September 5, 2007
Oystein Sevag - Bridge
Produced by Oystein Sevag
All music composed by Oystein Sevag
The London Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Terje Mikkelsen
Oystein Sevag - piano, flute, keyb.
Maria Sevag - violin, viola
Eivind Aarset - electric guitar
Paolo Vinaccia - drums, perc.
Lakki Patey -acustic guitar
Petter Wettre - saxophone
Ole Marius Melhus - bass guitar
Ottar Nesje - drums, percussion
Sergio Gonzalez - lat. percussion
Zotora Nygaard - didjeridoo
Bendik Hofseth - saxophone
Sonia Loinsworth - overtone voice
Uli Pfleiderer - lute
Stefan Lilig - indian percussion
Ulrike Clara Vogt - recorder flutes
Miriam Rudolph - violin
Beatrix Hulsemann - viola
Ute Petersilge - cello
What makes Bridge unique is how seamlessly it blends neoclassical instrumentation and compositions with the dreamy ambience of space music plus choice elements from Rock, WorldBeat and Jazz using a constantly shifting palette of 68 musicians that include a complete string orchestra, Grand Piano, acoustic, electric and bass guitar, various flutes, recorders and saxophones, Indian, Latin and regular percussion, and synthesizers.
With languid and circular melodies as unapologetically gorgeous as bassoonist-turned-New-Age composer Bill Douglas; with misty atmospheres reminiscent of landsman Jan Garbarek; with the Metheny-esque opening "Seed" sustaining an endless arc of development suggestive of Pat's concluding Offramp track; with Grand Piano interludes recalling Raphael's celebrated Music To Disappear In II; Bridge condenses classically-honed sensibilities into bite-sized capsules full of magic and romance, perfect for listeners who prefer the adagios of most symphonies to their sizeable remainders.
Now add ambient percussion grooves, throat singing, soaring e-guitar solos, didjeridoo growls, lyrical cello ballads, smooth-Jazz saxophone against string chorus while envisioning Claude Monet's blue bridge spanning the famous lily pond in Giverny. Today's Bridge is similarly impressionist to the core, albeit hip to the cosmopolitan influences which, in Monet's days, would have been represented by the pleasure quarters in Paris, now upscale night clubs.
Heartfelt, buoyed on silence and space, Bridge also delivers on pure sonics. Recorded in Sevåg's own Siddhartha Studio as well as Abbey Road, various German and Norwegian studios and on location in the Ebringen Berghäuser Kapelle, all instruments exhale with elongated sustains, Øystein's Grand Piano is velvety voluptuous, his wife's violin surrounded by cavernous spaciousness, the bass guitar taut yet warm. In short, an album of many happy returns, for both your raw listening pleasure as well as proud occasions of audiophile camaraderie when showing of truth of timbre and ambient retrieval becomes -- temporarily -- more important than following the embedded emotional threads into utter oblivion.
Like what you hear, buy it! And support the artists that really need it!