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

2020-02-18
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more

2020-01-21
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more

2020-01-15
Carlos Alvarado RIP – Carlos Alvarado, pioneering composer, multi-instrumentalist and pioneer of progressive rock and electronic experimental music in Mexico, passed away January 14th, 2020 at age 68 after a two year battle with cancer.  » Read more

2020-01-12
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more

2020-01-12
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

John McLaughlin - Thieves and Poets – The solo acoustic works of guitar icon John McLaughlin have been in a world class category for the past thirty-five years. Thus finding a suitable compatriot in former student Yan Mareze with a...  (2006) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues