Best Norwegian music 2019–2022

Every December the editorial team of beehype, led by editor Mariusz Herma, curate a presentation of the best music from the year that’s coming to an end. At beehype we aim to feature the most brilliant up-and coming artists from all around the world.

This is a collection of my annual Norwegian picks since I joined beehype as a correspondent in 2019. Happy New Year of music!

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Best of 2022 at beehypeAbout beehypeMy reviews for beehype

BEST ALBUMS OF 2022

NORWAY:

Amalie Holt Kleive – “De løper der jeg går”

Album cover

The title of Amalie Holt Kleive’s debut album translates as “they run where I walk”. While other artists rush to put out their musical creations, Amalie gives us the gift of an extremely well-crafted album. The 34-minute journey is full of strong and diverse impressions, yet it never feels rushed. In these songs, Kleive’s moving lyrics are woven beautifully into a sonic expression that is a mixture of the artist’s jazz background and the lush and heavy synths of her producers Vetle Junker (Metteson, Solå) and Peder Kolsung (Sigrid, iris).

A great example of this effect is the single “Sier ingenting”. On this track Junker’s signature hard-hitting production combined with Kleive’s lush and calm voice hits the listener right in the feels. On the Kolsung-produced track “Usynlig”, the extremely catchy synth pre-chorus riff, combined with Kleive’s panned and fragmented voice, triggers the listener immediately. A beautiful contrast to these thick arrangements is Kleive’s acapella track “Rene”, which provides the listener with a floating in space-type of feeling.

“Ser du nå” is a song about leaving and understanding. “Home was too quiet for me,” Kleiva sings. Still, the song is quite peaceful, unlike “Syre”. Those that are longing for more noise, can check out her sister Johanna’s critically acclaimed metal band Witch Club Satan, which provides an inverted echo of Amalie’s music.

Regarding “De løper der jeg går”, one of the foremost qualities is without a doubt the introspected and fragile, yet rock-solid vocal performance brilliantly delivered in the song “Kjære”. “”My dear, I know you want to change me,” Kleive sings with love, yet integrity. Backed by delicate strings she confesses “my loneliness always leads me back to the sea”.

May Kleive stay true to her authentic voice and poetic wisdom, and may the world know peace in 2023. (Edvard Granum Dillner)

♪♫ Listen: “Ser du nå” + album stream

Other recommended albums:
• Ea Othilde – “How I’d Like It to Fade”
• ¡BangBang Watergun! – “Colors”
• Siv Jakobsen – “Gardening, Pt. 1”
• thea wang – “While He Is Asleep”
• han gaiden – “you called me your erika”

▼ All recommendations ▼

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BEST ALBUMS OF 2021

NORWAY:

Benedikt – “Balcony Dream”

This year’s most sentimental and dreamy album arrived from an indie folk band made up by nine musicians from Oslo and Surnadal.

With ”Balcony Dream“ Benedikt proves how they have developed since their 2019 debut ”Communal Work“. The production is intricate and captivating. The soundscape is tactile and organic, with strumming guitar, banjo, an old piano, violins and cello. In the center of it all is Hans Olav Settem’s whispering vocals. The album also features some guest appearences. We’re treated with Tuvaband’s sore vocals and mysterious tremolo guitar by Ola Øverby.

Benedikt stands out in the Norwegian music flora with their bittersweet and emotional appeal, and their large ensemble. The rich soundscapes goes hand in hand with authentic lyrics about love and friendship. ”Balcony Dream“ is DIY done right, released by Koke Plate, founded by Benedikt’s banjo player.

Settem is the brain of the band, or more precisly, it’s heart. He is a skilled songwriter with a clear aesthetic vision. The result is a melancholic, cinematic and well crafted album of international caliber. (Edvard Granum Dillner)

♪♫ Listen: “Purple and Green” + album stream

Other recommended albums:
• White Ascot – “Pink Blood / False Memory”
• Beharie – “Beharie // Beharie”
• Jimi Somewhere – “Nothing Gold Can Stay”
• Solå – “Feel What I Feel”
• Bård Berg – “Oslo Beats Vol II”

▼ All recommendations ▼

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BEST ALBUMS OF 2020

NORWAY:

Evigheten – “Heten”

Album cover

Among mighty mountains Evigheten was born. The name Evigheten translates as “The Eternity”. And the band do, in this writers opinion, resemble a cosmic eternity.

