in line with Paloma Faith’s jazz glamour with an added touch of Amanda Jenssen‘s sing-along soul-pop. “Finders, Keepers” is a truly emotive ballad that evolves around dramatic piano and strings, and Miriam’s powerful vocals. She’s one songstress I’ll be keeping a keen eye on in the future.

Strong, emotive songwriting.

Miriam Bryant – Finders, Keepers
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Miss Li

Monday, March 26th, 2012 by Julija

swedish pop // cabaret-jazz

Swedish pop is flourishing and the world can’t seem to get enough. At Aurgasm, we always want to give you more. Chances are, you might have heard Miss Li & Amanda Jenssen’s adorably catchy “Bourgeois Shangri-La” featured in Apple’s iPod nano campaign back in 2009. Here’s another opportunity to enjoy the groove. Miss Li’s latest release Beats & Bruises (2011) certainly shares current Swedish pop tendencies with such artists as Hello Saferide, Maia Hirasawa, Veronica Maggio and Laleh. Yet her vocal delivery, particularly in the standout “Forever Drunk”, brings to mind the velvety torch-style of Shivaree.

Late-night bittersweet serenades, delicious pop melodies.

Miss Li – I Can’t Get You Out Off My Mind
Miss Li – Forever Drunk
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Monday, February 13th, 2012 by Sjoerd

quirky soul // electronicKinny press photo

Kinny is a dame with personality & soul, originally from Canada, she now finds her home in scandinavia. Trained as a classic vocalist, she released Forgetting to Remember with electronic music producer Espen Horne in 2006, showing off the match between her unique vocal stylings and Horne’s original production. A few years later Kinny saw her debut solo album Idle Forest of Chit Chat produced by a multitude of producers (Quantic, TM Juke & Diesler, a.o.). With that album, the seeds were planted for a new collaboration with production duo Souldrop. They produced two tracks on Kinny’s first, of which the Darondo sampling ‘Water For Chocolate’ is included below. After battling and overcoming a severe OCD-induced breakdown following a traumatic incident, Kinny has now released her second solo album Can’t Kill a Dame With Soul produced entirely by Souldrop. ‘Up/Side/Down’ is a good example of what you’ll find on the album, showing how she deals with her OCD through musical and lyrical expression.

Unique Soul with OCD (meaning Obviously Cool Dame).
Kinny – Water For Chocolate
Kinny – Up/Side/Down
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Agnes Obel

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011 by Julija

chamber folk // singer-songwriter

Danish-born and Berlin-based songstress Agnes Obel possesses a natural sense of tone and melody as well as a truly faultless voice. The beautifully crafted somber folk melodies of her debut album Philharmonics (2010) linger in the air and stir the heart. While Agnes vocal delivery brings to mind the long-time Aurgasm favourite Ane Brun, the album ranges from romantic quirkiness of Joanna Newsom to echoes of Debussy. European readers might recognize the bright melody of “Just So”, as the song was used by German telecommunications company and played all over Northern Europe ever since.

Soft piano and haunting vocals.
Agnes Obel – Just So
Agnes Obel – Riverside
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Jóhann Jóhannsson

Thursday, July 7th, 2011 by Julija

icelandic composer // contemporary classical

The cinematic nature of Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson’s work has led him to work on countless soundtracks for documentaries, shorts and feature films. And In The Endless Pause There Came The Sound Of Bees (2010), composed as a soundtrack for Marc Craste’s award winning animated film Varmints, embodies ghostly choirs, gentle strings, lyrical piano, all wrapped in the barely perceptible electronic processing that Jóhannsson is known for. Largely orchestral and choral, it is recommended for those of you, who enjoy the electronic synthesis of Fennesz, Icelandic melancholia of Sigur Rós and ethereal minimalism of Arvo Pärt.

Painfully beautiful.
Jóhann Jóhannsson – City Building (Alternate Version)
Jóhann Jóhannsson – Rainwater
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Wednesday, November 17th, 2010 by Julija

avant-pop // glam folk-pop

By the end of 2010, it’s safe to say that British female-fronted pop projects strongly dominated the year’s musical landscape. Florence Welch’s charming extravagance, Natasha Khan’s (Bat for Lashes) dark-ish melodies and Marina Diamandis’ sparkling pop debut received critical acclaim on both sides of the pond. Fallulah, a.k.a. Copenhagen-based Maria Apetri, certainly reflects the current musical tendencies. While her debut album The Black Cat Neighbourhood (2010) offers quirky melodies and somewhat dark, richly layered soundscapes comparable to the British diva invasion, she adds a rather unique touch of Balkan folk to her sound. The Black Cat Neighbourhood displays Fallulah’s strong songwriting skills, rich instrumentation that includes everything from folky strings, ukulele and glockenspiel to irresistible whistling and hand-claps along her expressive, distinct vocals.

Quirky and glamorous pop gems.
Fallulah – Only Human
Fallulah – Use It For Good
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Wednesday, April 7th, 2010 by Julija

contemporary orchestral // epic post-rock

Known for his truly unique voice and the use of a cello bow on guitar, Jónsi Birgisson as a frontman of Sigur Rós is no less than a post-rock icon in the music world. The comparison of his solo effort to the ethereal sound of Sigur Rós is unavoidable. While Go (2010) carries those familiar enigmatic soundscapes and hypnotic arrangements, Jónsi takes a somewhat joyfully naïve approach for his solo work. “Go Do”, the first single and album opener, evolves from layered vocal textures and graceful flutes to pulsing percussion. Go ranges from soaring, fast tempo compositions to melodramatic post-rock arrangements. It’s just too good not to mention.

Powerful and vibrant orchestration.

Jónsi – Boy Lilikoi (stream only)

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Josefine Lindstrand

Friday, March 26th, 2010 by Julija

vocal // jazz

With the flood of music coming from Sweden, Josefine Lindstrand’s debut might be undeservedly left unnoticed. You won’t find much about it on the blogosphere, but by no means mistake not: Josefine is not a beginner in the music world. Swedish singer and pianist, Josefine, has previously collaborated with Django Bates and Uri Caine, as well as indie pop artist Maia Hirasawa and lent her vocals on two of Efterklang’s records. “Send Out The Singers”, from There Will Be Stars (2009), features a oh-so-lovely marimba and gentle whistlings that make this track irresistible. While “Jewels” carries tender vocals, elegant trumpet and piano arrangements recalling late-night cabaret jazz.

Delicate Nordic jazz notes.
Josefine Lindstrand – Send Out The Singers
Josefine Lindstrand – Jewels
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Marit Larsen

Sunday, December 27th, 2009 by Julija

folk-pop // acoustic

Some of you might be familiar with Marit Larsen as a former member of Norwegian teenage duo M2M, known for their hit “Don’t Say You Love Me” (1999). Following the duo’s break up Marit has shifted from the sugary sweet pop to a subtler and more mature kind of songwriting. Her second solo effort, The Chase (2008), is all about the rich yet unpretentious arrangements and memorable melodies. Featured below, “Steal My Heart” is one of Marit’s slow paced numbers and a great example of her orchestral pop crafting. The song evolves around the gorgeous strings and overall delicate instrumentation that carries Marit’s soft vocals.

Sweet melody to melt your heart.
Marit Larsen – Steal My Heart

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