'Folke Nikanor' - 'Bottenviken' (album)
I don't like to make excuses or point fingers of blame at people who've created even greater delays to our already highly inefficient music writing process (well other than Moddi, Kalandra, Rami Vierula and all of Major Parkinson obviously...), but the lack of Album reviews in November and December is entirely the fault of Swedish musician 'Folke Nikanor'. His album 'Bottenviken' has remained so firmly sat in the midst of my 'Album Reviews' playlist that I've simply not wanted to listen to anything else. But I guess I need to move on slowly, so hopefully writing a review and getting everyone else to start listening will start the process of getting to other music for a while..
We featured 'Folke Nikanor' in Autumn last year when he released his debut single 'Under Stenarna (Below the Stones)', and the whole instrumental album is a captivating and hugely enjoyable 'romp' through the hills, forests and mountains of his native county of Norbotten, all influenced by the likes of 'Chilly Gonzales' and Swedish pianist 'Jan Johansson'
If you listen to the opening track ’E4an två mil’ you'll immediately get the idea of the album, a jaunty folk inspired melody played out on the piano, accompanies by an assortment of synth and electronic sounds - albeit slightly in a 'Cyberpunk' style, which somehow gives the music some interesting and unusual contrasts. We've written about 'Under Stenarna' before, with a laid back lilting style that I really like, whilst 'Skymningslat' is a beautiful melodic waltz, where I particularly like the 'counter melody' that has an element of mystery and intrigue to it.
I managed to slip 'Boeves Psalm' on to our family Christmas playlist, because for some reason it does have a festive feel, especially when all instruments come together at the climax after 2 / 12 minutes. 'Davids Stenar Om Våren' is equally interesting and although the melody and piano variations in 'So Long Altersbruk' don't appeal to me as much, 'Bråddjupet' is a rhythmical delightful, I love the way the tune develops during the track as well as the Double Bass contribution. The album finishes with the more stately 'Vals Runt Rökrutan', with a long lyrical and slightly melancholy melody - it allows the music to be wrapped up in a more reflective mood.
This is a relatively short album of 8 tracks, but actually that works really well, and maybe an hour of 'Folke Nikanor' would be too much. These are charmingly conceived and performed mini compositions packed full of melodies inspired by (and a lovely tribute to), the natural beauty of Norbotten, a place which will now always stick in my mind as a result of this album. Probably my most listened to 'new' album of 2018, I really hope that everyone else gets as much enjoyment out of 'Bottenviken' as me.
Nordic Music Review 8.5/10