Exposé Online banner

Väsen — Keyed Up
(NorthSide NSD6080, 2004, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2005-03-01

Keyed Up Cover art

After many years as a quartet, Väsen returned to their original trio configuration for last year’s Trio (previously reviewed). And they apparently liked it so much they decided to do another recording without percussion. These fifteen tunes were recorded live in the studio with only a few takes each, and there’s a great mix of arrangement and spontaneity that really shines through. Just as Scottish and Irish musicians rely on jigs and reels for their instrumental tunes (dances really), Swedes seem to base everything on the polska. I must admit that for a bunch of tunes supposedly built in the same form, there is an astonishing amount of variety, from quiet and meditative to hyperactive things seemingly impossible for dancers. All three musicians contribute compositions, but you’d have to be a more discerning listener than I to tell the difference without reading the credits. The interplay between Mikael Marin’s violin or viola and Olov Johansson’s nyckelharpa provides most of the delights, skipping lightly on bouncy melodies, sometimes in unison, sometimes breaking into harmonies. Roger Tallroth’s guitar is cast mostly in supporting roles, though in the way of great folk guitarists, he can make the backing as interesting as many players’ leads. Sad to say, this is merely another solid entry in Väsen’s catalog, but not a bad place to start if you’re interested in Swedish folk.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 31, 2004 releases

Related artist(s): Olov Johansson, Väsen

Latest news

2019-04-24
Help MoonJune Bring Great Music to Life – Like many music lovers around the world, we’ve been thrilled and amazed to hear the recordings that have been released by MoonJune from sessions at La Casa Murada in Spain. Such label stalwarts as Mark Wingfield, Markus Reuter, Asaf Sirkis, Tony Levin, Dusan Jevtovic, Vasil Hadzimanov, and many more have gathered in various combinations at the studio to produce some of the most creative music in recent years. Now, label head Leonardo Pavkovic is offering a compilation, La Casa Murada - MoonJune Sessions, Volume One, as a fundraiser for upcoming sessions. » Read more

2019-04-10
The Pineapple Thief to Tour North America – November and December of 2019 will see The Pineapple Thief bringing their music to Canada, Mexico, and the US, and famed drummer Gavin Harrison will be on board. The band has been touring extensively in Europe, but North America will be new territory for them. » Read more

2019-03-25
Scott Walker RIP – Noel Scott Engel, better known as Scott Walker, was one of the most intriguing and enigmatic musical figures in the second half of the 20th Century. His strange career started with The Walker Brothers, an American pop group that featured no one named Walker and no brothers. After moving to England in 1965, they had a series of hit singles. Scott's solo work started with Scott in 1967. Starting in the 80s, his work took an increasingly avant-garde turn. » Read more

2019-03-20
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more

2019-03-03
Seaprog 2019 Lineup Almost Complete – The Seaprog festival in Seattle is scheduled for June 7-9 this year, and they've announced their lineup of performers. The revitalized Trettioåriga Kriget will cap Friday night, perennial favorites Marbin are on Saturday, and District 97 will finish off the fest on Sunday night. In support, they've booked a stellar variety of artists from the Northwest and around the world, including EchoTest, Markus Reuter and Trey Gunn, and the live debut of the amazing Troot project. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Garden Wall - The Seduction of Madness – I'm not certain if this band is named from the lyric of Genesis' "I Know What I Like," but that could begin to explain the myriad of styles the band employs. Garden Wall has a metalish rhythm section...  (1996) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues