RCD 2086CD RCD 2086CD

Ambitious, epic and grand in scale, the third album by Norway's piano trio In The Country could very well be their magnum opus. Most of the music was performed and written as a thank you, as is the tradition, after leader Morten Qvenild (Susanna and the Magical Orchestra, Shining) was awarded Kongsberg Jazzfestival's prestigious Musician's Award. Along with bass player Roger Arntzen and drummer Pål Hausken, on Whiteout, Qvenild allows themes to develop and terrain to broaden, as in exploratory jazz and classic progressive rock music. For example, "Ursa Major" starts out as an almost space-jazz expedition, which then crescendos and decrescendos into over 9 minutes of intertwining piano and post-rock guitar stratospherics. It's also a highly personal album, coming to an emotional and dramatic conclusion with the touching last track softly sung by Morten himself -- all gossamer and hazy brushstrokes of circling piano melodies, cymbal wash, and distant percussion. In The Country has been selected as among Norway's best musicians, reaching critical acclaim with their previous albums This Was The Pace Of My Heartbeat (RCD 2045CD) and Losing Stones, Collecting Bones (RCD 2059CD): Downbeat called their debut "one of the finest and most arresting albums to come out of Europe" that year, Mojo said "startling," Straight No Chaser said "fantastic," and a host of others followed. Whiteout is set to eclipse all previous praise, with its epic, masterful scope that shows this trio at the absolute peak of their compositional and performance powers. Recorded in the legendary Atlantis Studio in Stockholm, home of the first classic Abba recordings and full of vintage analog equipment. Engineered by Janne Hansson and mastered by Bob Katz, with a striking sleeve design by Kim Hiorthøy. In The Country are: Morten Qvenild (grand piano, synthesizers, Rhodes, programming and vocals), Roger Arntzen (double bass and vocals), Pål Hausken (drums, percussion, Dynacord Percuter and vocals), with Andreas Mjøs (Jaga Jazzist) (guitars, vibraphone, marimba, violin, programming and percussion).