“Heten” is a follow-up to the debut EP “Evig”, released back in 2018. Together, the two records form a complete album. “Heten” is without a doubt the most impressing work from the group. It sounds pastoral, yet futuristic. Spacious, yet intimite.

After this tubulent year with all its tricky situations, it’s nice to float into the sphere created by the six-piece group. The sacral atmosphere offers room for reflection and meditation.

Despite lockdown, or maybe because of it, the music scene flourished this year in Norway. Evigheten is one of many highlights from the tiny yet highly musical country. “Heten” stands out as one of the most unique releases from 2020. (Edvard Granum Dillner)

♪♫ Listen: “Eksistensen” + album stream

Other recommended albums:
• Juno – “Young Star”
• Ivan Ave – “Double Goodbyes”
• Benjamin Mørk – “Mechanical Piano”
• Verdensrommet – “Allting Tar Slutt”
• Lilja – “Marble”
• Ultraflex – “Visions of Ultraflex”
• Jez_ebel – “Blossom”
• Maria Norseth Garli – “Golden”
• Sid Hart – “Soul Design”
• Kjetil Jerve – “The Soundtrack of My Home”

▼ All recommendations ▼

BEST VIDEOS OF 2020

Sid Hart – “Pollux” (Norway)

2020 became the year of Black Lives Matter. The anti-racist movement was massive and global, also reaching Norway, resulting in huge protests. Visonary artist Sid Hart responded with what is, in this writer’s opinion, the greatest music video to come out of Norway in 2020.

Sid Hart’s “Pollux” challenges common conceptions of what it means to be Norwegian. The concept for the video was created by the artist himself and shot and directed by fashion photographer Ignat Wiig.

The video reflects how Norway, especially Oslo, has become a melting pot for different cultures. The video was a result of a collaborative effort by a cast of 30 individuals. As mentioned in the video description, all participant were invited to express their identity and culture with complete freedom.

“Pollux” stands out as an highly artistic, eye opening and professional production. The song was written and produced by Sid Hart in collaboration with Alejandro Vega. It served as a single for Sid Hart’s debut album “Soul Design”, that dropped late 2020.

Sid Hart’s artistry and presence might remind you of the late Prince: Fearless, androgynous, and with a strong sense of aesthetic awereness. It’s all there, and still, Sid Hart is unique in his craft. (Edvard Granum Dillner)

▼ All recommendations ▼

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BEST ALBUMS OF 2019

NORWAY:

Konradsen – “Saints and Sebastian Stories”

Konradsen’s debut album “Saints and Sebastian Stories” is like a shining light in the dark. It’s composed of delicate layers of mechanical pianos, synths, horns, a lonesome violin and the signature voice of the Jenny Marie Sabel. Together with Eirik Vindgren she forms the duo who, with a little help from their friends, recorded the album.

“Saints and Sebastian Stories” is rich in devine and everyday details. The album is one of those albums where you can press play and just zone out. And those albums are quite rare to find these days. (Edvard Granum Dillner)

♪♫ Listen: “Television Land” + album stream

Other recommended albums:
• Pom Poko – “Birthday”
• Fieh – “Cold Water Burning Skin”
• Doglover95 – “Love”
• Lumen Drones – “Umbra”
• Anna of the North – “Dream Girl”

▼ All recommendations ▼

BEST VIDEOS OF 2019

Pom Poko – “Leg Day” (Norway)

Last year, Norwegian band Pom Poko made a buzz with their critically acclaimed debut album “Birthday”. In a time of laid-back monotone minimalism Pom Poko is best described by one of the song titles: “Crazy Energy Night”!

Their latest single “Leg Day” is no exception. For the video, the band teamed up with performance artists De Naive, who appeared as choreographers and dancers.

Combined with the costumes by Torbjørn Kolbeinsen and weird camera work of Christopher Helberg the video is a refreshing and playful explosion. (Edvard Granum Dillner)

▼ All recommendations ▼

Thank you for reading, listening and scrolling 🙂

Published by Edvard Granum Dillner

Edvard Granum Dillner (b. 1997) is a writer, musician, and multi-artist. Dillner contributes to art and music publications KUNST, Paragone, beehype, Ballade, and GAFFA.

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