2004 saw the completion of one of the most ambitious artistic projects any Norwegian debutant has ever embarked on: Thomas Dybdahl’s already classic “October trilogy.”
In an almost unprecedented surge of creative superfluity he released one record a year; in October need it be said, each of such quality that he won the love and admiration of pretty much the whole Norwegian population. People responded with heartfelt gratitude for being given such a source of autumnal warmth: “The great October sound.” (Also the name of his live band.)
Adding to the exquisite temperance of the music, the whole project also appeared pleasantly void of all the belittling aspects of commercialism; rather than a personal quest for limelight, it all seemed so natural and effortless, as if this young man had a fountain of his own which he could draw on indefinitely. And there is no doubting that Dybdahl is a unique musician: writing, playing, singing and producing himself. In total artistic control he is a Norwegian “Prince;” one of the wooden house in the leafy garden, or perhaps the tiny apartment with the broken heater.
From his low-sun-luminous solo career other projects followed, and without much ado, without applying any force at all it seemed, he rose like incensed smoke to the shimmering peak of Norwegian popular music. In exceedingly quiet fashion he became one of the few most important artists in Norway; still young and still all about music and nothing else. Soon enough other countries followed, and Dybdahl has acquired an enchanted following across Europe. The trend was completed by the recent American release of the third of his trilogy albums “Some day you’ll dance for me New York City.”
Presently the illustrious Mr. Dybdahl is out with his first "post October" outing. The first sign of a rupture is the month of release, September. And further, Science is a title that seems to suggest a definite break with the genre he invented, “The great October sound.” However, how much of a break it is seems a matter of dispute. Dybdahl himself has expressed relief that Science is not a record meant to constitute a part of a larger scheme and that this has entailed a sense of liberation and freedom to explore different musical realms. And doubtless his experience has been free-breathing and suave, for such is the record’s mood. But this was arguably also the case with the October trilogy. So the question is how much of a break it constitutes. The impression of the new record is certainly not “scientific,” rather, Norwegian critics seem to find anew most of those traits that has made Dybdahl a household name: warmth, a sensation of dimmed lustre and sleepy beauty. Still, as it shifts seasonal focus towards late summer it might be said that Science is more diverse and indeed has more of the emotional unpredictability of summer than the narrower spectrum of fall. Dybdahl includes soul elements and danceable stuff too. There is definitely a hint of lighter clothing to Science, and a perhaps a worriless ease has replaced some of the intimate beauty of his former outings.
In early October Dybdahl embarks on a substantial tour of his core European market: France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany and Denmark.
Universal Music Norway (Record Companies)
Thomas Dybdahl, Artist