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ER ("IS")

Albumcover for plata ER av Kristin Skaare

"Er" ("IS") is an instrumental record with Kristin Skaare's grand piano in the center of everything that happens. The production has enough space for the listener to bring some of their own into the music. So many recordings are now being made to shoot through in radio. This is a production that goes a slightly different way. It is mixed by Kai Løland whom has taken care of the dynamics and omitted the use of compression and other techniques to pack and saturate the sound image.


"I have entered a quiet room, sought to hear what arises in me based on a silence," says Kristin about her new project. For over twenty years, she has received regular instruction in meditation theory but does not agree to call music her meditation music. Yet she does not deny that it is meditative.

"A wonderful record"
Jan Granlie, Jazznytt

When what is, is what is, what is no longer is what is
The Bhagavad Gita
1.HER er «Skaarungen» (en låt fra albumet «VAR») på ny tokt. Det er en ny besetning ombord

When Kristin Skaare came up with her previous recording, "Var" ("Was"), a few years ago, we highlighted the superlatives. She has collaborated mainly with jazz musicians such as Jon Christensen, Bjørn Kjellemyr, and Erlend Dahlen, and the album quickly became the undersigned's Christmas favorite. On her new laser, only Dahlen is left from the previous recording. With the use of viola and violin present, we get an even more lyrical expression, and she moves even a little further away from what could previously tend to be jazz and into a more classical expression.


It starts about the way it ended on "Var" ("Was"). Skaare's own "Her" ("Here"), is a masterpiece in lyrical piano playing with an art comp. It continues with "Sommer" ("Summer"), which is just as dewy and beautiful as a summer morning can be. We almost imagine the sun trying to squeeze through the foliage in the tree outside the kitchen window while we enjoy our morning coffee. 


Skaare said at the launch of the album, that she sat and worked on the album around 22nd of July two years ago. And that it felt completely natural for her to make her version of Mortensen's strong "Til ungdommen" ("To the youth"), as a memory and the tragic events of this day. And what a version it has become! Skaare's lyrical mind shines through, and her improvisations around the melody make it almost stronger than the original.


"Ømt" ("Tender") is a nice contrast to the previous songs. It is gloomy and fits perfectly with "Til Ungdommen" ("To the youth"). And it is in this song that she approaches modern, classical music the most. As I listen, I come to think of the Estonian composer Arvo Pärt, without fully understanding why, but there is something about the mood.

At "Komme Hjem" ("Coming Home") we are in the patriotic corner. The song with the subtitle "Barndomsminne fra Nordland" ("Childhood memory from Nordland") is Skare's free version of "Å eg veit meg eit land" ("Oh I know of a land"), and she does it so beautifully that we close our eyes, then we see the Lofotveggen or the seven sisters in the background.

"Yr" ("Drizzle") is exactly what the title suggests. It's early, the morning dew settles a little tightly, as Obelix would say. It seems to be a long morning, as evidenced by the improvisations around Holländer's "Ich bin von Kopf bis Fuss aus Liebe eingestellt", which lurk in the background. Skaare has full control over the blue tones in the improvisations. She is in many places at once, but without it becoming artificial or unnatural. It's just so beautiful, so beautiful.


The cover says a little differently what the next song is called. On the back, it has been given the title Er ("Is"), while on the inner cover it says that it is song number nine, "Vår flues krike" ("The church of our fly") which is now coming. But it does not matter. The most important thing is that the music is consistently lyrical, beautiful, fun, and a health boost for a tired and weary body that has received far too little sleep in recent days.


And it's not done with this. We get "Hvileskjær" ("A Breather"), which takes us far into the forest, or out on an ice rink. Skare's accordion is like a slow, Argentine tango where it takes us through the landscape. And the whole thing is unspeakably beautiful, before "Vår flues krike" ("The church of our fly") or "Er" ("Is") we announce that we are nearing the end. If we listen carefully to the song, I think we can state that this is "Vår flues krike" ("The church of our fly"), because the buzzing of flies is imitated in the best way by the strings. Jarrett lures in the contemporary and patriotic, before Kristin Skaare and her musicians go in for the landing with the composition "Vår" ("Spring"). A beautiful, intimate, and fading ending to a brilliant record at the intersection of jazz, romance, and contemporary music. The other musicians are mainly involved in reinforcing and deepening Skaare's compositions and thoughts on this album. It is her strong play that is constantly in focus. Sometimes she moves into jazz land with small, lasting steps, which attach to the heartbeat and we are a little taken aback. Kristin Skaare has simply made a wonderful album which, together with her previous release "Var" ("Was"), will buzz and play at home all Christmas, and well into the New Year.

Five years after Kristin Skaare with "Var" ("Was") released the most beautiful album that year,the meeting with "Er" ("Is") is an
equally strong experience.

Roald Helgheim, Dagsavisen

It was with Lina Sandell's beautiful hymn "Jag kan icke rekna dom alla" ("I can not count them all") that she opened an album that was a mixture of both religious and "worldly" songs. On the new album, it is mostly her songs, but with "Barndomsminne fra Nordland" ("Childhood memory from Nordland") as a starting point for "Komme hjem" ("Come home"), which she plays solo on piano. She does the same on "Til ungdommen" ("To the youth"), as after 22. of July that year was a new national anthem. The rest are her own songs, some with small elements from elsewhere, written by a musician and composer who when she studied at the Department of Musicology, was the first female jazz student in Norway. On the album, the pianist and accordionist bring with her Karl Rønnekleiv on violin, Ole Henrik Moe on viola, and Erland Dahlen on drums, and she has written small comments on the music on the cover. Also about "Komme hjem" ("Come home") and "Til ungdommen" ("To the youth") which were recorded right after the July 22 terror. The rest was recorded last year, and in "Yr" ("Drizzle"), "Ich bin von Kopf bis Fuss auf Liebe eingestelt" appears on the road, and well inside "Vår Flues Kirke" ("The church of our fly") many will feel that the hymn "Ingen vinner frem til den evige ro", in a completely different than calm context.

