by:Larm means ”city clamour”. After ten years of beating around the bush, which, it has to be said, was much of the point, the festival and music convention has finally arrived in Oslo. In many respects Oslo is the only city in Norway, for unlike what many Norwegians like to think city status is not something that can be bestowed, it is a matter of size, pulse and infrastructure. And the reason for bringing by:Larm to Oslo is simply that it is really the only form that can hold the content.
Oslo, “musical capital of Scandinavia” according to the organizers of by:Larm, has more venues than all of the other cities (towns?) which have hitherto hosted by:Larm put together. So notwithstanding the grandness of the above statement there is no need to doubt that this year’s event will be one of unprecedented size and public appeal. And if we are to believe the organizers by:Larm has become the most important international showcase for Nordic artists.
Anyway, we take the liberty of recommending some Norwegian acts that will make noise under the upcoming musical conflagration.
Alog, with the Sheriffs of Nothingness: Thursday 23.30, Sentrum Scene
Alog; if the word apocryphal ever applied to music it is with this duo. It’s weird, uncanny, sometimes beautiful and always impossible to wrap one’s mind around. Pitchfork wrote of their record amateur: “It is an accomplishment to make a record and have your audience wondering exactly what’s happening and how it was put together.”
Alog will be joined by the Sheriffs of Nothingness, another duo, which, predictably, improvise on Hardanger fiddle, violin and saw…
Alog on the web:
Diskjokke: Wednesday 00.00, VG-teltet (club:Larm)
Thursday 01.30, Stratos
We recently wrote of this new disc joker:
An apprentice of such names as Hans-Petter Lindstrøm, Prins Thomas and Rune Linbæk Diskjokke, aka Joachim Dyrdahl, has taken the trademark “humane” Oslo disco one step further by creating what critics – all delighted - have called “fire-place house.”
-I always build the music on the basis of dancing and danceability, says Diskjokke, and my focus and drive has always been the live club context. But when I think the songs become too cold and sterile, melodies start popping-up.
The result is very soft and cosy; perfect for not going out at all. It is an innovation, no less, in the field of house-disco-trance. In his own words it’s “trance, only not.”
Check out Diskjokke here:
Dylan Modegreen: Thursday 21.30, Fabrikken 2
Saturday 20.30, Sentrum Scene
Swedish radio proclaimed: “The best Swedish indiepop right now is made in Norway –by Dylan Modegreen. Not everyone will flock behind the banner of Swedish indiepop perhaps, but this is most certainly very soothing and beautiful music.
Dylan Mondegreen on the web:
The Grand: Thursday 00.00, Rockefeller
On The Grand: As the name indicates The Grand is not a band out to spin gentle aural webs or reach us in hushed voices from some introvert place of sorrow and despair. Nay, this is a playing band, if there ever was one, and words of a supergroup are not too grand at all.
Ida Maria: Friday 00.30, Sentrum Scene
So much has been said about this one already, now is the time to check her out live. Ida Maria is on a roll; really, internationally. At the time of writing she is touring the UK causing a lot of stir. Her album is due soon. It is perhaps the most anticipated of the year in Norwegian pop music. Coming back to by:Larm is coming back to a setting she has formerly ignited.
Get to know Ida Maria:
Madcon: Thursday 23.00, VG-teltet
Embraced by all at home, for the likeability of character and the hooks of their hip-hop, this duo is hoping for international renown. With two recently pocketed Norwegian Grammy awards, the monster hit “Beggin” spilling over into the ether of neighbouring countries, and not least the brilliant album “So dark the con of man” as the substantial musical foundation for all the buzz, it is no telling where Madcon might be going.
Moving Oos: Saturday 00.00, Cosmopolite
For some bands great song writing and delicious, big fat live performance seems effortless and intuitive. This impression is a clear indicator of at least two things: that the musicians involved are brilliant –always a prerequisite for the ease in question- and that the music they play and the context they find themselves in is something they enjoy in a truly heartfelt way. Moving Oos is just such a band. Norway’s new live favourites and champions of the golden era of mid-sixties to mid-seventies big, soulful and funky rock, remind more than a little of The Black Crowes –in the sense of exquisite song craft, big and dynamic arrangements and engulfing groove.
Check out the Moving Oos:
Shining: Thursday 00.30, Sentrum Scene
Saturday 21.00 Dog A
Shining, a young, vital, hard hitting and original quartet, was formed by two members of celebrated jazz act Jaga Jazzist. On their four albums they've moved between complex riffing, filmic soundscapes, jazz, classical and modern composition. People dropped many names when trying to place Shining on the musical map, hearing elements from The Mars Volta and Slayer via King Crimson and Mahavishnu Orchestra to Henry Cow, This Heat, Ornette Coleman, Ligeti and Messiaen. One thing they all agreed on was the striking originality of this young group who have gone through a radical transition from starting out as a postbop jazz quartet.
Pirate Love: Friday 01.15, Gamla (club:Larm)
The band we’ve been waiting for; the saviours of Norwegian rock, have stepped fully onto the stage. Pirate Love have just released their debut album, and “Black Vodoun Space Blues” is just the record it says it is: the cure for the insidious ennui. It is black punk; a primal scream that shatters the conformity of Norwegian social democratic rock.
In addition to all the live music by:Larm also features a string of seminars aimed at industry representatives and journalists as well as the artists. The objective is to inform, exchange knowledge and not least to facilitate all the professionals flocking to by:Larm in getting the most out of the festival and each other.
The seminar program is available here: (English-language seminars and events described in english)
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