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Morten Lund and Andreas Eriksen took their adventurous 25 year Green Isac collaboration to a new level when they expanded the duo to a five member ensemble and rechristened themselves Green Isac Orchestra in 2015. “b a r”, their second album as the full-fledged Green Isac Orchestra and the seventh Green Isac album overall, is a brilliant expression of their electro-acoustic blend of kinetic rhythms, inventive melodies, and organic soundscapes.
Rich with a generous helping of world-flavored percussion and minimalist textures, the music on “b a r” is a compelling and often energetic fusion of fourth-world rhythms with a progressive edge. The lively trans-continental grooves maintain a solid, forward motion throughout the dynamic moods and interludes of refined, wide-open spaces. Acoustic instruments including piano, cello, marimba and a variety of drums & percussion work in concert with live electronics such as synthesizers, mellotron, electric guitar, therevox, and gizmotron, to create a dynamic and inspired set of tracks that overflow with imaginative originality.
"Green Isac Orchestra is the extension of the duo Green Isac," Lund explains. "It was put together in order to play live versions of Green Isac material, but soon the band started to make new music. Minimalist and ambient were the core ideas in the beginning, but on ‘b a r’ there are several hints to prog."
As a duo, Green Isac have always been known for the fresh and exciting recordings they created in the studio going all the way back to 1990. Now that the lineup has expanded to a quintet, the project has transformed into a living organism where the unmistakeable Green Isac sound is developed and arranged with the musicians working together in a live setting, spontaneously crafting and refining their musical ideas through a process of realtime collaboration.
"Typically a small theme, rhythm, or soundscape is presented as a start point, and then the arrangements are made in rehearsals until we feel we are ready for recording." says Eriksen. "It has been quite refreshing working together as a group in this way, and we have really been focused on listening and responding to each other. Hopefully this reflects in the music and makes it more alive."
In addition to his synth bass, programming, and arpeggiations, Eriksen's drumming work is still a driving force for the music, and he is now joined by Frode Larsen on percussion, mallets, and grand cassa. As before, Lund still handles all the guitar work, including electric, lap-steel, and baritone guitars. Jo Wang takes over most of the keyboards, keeping his hands full with piano, mellotron, organ, theravox, and a variety of other synths, while Tov Ramstad brings a heightened level of emotion with his acoustic and electric cello expressions.
Tinted with the progressive hues of Eno, Tortoise, and King Crimson, “b a r” finds its home at the crossroads where West African polyrhythms meet the minimalism of Steve Reich and Nik Bärtsch. But whatever comparisons may come to mind, this iteration of Green Isac's music is as unique, innovative, and refreshing as ever. Modern and yet so perfectly timeless, Green Isac Orchestra's “b a r” is a powerful statement from a finely-tuned ensemble firing on all cylinders.
released December 4, 2020