This is how the musician and composer who has participated in over eighty albums, and who has a diverse career of over twenty years also as an arranger, actress, and other, takes us on a journey that fades into the beautiful "Vår" ("Spring"). And we do not need to expand the genre to include a musician who is as at home in jazz and improvised music as in the big songbook otherwise, as when she debuted with songs by Inger Hagerup on "Amoramora". For whatever genre - in the art of creating strong and beautiful musical experiences - Kristin Skaare is in a class of her own.

"Disturbingly beautiful"

Kristin Skaare let the grand piano say it: "Ingen vinner frem til den evige ro som seg ei veldig fremtrenger."

Both from the record reviews and occasionally also from the music, one can be led to believe that Kristin Skare's third solo album is made to give the listener peace. Yes, in long parts the music is calm, towards the meditative, and tangential to the ambient genre.


Ambient is music that can sometimes be perceived as background music, but which is not indifferent and is not without barbs or uncertainty.

The title track is based on the hymn: No one wins until eternal peace. The psalm is based on the words of Jesus to fight to get through the narrow door.

On the previous record "Var" ("Was") she had drum and bass. Now she is accompanied by viola player Ole Henrik Moe and Erlend Dahlen on percussion. The title track starts with the restless frictions of the viola, and the road is short to an intense adaptation of the hymn tune. Skaare has written short comments on each track.

Kristin Skaare, svart-hvitt, profilbilde, ER album

About "Er" ("Is") it says: There is power in the truth. A genuinely present moment, or just a glance, for that matter, can have the power to change an entire life forever.

July 22nd.
Although most of the tracks are Skare's own, she puts familiar melodies in a new service. "Til ungdommen" ("To the youth"), she has provided an in memoriam. The intense battle song sounds like a heartfelt complaint from her grand piano.

"Komme hjem" ("Coming home") she calls her free version of "Barndomsminne fra Nordland" ("Childhood Memory from Nordland").  "Å eg veit meg eit land" ("Oh I know of a land"). It was also recorded under the influence of the July 22 inferno. The melancholy is allowed space, and the melody carries despair, longing, and comfort.

Her keystrokes speak clearly: her music is beautiful, but without being pretty. On the track "Ømt" ("Tenderly") you can hear velvety soft touches closely followed by the insistence that makes the grand piano shrill with sound. "Tenderness also has pain in it," she writes.

"ER" ("Is") is music that touches, not numb.

Arne Guttormsen, Vårt Land

"Many people make records to reach out. Kristin Skaare hopes she can reach in, so the listener can seize a true moment."

The experienced musician believes the music on "Er" ("Is") can also stretch the momentary experience, and last for a while. On her third album, she has tried to create tones that can give reflection and peace of mind, but also power and vitality. If the record can make someone stop and notice the silence in the middle of the music, it's great. For me, silence and contemplation have become an enrichment and an important part of everyday life.


A breather. 
The previous album, "Var" ("Was"); was a look in the rearview mirror, where, among other things, her childhood and adolescence in nooks and crannies made her bring out a bunch of hymns and spiritual songs. Dagsavisen's Roald Helgheim thought it was "the most beautiful album that autumn". This autumn, the presence in the present is the main artery.

- We can experience quiet moments alone or with others. Regardless of the individual experience, it is important: To feel that you own the moment and are not in anyone's pocket. In an information society with massive pressure from all sides, she thinks it is easy to get stressed and lose yourself a little. It seems like it's a time when illusions burst and fall. Then it's smart to take a breather.

Different experiences.
Her own breathing breaks have often been taken in the company of her own soul-nurturing piano tones. It is in this quiet and melodic room she now invites people in.

- The room you describe can sound a bit private?
- It is an open room, to make room for our different experiences. I have nothing to do with defining other people's reality. Music can give people completely different experiences, also depending on the life situation.

She has experienced how the same music for some can give an experience of light, while for the others can seem dark.

- Therefore, the music on "Er" ("Is") is not set, neither for specific occasions or specific people. One person may experience the same music completely differently from time to time. We change, and time changes.


Touching music.
She recalls the word of wisdom printed inside the record cover: When what is, is what is, what is no longer is what is.

- With such a vague aspect of time, and so many experience variants, can the intention with the record seem ambitious?
- For me, it is as simple as that if someone is touched by my music, I will be happy. And it is not a prerequisite that the listener understands music.
-Why not?
- I think the melodic finds its way to the heart. Then the thread I have drawn from the demanding contemporary music can become something you hopefully become curious about. I think that combination is effective. It can also be smart to give the music some time to get into it.
- Is the new album a continuation of the hymn-influenced previous album?
- The records "Var" ("Was") and "Er" ("Is") are connected. There is no contradiction between them, and the hymns will always be a part of me. They sit in the spinal cord.

Church rooms.
As a half-northerner, it felt natural to have "Barndomsminne fra Nordland" ("Childhood Memory from Nordland"). 
A memorial program after July 22, 2011, gripped her so strongly that "Til ungdommen" ("To the youth") also became a natural choice.

- The experience did something with me, as with most others as well. It may seem that we who live in Norway came closer to each other, with all our differences.

The musician noticed how the church became a common gathering point amid shock and grief. That did not surprise her. She carries with her safe and meaningful experiences from church spaces and is happy with that foundation. Therefore, there are also hymns in her meditative room, where prayer is a natural element.

- Before, the combination of meditation and prayer could be seen as a difficult exercise, but fortunately, this is no longer the case.

Er album
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