Audio gears from Scandinavian countries are famed for their built and sound qualities, unfortunately they are also famed for their price tags. So they are not so approachable by most audio fans.
On the software side, the almighty Scandinavian music is of the same high quality, though much more wallet-friendly.
Few years back on an international flight, a Swedish student sit besides me. We had a bit chat on the school music programs in most Nordic countries, which has been funded by governments. And we joked about the boring winter life there especially in northern part of Norway, Sweden and Finland. Only two things would fight against the monotonies of polar nights - music and alcohol. Apparently the later has been applied with some sort of restrictions, so you only get music to be indulged in... Blah blah, you get the gist of it.
I've been obsessed with most genres of Nordic music in the past few years, hereby to share a short list which in my opinion are the highlights.
Nordic folk, roots & fusion pop:
Maria Kalaniemi - a master of free-bass button accordion, is one of Finland's leading contemporary and folk musicians.
Valravn - This is a fantastic Danish Folk / Electronica / Experimental band.
This band merges old Danish / Nordic medieval music with electronic music. Highly recommended!
EivÃ¸r PÃ¡lsdÃ³ttir - powerful young singer from Faroe Islands.
â€œHedningarna is a Swedish band that brings ancient Nordic music into the modern era. Their world is a place where primitive, brutal folk music collides with sampling and programming.â€ (Discogs)
Garmarna - a Swedish folk rock band, which definitely deserves a wider attention. Their music just kept my toes tipping and tipping.
Ane Brun â€“ Norwegian folk pop singer, probably too famous for me to jabber here.
Jenny Hval â€“ talented Norwegian girl goes beyond audio and visual, so far only debut one album in the mighty Rune Grammofon, but man, amazing stuff.
Paavoharju â€“ Finnish psychedelic folk band â€“ their debut release YhÃ¤ HÃ¤mÃ¤rÃ¤Ã¤ on Fonal is an all-time classic for me.
Jazz & Experimental:
Lars Danielsson - Swedish jazz bassist and cellist, his new album â€œLiberettoâ€ is just too good to be true:
Jan Garbarek â€“ do I need to say a word?
Supersilent â€“ Norwegian experimental jazz trio. Supersilent are Trumpeter Arve Henriksen, tape experimenter Helge Sten (aka Deathprod), and Stale StorlÃ¸kken on keyboards. One of the key figures in Rune Grammofon. Supersilent 7 is the most powerful improvisation jazz performance Iâ€™ve watched:
Nils Okland â€“ OK, here is my personal favourite â€“ Nilsâ€™ music is uniquely Nordic, while it has the power to touch anyoneâ€™s heart in a few melodies. I bought all Nilsâ€™ albums as I can found, and never be enough.
E.S.T (Esbjorn Svensson Trio) â€“ anyone into Euro Jazz, this must be a household name already.
Food, In The Country, Alog, Phonophani, Shinning, blah blah â€“ all the powerful bunch from the mighty Rune Grammofon!
Lasse Marhaug â€“ the synonymous of Scandinavian Noise, who also collaborates often with other sonic terrorists Merzbow, Aube, Einsturzende Newbauten, etc.
Iâ€™d better not attach any video here for this guy.
My most favourable Nordic music labels:
Rune Grammofon â€“ Norwegian jazz, folk and experimental label, now a sub-label of ECM.
Smalltown Superjazzz / Smalltown Supersound â€“ Norwegian experimental jazz, and retro electronics/disco label. Some of their releases are explosively powerful.
Kning Disk â€“ Swedish folk/experimental label. They uniquely combine their audio concept with visual album artworks. Most of their releases are below 1000 limited copies. Here are some of my KD collections:
Fonal â€“ Finnish folk/experimental music label. Also famous for its album artwork design. Here are a bit of my Fonal collections:
Hapna â€“ Swedish electronic/experimental music label.
Jazzaway â€“ Norwegian Jazz/experimental Jazz label.
Cold Meat Industry â€“ nah Iâ€™m just joking :nana