Recommended: Christian Meaas Svendsen – “Avin”


There’s a heavy emotional weight that acts as a counterbalance to the lovely melodic persona of Avin.  The key component that secures both qualities is how Christian Meaas Svendsen slips between evocative, poignant expressions with a fluid grace that’s almost stunning for its subtle transformations.  The album is effectively split between two suites.  The gentle lullaby of “Da du og var vi” transitions into the tense “Kretsløp” without a pause between, and the comforting tone becomes more ominous.  And then this, too, shifts into the wistful title-track “Avin.”  Here, the harmonics reflect an uneasy state of existence… a far cry from the thick, heartmelting harmonies of the suite’s opening.  Svendsen’s vocals are delivered with an even hand and a light touch, and nothing about those qualities hides the impassioned feelings of the words themselves.

“I Berlin” is a solitary piece that separates the two sections.  The ensemble’s chamber music nature shines strongest here, and the seamless way in which the string section switches between a disarming and a choppy melodicism is emblematic of the album’s approach and its structure.

“Katarsis” begins the second section with silence, interrupted by spoken word that leads into the melancholy “11 Dager,” a song that features Svendsen’s acoustic guitar, a duet with another vocalist, and then a thin ray of sunlight at song’s end in the form of warm harmony from a children’s choir.  Those harmonics lead right into the album finale “Tørr og sliten jord.”  It’s a song that brings the album full circle with the emotional tones and personable tunefulness of the album’s opening track, but with a mood that shades more to a state of contemplation.

The album’s title and the artist’s liner notes indicate this album is about love and his current relationship and all of the turbulence, uncertainty and joy that comes with it.  That assertion rings true from every note of this gorgeous album.

Your album personnel:  Christian Meaas Svendsen (vocals, guitar), Vilde Alnæs (violin), Adrian Løseth Waade (viola), Kaja Fjellberg Pettersen (cello), Inga Aas (double bass), Henrik Munkeby Nørstebø (trombone), Espen Reinertsen (saxophone) and Agnes Hvizdalek (vocal).

Released on Nakama Records.

Listen to more of the album at the label’s Bandcamp page.

Music from Oslo, Norway.

Available at:  Bandcamp | Amazon