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Anja Garbarek


Country of origin:

Norway

Type of music generally:

Ethereal-voiced jazz experimental pop

Status:

Most recent release, Briefly Shaking (2005)

See also:

Anja Garbarek's site

Wikipedia's entry on Anja Garbarek

Anja Garbarek's MySpace page

Comparisons:

Kym Brown, PJ Harvey, Björk, Happy Rhodes (particularly Many Worlds Are Born Tonight and Equipoise), KaTe Bush (particularly The Dreaming), and Massive Attack; later work like Stina Nordenstam

Covers/own material:

Own, occasinally co-written

General comments:

Anja Garbarek's music changes with each album; however it always remains experimental and her wonderful, clear vocals shine through it all. (Neile)

Recommended first album:

Balloon Mood

Recordings:


Balloon Mood

Release info:

1996—RCA/BMG 74321 64061

Availability:

Europe

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Anja Garbarek—vocals, keyboards

Guest artists:

Marius de Vries—keyboards, programming, vocals
Steve "Sputnick" Sidelnyk—percussion (1), additional programming (5,9)
Frank Ricotti—marimba (1)
Anthony Pleeth—cello (1), strings (2,3,5,10)
Andy Findon—flute (8)
Christopher Baron—choir boy (8)
Peter Lale—viola (5), string (2,3,5,10)
Gavyn Wright—violin (2), strings (2,3,5,10)
Will Gibson, Perry Montague-mason, Boguslav Koslecki, BIll Hawkes, Martin Loveday—strings (2,3,5,10)

Produced by:

Anja Garbarek & Marius de Vries

Comments:

Anja Garbarek is the daughter of Jan Garbarek. Her music has nothing in common with her daddy's. Balloon Mood is a very disturbing album with weird soundscapes, mystic rhythms, and strange vocal effects. It's not possible to categorize the album. It can partly be compared with Kym Brown, PJ Harvey, Björk, Happy Rhodes (particularly Many Worlds Are Born Tonight and Equipoise), KaTe (The Dreaming), and Massive Attack. The music is pure electronic, programmed by Marius de Vries (producer) and Anja Garbarek. After the first listen I was kind of paralyzed and I'm sure that I can listen to it a hundred times without ever getting bored. (Dirk.Kastens@rz.Uni-Osnabrueck.DE)

A new The Dreaming, but this time it is not released by our Goddess KaTe but by a Norwegian artist and the title is not The Dreaming but Balloon Mood. Anja Garbarek has used the time since the last album extremely well when the result is concerned. I actually had to look in the booklet if KaTe was singing on some of the songs...*shiver*...it really could have been. So what does it sound like? Hard to say—it is a mix between jazz, blues, trip hop, pop, KaTe (so? kinda can't place her either :) and some others.
     You just get blown away.
     Might be the best album this year—hard to beat at least.
     Nothing more to say about that. I think it is the first time I've heard a price-tagging machine used on a rhythm-track though :) You should definitely get this as it is amazing. (onealien@mo.himolde.no)

It's strange and wonderful, a journey. A little uneven, but the best of it is creative in the same way the best of ecto's favourite artists are. She's pushing the edges, creatively, without losing the musical hooks that keep it from being a difficult listen. Highly recommended. (Neile)

It's a brilliant and strange album that I love already. It's a quantum leap from her nice but unremarkable debut album Velkommen inn. Go investigate if you haven't done so. Am obssessing about Anja too. What a fresh direction her songs take and what a great voice she has. (stjarnell@yahoo.com)


Smiling & Waving

Release info:

2001—Virgin Records Norway—CDVIR130

Availability:

Europe

Ecto priority:

Recommended

Group members:

Anja Garbarek—vocals on all, percussion (2,7)

Guest artists:

