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

2018-07-09
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more

2018-07-01
7d Surfaces Happy Rhodes Back Catalog – We've covered singer Happy Rhodes before, both for her solo work and recently with The Security Project, but her 11 albums have been hard to track down. Until now. 7d features high-quality downloads of all her releases, and several of them are also available on CD. » Read more

2018-06-25
Fred Chalenor RIP – We have news of another sad passing in the world of creative music. Bassist Fred Chalenor, whose creativity featured on albums by Tone Dogs, Caveman Shoestore, and many more, died on June 23, 2018 after a long battle with Alzheimer's. Tributes have poured in from the many musicians and fans whose lives he touched. » Read more

2018-06-13
Jon Hiseman RIP – One of the great drummers of the rock era has died. Jon Hiseman was a veteran of such ground-breaking groups as Colosseum (I and II), Tempest, John Mayal's Bleusbreakers, and was a founding member of the innovative large band United Jazz + Rock Ensemble. » Read more

2018-06-05
Koenjihyakkei Seeks Funding for New Album – It's been quite a few years since the last new studio album by the amazing Koenjihyakkei. Now they are preparing Dhormimviskha for worldwide release, and they're asking fans to pre-order via a Kickstarter campaign to help it happen. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

A.C.T. - Silence – I'm new to this Swedish quintet, but have to say I'm mightily impressed. In a nutshell, these guys have come up with a prog rock take on what Queen were doing in the mid 70s. Other reference points...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues