Reviews RCD2113

Post-rock / jazz blend in sound and vision from artful Norwegian woodsmen. A cover of Dire Straits´ "Brothers In Arms" might seem an unlikely choice for this Norwegian post-jazz quartet, but their maudlin, blue-in-green sketch, complete with sawtooth synth solo, is actually a minor triumph. From the grand piano, Morten Qvenild helms his group through calm waters and thunderheads (check the weather fronts of "How To Get Acquainted" and the romantic melodrama of "Torch Fishing". Their roomily recorded electric-acoustic blend is a subtle and enticing mix of pastoral, countrified jazz and post-rock - "Whiteout" and "Kung Home" are like Wilco if they were signed to ECM. 4/5.
Uncut, Rob Young (UK)

Now on their fourth album, pianist Morten Qvenild´s quartet play low-volume music with a "jazz" lineup, but their ambient soundscapes don´t really fit into a jazz context. The two vocal-led tracks, "Afraid" and "Slow Down", recall "Spirit Of Eden" -era Talk Talk, while the howlingly unfashionable Dire Straits "Brothers In Arms" is transformed into a ruminative post-rock epic. This live set was also filmed, in beautifully grainy sepia (the DVD comes with the album) but the sounds are so detailed and well mixed that it rarely sounds like a gig. 4/5.
Uncut, John Lewis (UK)

In The Country are nominally a jazz quartet, but divert into Sigur Rós shoegaze ecstasies or skewed prog-rock narratives as easily as vibraphone doodles, their meandering instrumental take on Dire Strait´s "Brothers In Arms" actually taking in all of the above. Often it's brilliant, occasionally it drags, but - especially if you immerse yourself in the 60-minute arty concert film version on the included DVD - crucially it is always precisely itself without apology.
The Word (UK)

In The Country could roughly be described as a contemporary jazz piano trio - except they seem intent on challenging that description at every turn ... "Whiteout" has a laidback feel good country feel - a kind of snapshot, travelogue Americana - while tunes such as "Afraid" carry hushed, intimate vocals that reveal the influence of Icelandic post-rock balladeers Sigur Ros.
Jazzwise (UK)

Morten Qvenild is one half of the duo Susanna and the Magical Orchestra. The pianist devotes the rest of the time to this exquisite trio, which cleverly combines snippets of jazz, rock and folk into elegiac instrumental songs. Whoever was never allowed to marvel at this live should catch up with this great concert film that was recorded last year. A special surprise is the unusual cover version of the Dire Straits classic ”Brothers in Arms”.
KulturSpiegel (DE)

As the magical one-man orchestra behind the enchanting singer Susanna, you could know the pianist Morten Qvenild as one who slags and slows down more or less well-known pop songs. With his band "in the country" he continues to write his story in eight songs that oscillate between quiet moments and sweeping eruptions. One could hear the climax of the CD in Mark Knopfler's “Brothers in Arms”, because it reveals Qvenhild's turning, turning and reinterpreting what is known, if the rest of the world would not rise to a pathetic size.
Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung (DE)

The writer of these lines now sees jazz as if he were old acquaintances, who have become completely alienated over the years. You keep your distance. If you happen to meet, you change the side of the street to avoid boring and agonizing conversation that won't help anyone. Whether this is personal ignorance or whether the genre is actually quite at the end is of secondary importance. In any case, the quartet In the Country impressively shows a way out of the misery in which jazz has successively maneuvered into it for a few decades (which, in my opinion, is also very eloquently testified by freiStil). The album “Sights and Sounds” combines the playful, sometimes harsh elegance that modern jazz ensembles can certainly dispose of (for example the tragically ended EST ) with the sound experience of modern pop music (such as Sigur Rós or Radiohead). A creamy mixture of repetitive patterns, finely braided sound garlands, elegant expression (Keith Jarrett in more relaxing moments) and a spherical, remote mood, ideal night music, as I said. The edition consists of CD and DVD, on the latter there is a wonderful concert film that enhances the mood of the music.
Freestyle (AT)

After three studio albums the first live CD of the Norwegian jazz band 'In The Country' is finally released. This offers a selection of songs from all previous records and three brand new tracks. Including a great interpretation of Mark Knopfler's “Brothers in Arms”. Jazz fans watch out: this year the Norwegians are touring Germany.

Combining music with other media seems to be a continuously expanding trend. In The Country are a long established group in the jazz scene. Her last album “Whiteout” was a hit. They have produced three studio albums and have done a series of tours through Norway, Europe and the United States. So what now? A concert album. But from a creative band with ambitions for something new, something different can be expected more than a classic concert album. In The Country, video expert Claus Arthur engaged Breda-Gulbrandsen and did something that could also be described as an overlong music video. Black and white pictures of nature, of people, houses, objects and of course the musicians on their instruments accompany the jazz sounds. The pictures carry the emotions of the music - or vice versa.
Nordis (DE)

Founded in Oslo in 2003, the quartet by pianist Morten Qvenild has developed into an experimental laboratory on the border of jazz, folk and pop, which continues with “Sounds And Sights” the path of careful crossover. Supplemented by a DVD with concert and studio recordings, In The Country presents itself as a pleasant majority in the context of advanced folk jazz songwriting.
Audio (DE)

The Norwegian pianist Morten Qvenild, who usually joins the ethereal Susanna And The Magical Orchestra, has copied a lot from the great Keith Jarrett and has woven motifs from jazz, rock and folk into elegiac instrumental songs with this quartet, which range between gentle hovering and thundering crescendi Unleash emotional power. For example, you can hardly get enough of the unconventional cover version of the Dire Straits long-running hit “Brothers In Arms”.

Her for the høykvalitetsformat, med et stort kamerateam som har gjort opptak på tre conserver. Claus Arthur Breda-Gulbrandsen ser ut til å være hovedmannen bak the imponerende films, so he en symbiosis av konsertopptak og annen creative video art. Klipping og produksjon he engasjerende, og til tider svulmende pompøsiteten og tårevåte inderligheten i musikken fungerer sterkere som et bakteppe til det visual. Morten Qvenild står for komposisjonene som beveger seg fra melankolsk pop til folk gjennom tonetette improvisasjoner - og når harmoniene trår i jazzterritoriet, drar Andreas Mjøs' gitar det mot americana. Lydehandling og improvisasjoner he deres sterkeste kort, og i oppbygningene jobber de tett og med et særegent lydbilde som verken er country, jazz eller rock, men står i alle tre landene velidid. 5/6.
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