The London Session Orchestra—strings (1,4,5,8,9)
Laurence Pendrous—piano (1,2,7,8), organ (4), Rhodes (6)
Chris Lawrence—bass (1,2,3,6,7,9)
John Pigneguy, Richard Bissill—French horn (1)
Steve Jansen—percussion (1,2), drums (3,4)
John Bradbury, Ivo van der Werff, Tony Lewis, Tony Hinnegan—strings (2,7)
Mark Hollis—piano, electric bass, melodica (2)
Melinda Maxwell—oboe (2,7)
Steven Wilson—guitar (2,5,10), percussion (3), piano (10)
Martin Ditcham—percussion (2,7)
Nick Bucknall, Anthony Pike—clarinet (3)
Tony Pleeth, Paul Kegg—cello
Some samples courtesy of Spectrasonics' "Distorted Reality" (3,8)
Richard Barbieri—analogue FX (4)
Jørgen Knudsen—atmosphere (4)
Robin O'Neill—bassoon (5)
Theo Travis—saxophone (6), flute (8), bass flute (10)
Gavyn Wright—violin (6)
Peter Lake—viola (6)
Robert Wyatt—vocal (7)
Helen Tunstall—harp (9)
Frank Ricotti—vibraphone (10)

Produced by:

Anja Garbarek & Steven Wilson, Mark Hollis (2 tracks)

Comments:

This is a much quieter album than Balloon Mood, and not as immediately striking. It resembles Stina Nordenstam's music more than any of the artists her previous album is compared to here. On the surface the album seems mellow and a little chilly, but it's full of intriguing subtleties and haunting nuances. While I don't like this one as consistently as I do Balloon Mood, it has some brilliant moments, as in "Spin The Context" where the odd sounds, syncopated rhythms, Anja Garbarek's soft vocals all come together to create an amazing whole. If you like subtle, quiet, unusual music and aren't expecting another Balloon Mood, you could love this album. (Neile)

She seems to need time to get over each album she makes, but when she does it is worth the wait. Another weird and wonderful release and a worthy followup to the the amazing Balloon Mood. She is still stuck in KaTe's The Dreaming land, but I don't mind that at all because that is also an album I get back to quite often. (onealien@mo.himolde.no)


Briefly Shaking

Release info:

2005—EMI

Availability:

Europe

Ecto priority:

Recommended

Group members:

Anja Garbarek—vocals

Guest artists:

Gisli Kristjansson—programming, drums, guitars, bass, organ, Wurlitzer, synthesizers, keyboards, melodica, theramin, xylophone, percussion, handclaps, effects, noises
Richard Cottle—Hammond organ
Frode Haltli—accordion
Godfrey Wang—piano
Anne Kairne Hauge Rønning—flute, alto flute, piccolo
Hårvard Lund—clarinet, bass
Emrik Snerte—bassoon
Jan Garbarek—bariton sax
Øyvind Brække—trombone
Trude Eick—French horn
John O'Brien—uilleann pies
Kjetil Steensnæs—additional guitar
Terry Thomas—additional guitar
Steve Watts—double bass
Erland Dahlen—drums
Edvard Os—military snare
Miguel Diaz De Lopez—samples
John Mallison—programming, banjo, piano, guitar
The London Session Orchestra:
     Gavyn Wright—leader
     Pat Kiernan, Bog Kostecki, Julian Leaper, Everton Nelson, Rita Manning, Perry Mason, Chris Tombling, Cathy Thompson, Bunny Zielinski, Pete Lale, Bruce White, Rachel Bolt, Martin Loveday, Dave Daniels, Caroline Dale

Produced by:

Anja Garbarek; co-produced by Gisli Kristjansson & John Mallison

Comments:

Unfortunately, I just don't find this very compelling. It's me, not it—I seem to require more melody less noodling these days. Recommended for ears more patient than mine are now. (Neile)

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DISCLAIMER: Comments and reviews in the Ectophiles' Guide are excerpted from the ecto mailing list or volunteered by members of the list. They are the opinions of music enthusiasts, not professional music critics.

Entry last updated 2016-08-24 21:59:38.
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