Hearing NORTH play at Cafe Retro this February, I was reminded of what I believe is a special quality of music composed in Northern Europe – the seamless connection between art and nature.
I had personally never felt nature so innately impregnated into music until I first visited a Scandinavian country and listened to their music while gazing at the eerie Nordic landscape. It was then I realised most of us get so used to the urban environment that we forget we actually belong in nature. It’s basically the purest source of therapy and inspiration.
I think that’s what the guys from NORTH are betting on as well when they compose their music. Martin Brunbjerg, Lasse Jacobsen and Benjamin Nørholm create and play jazz tunes that, if you close your eyes, carry you to the shore of a lake in a forest glade, at dawn, in winter. The elegant swing they keep throughout is just as calming as the subtle waves the water would make as it reflected the first rays of light. Their melancholic melodies remind me of Olafur Arnalds’ music, but NORTH adds a very fresh and tight rhythm, the result of 5 years in which Martin – the bass player – and Lasse – the drummer – have been playing together and creating what now sounds like a pretty amazing synergy.
Take “FRAMES”, for example, my favourite track from their newly-released album and the one which closed the first part of their set at Cafe Retro. Its pulse feels so modern, yet so organic – it paints the sonic picture of the animals in that forest, at that dawn, as they start getting out of their dens and bring the woods to life. Okay, maybe that was just in my head. But I’m pretty sure most people in the bar disappeared inside their own stories and landscapes as they were listening to NORTH that evening at Cafe Retro. It’s not easy to bring to silence a bar packed with city dwellers on a Friday evening, but this jazz trio did it. It’s even more impressive when you consider how young they are. But that also means there’ll be many more occasions for them to create such musical journeys. For that to happen, make sure you show them some support and follow them on their Facebook and YouTube pages. You can also listen to their new album, YONDER, on iTunes or Spotify.
All pictures taken by Sabina Fratila