The number of the Faroese musicians, that have visited Russia with a concert, is constantly growing, so, it wasn’t hard to collect in one text the reviews for the albums of those, whom I’ve got acquainted with personally. I didn’t even need the help of Guðrið Hansdóttir, Eivør Pálsdóttir and Kristian Blak to write it.
Flux «Flux» (2003)
Marius «The Sky Is Our Home» (2006)
Before the release of his first bestseller («Recreation», 2013), Hans Marius Ziska has been looking, through trial and error, for his unique sounding for 10 years. Listening to the album “Flux” (2003), one can know Ziska only by his immature voice, which is hiding in the ingenuous alternative rock.
Three years later, Hans Marius, under his own name, corrects the mistakes, and, having teamed up with new musicians (including Heðin Ziska Davidsen and Knut Haberg Eysturstein), records «The Sky Is Our Home». The “ugly duckling” Flux becomes the “white swan” Marius. The results of this magical transformation are 10 potent songs, among which we can distinguish absolutely lovely tracks: the melancholic «Waves» and the striking «Straight Lines». Having discovered all the tones of his voice, having found the way to produce the most beautiful melodies from his heart and soul, Ziska is converting the still present alternative sounding into more restful colors. It’s even strange, that after such a powerful album he was silent for 6 years.
Tjant «Tjant» (2003)
Tjant «A Beam Of Light» (2007)
The guitarist Heðin Ziska Davidsen both performs in a great number of projects (from rock to disco) and records solo albums under the name Tjant. He released a fantastic album «Røtur Og Trø” in 2016, but before listening to it, I recommend everybody to get familiar with the two preceding ones: «Tjant» (2003) and «A Beam Of Light» (2007).
The debut album Tjant is a fresh jazz without the ethnic cover of Yggdrasil. Even the line-up is the same: Anders Hagberg, Mikael Blak and Brandur Jacobson. One won’t find in this clipped version of the “tree of life” much performance by Heðin. Most of compositions are concentrated on the Swedish musician Hagberg, masterly playing the flute and the saxophone. The Davidsen gives his guitar free range and produces distortion only in the 12th track of «Tjant», as if saying, that the sweet jazz is only the beginning.
«A Beam Of Light» shows, that it has nothing in common with a three-year-old album. Heðin Ziska and his band can play jazz conditionally, but the guitar-part, that became leading, made a shift towards fusion. Unfortunately, Tjant couldn’t liquidate the jazz standarts completely. Brutal «The Miracle Of Birth» echoes only «Síðsti Sangur». As for the rest of compositions, tempered by the Ólavur Olsen’s trombone, they need more drive. At the same time, «Røtur Og Trø" gives too much of it. Now, you’re ready to hear it.
Benjamin «Benjamin» (2009)
Benjamin «Ghost With Skin» (2011)
Before walking to the wild side and start playing rock music, Benjamin Petersen performed only jazz and sang very little (you can hear his voice only in the ninth track «Come Down»). Most of compositions from the album are pure fusion, enriched with the expressive guitar play (from airy and acoustic to dynamic and electric tones) and voice of Eivør, singing the vocalizes in «Father», «Fjalla Funk» and «Homage To My Love». The first Petersen’s solo work is very cheerful and well balanced. The brilliant acoustic sketch «Cantus For Life» follows the hit «Um Jacques», stuffed with brass music, and the next composition «Longing» fills the room with soft jazz sounds. And this dynamics lasts till the last second of the CD, I even don’t know, what we can expect from him ahead.
I even won’t try to compare «Ghost With Skin» with the debut album. Having visited the Indians of Paraguay, Benjamin Petersen changed his style completely. All the nine compositions on this LP are a real rock’n’roll from the Atlantic shores with a bit of bluegrass (all because of Benjamin also plays the banjo and mandolin). There’re no bad songs in the album. Still, «Ghost With Skin» is the strongest of them, and it also gave the title to the album. The only minus is the voice of Petersen, which seems bleating sometimes. The curios fact is that in the «Perfume Variations» (2015), musician gets rid of this trouble.
By the way, in spring of 2015, Benjamin Petersen performed most of the songs from his «Ghost With Skin» at the concert in Moscow. The concert was really great. Here’s evidence:
Allan Tausen «Unknown» (2013)
The mix of the Greenlandic Inuit and the Faroese spirits in Allan Tausen isn’t spicy, but soft. In autumn of 2015, the musician participated at 5 concerts in Russia both as the bass-guitarist of the band Marius Ziska and the solo performer. He sang songs from his yet single album with a markedly moderate title «Unknown». Fortunately, the austerity of the cover can’t be applied to its contents. Allan’s warming and gentle voice is heard in 11 distinctly different compositions, most of them I want to listen to many times again. As for the lyrical parts, Tausen performs them best of all. I bet, that the tender «To Be Is To Live» and the magic «In Me» will stay in your walkman for long days.
Angelika Nielsen & Thomas Loefke «Norðan» (2014)
Angelika Nielsen appeared on the Russian stage together with the band Yggdrasil. In the leading musical project of Kristian Blak, she both plays the violin and writes music occasionally (you have a possibility to enjoy her talent of a composer listening to «Dímun»). In 2014, together with another musician, Thomas Loefke, Angelika recorded an amazingly beautiful album «Norðan», where the violin makes a elegant duet with the harp (composition «Sunnan» is the best evidence of it) and the magic begins. The crystal melodies seem to be coauthored by Nielsen and Loefke with the Nature itself. Listening to them, I can imagine myself leaving the close apartment and flying to the Faroe Islands, where I can seclude myself with the sleeping Atlantic Ocean.
Reviewer by Anton Kovalsky.
Translated by Irina Boiko.