Sinikka Langeland album

The Half-Finished Heaven


2377 XI have always loved music that ensnares the listener in a spell. These days, alas, the prevailing aesthetic, almost regardless of idiom, is to pummel audiences into submission. I have not heard Sinikka Langeland live, but her albums present sounds finely engraved upon the surrounding silence; sounds that might be dispersed by a stiff breeze.

Langeland plays the kantele, a Norwegian member of the zither family with a timbre somewhere between a guitar and a harp, and she writes music in which composed melodies and improvised sections enfold each other so tightly that they become one. On four pieces she sings rather dreamily, using exquisite verse by the Swedish poet Tomas Transtromer; words that catch your breath with their economy and power of evocation.

That economy is everywhere. Her band is completed by the brilliant Norwegian violist Lars Anders Tomter (who plays a da Salo viola from 1590!), Trygve Seim (breathy tenor saxophone) and Markku Ounaskari (sparse drums). This is sad, beautiful music that, just for an hour, will sweep the foolish world from your mind.