Phonofile Nordic Music Prize

February 01 2017

Are you ready for this years Phonofile Nordic Music Prize award show? On by:Larm’s first night, we will announce the winner of this prestigious award that celebrates the album format.

Here follows the jury statement:

“The twelve nominees of this years Nordic Music Prize show the diversity of sound and attitude that the region now represents. Soul from Norway, adventurous prog from Denmark, disco from Sweden, post-classical from Iceland, psychedelia from Finland.

It’s all different, and it’s all great.

But the funny thing is that it is more difficult than usual to pinpoint exactly which country the nominees comes from. It is music of the world. But all of them are purveyors of some kind of nordic spirit. Thankfully that is a spirit that is ever-evolving and under construction. Nordic producers and songwriters are now a dominant force in song oriented, contemporary pop music worldwide. But the urge to make a huge artistic statement within the album format is still very present, as these twelve records all show in their own way.”

The 12 album shortlist has been chosen by a Nordic jury consisting of music experts and journalists from the five Nordic countries: Audun Vinger (Norway), Arnar Eggert Thoroddsen (Iceland), Niklas Elmér (Sweden), Ralf Christensen (Denmark) and Ilkka Mattila (Finland).

The final winner and special commendations will be selected by an international jury consisting of Jude Rodgers (The Guardian), Stuart Maconie (BBC), Laurence Bell (Domino Records), Jonathan Galkin (DFA Records) and Jeannette Lee (Rough Trade).

THE NOMINEES ARE:

Bisse: Højlandet (Showbisse Inc)

Bisse aka Thorbjørn Radisch Bredkjær has made 5 albums in 18 months, this being the last one. There’s kind of a plot to it: The protagonist, Bisse, is leaving this mortal coil behind in order to rise to a life above and beyond FOMO and Facebook, narcissism and materialism. He is in other words journeying to a spiritual highland (hence the title, which is Danish for the highland). He doesn’t shy away from testing the listeners, but he doesn’t shy away from pleasing them either. The music as a whole fails to fall into any category. There’s the jubilant brass expanded pop, several curveballs of imploded rock and the more than 12 minute long oceanic odyssey »Kongeegen« in which he visits the possibly oldest living being in Northern Europe, the King’s Oak in Denmark.

Cherrie: Sherihan (RMH Sound)

The Stockholm-based record label and hip hop collective RMH (Respect My Hustle) has become the heart of the hip hop and R&B scene in Sweden, with acts such as Silvana Imam and Erik Lundin redefining the language and breaking barriers for upcoming generations. Sherihan “Cherrie” Hersi’s debut album Sherihan was the R&B record of the year in Sweden, making her the next top name from RMH as well as cementing the label as the defining force of contemporary Swedish music. A triumph from start to finish, Sherihan contained slow-paced soul music with a jazzy feel — written and performed with an entirely unique and genuinely Scandinavian temperament.

CTM: Suite for a Young Girl (Tambourhinoceros) 

The art of Cæcilie Trier – CTM – is that of a person looking for difficult beauty in ecotones, in the crossover territories between chamber music composition, hip hop, flamenco, R&B, classical music. She’s a great singer who doesn’t want to play by the rules, but searches her voice for expressions beyond conventional emotionalism. But there’s also just a remarkable composer, singer and thinker at play.

The Hearing: Adrian (Solina Records)

Stories of heartbreak by one-woman group from Finland led by ms. Ringa Manner who used to be vocalist in a punk group called Pintandwefall, now turned into electronic music songwriter and producer. Adrian is her second album.

Jenny Hval: Blood Bitch (Sacred Bones)

She gets better and more fascinatingly Pop with each album, here with striking lyrics and fittingly strong compositions about vampires and menstruation. The album is produced by Jenny Hval with noise music legend Lasse Marhaug, making it an album filled with very visual sounds. Inspiration from Italian horror movies from the 70’s pops up everywhere, with lots of eerily beautiful melodies and unmissable pop material like the singles «Conceptual Romance» or «Female Vampires.

Mikko Joensuu: Amen 2 (Svart Records)

Mikko Joensuu first got noticed as frontman in noise/shoegaze group Joensuu 1685. Amen 2 is the second part of his solo trilogy which is all about how he broke free from extreme christian community. Amen 1 had its roots in country music, this second part is powered by deep and spiritual electric groove.

Jóhann Jóhannsson: Arrival OST (Deutsche Grammophon)

The Icelandic composer Jóhannsson is now preparing the score for Blade Runner 2049 and has two Academic nominations to his name (The Theory of Everything and Sicario). This post-classical composer has been breaking new musical and aural ground with his scores and this one is no exception: moody, scary, claustrophobic, “alien” and a brilliant synthesis of his composing style and the needs of the cinema. But you don’t need a screen to hear it.

Kornel Kovacs: The Bells (Studio Barnhus)

Kornél Kovács has been a household name on the Swedish dance scene for more than a decade, as a DJ, producer and part of the record label Studio Barnhus in Stockholm. His debut album — named after Jeff Mills’s techno gem “The Bells” — was recorded in Gothenburg during a two week stint with friend and studio engineer Matt Karmil and showcased the young Swede at the top of his game. The Bells was a quirky, mischievous and always entertaining album packed with slick pop melodies, dazzling disco beats and funky house music. In a genre rarely associated with humour, Kovács attempted to bring back the fun to the dancefloor –- and succeeded.

Nosizwe: In Fragments (So Real International)

In the not too rich tradition of Norwegian contemporary soul music, the brilliant debut album by Nosizwe Baqwa stands out with its left of centre production, personal, conscious lyrics and gorgeous vocals. The single «The Best Drug» is a good example of her style, with its quirky bassline and massively soulful melodies. The album is produced by Georgia Anne Muldrow, making space for Nosizwes individuality.

Oranssi Pazuzu: Värähtelijä (Svart Records)

Fourth album by Finnish metal scene outsiders is a unique mixture of black metal, psychedelic pop and post-rock. Värähtelijä means “oscillator” or “vibrator”. Oranssi is orange in Finnish, Pazuzu used to be the Assyrian demon for winds and storms, kind of a hard core weatherman.

Skúli Sverrison, Hilmar Jensson, Arve Henriksen: Saumur (Mengi)

A very emotive, ambient-laden experimental jazz album. A spiritual and beautiful piece, evoking the spirits of Talk Talk and David Sylvian. Skúli and Hilmar are long standing members of the international “outer limits” jazz world, with roots in the 90’s NY downtown scene. Here they are joined by Norwegian trumpeter and singer Arve Henriksen in a truly nordic mood.

Værket: Jealousy Hits (Escho)

Trust the danish quintet Værket to defy the constraints of indie culture with wild explosions of prog rock deconstruction. Queen and Jethro Tull goes to bed with Frank Zappa and Black Sabbath resulting in a bastard love child. This their debut album is brimming with the hubris and impatience and zapper minds of youth (all five gentlemen being around 20 years old) which ensures this strange cocktail of sacrilege and seriousness.

The jury:
Audun Vinger (Norway)
Ralf Christensen (Denmark)
Ilkka Mattila (Finland)
Niklas Elmér (Sweden)
Arnar Eggert Thoroddsen (Iceland)