May 23, 2022

NORDIC GIANTS – ‘SYMBIOSIS’ – “widescreen cinema for the ears”

4th February 2022

I first experienced the Nordic Giants back in 2015, where their intensely cinematic approach melded film, light, dark and sound as the masked duo shuffled about in feathers and fog on a darkened stage between synths and drums. The tour was to support their first album and they’ve only released one more since then, making this their third – which isn’t prolific for a band that formed a decade ago.

The post-rock duo focus on multimedia; working to meld music and video into a hypnotic pairing – as the album’s title suggests, in an interdependent relationship, much as the natural world does – hence the title: ‘Symbiosis’. So far, so David Attenborough’s Green Planet! The overall intent is a melding of light and dark, quiet and loud, restful and pounding. So, one moment might be a gentle piano ballad, another a raging sea of sound. Piano features prominently, as do drums, alongside analogue synths and organic sounds, horns and singing bowls. In a change of pace, this largely instrumental set has two songs, featuring Alex Hadley and long-term collaborator, Freyja. Big tunes are not their thing; mood is all and the effect is an ocean wave, either bowling you over dizzy or lapping at your floating body.

It’s a place somewhere between prog and post-rave chill-out like Enigma from the early 1990s. Wide, rich and deep, sonic undulations shift the body into a gently altered state and the mind into a receptive and imaginative zone. Rôka and Löki, the duo that constitute Nordic Giants, say: “We start with a pure idea, we take all the emotions that live inside us,  that are buried deep within the sub-consciousness mind and give them the opportunity to shine through in musical form.” I’d add that, having seen the band live, these pieces are stand-alone enjoyable as a three-quarter hour out-of-phase-journey but will be even better enhanced by the audiovisual presentation of their forthcoming tour this February (2022).

Our live review from 2015 is here:

http://www.vanguard-online.co.uk/nordic-giants-live-at-the-belgrave-music-hall-leeds-16th-november-2015/

NORDIC GIANTS & ÅRABROT UK tour dates February 2022

15/02  Cardiff, Clwb Ifor Bach (Nordic Giants only)

16/02  Manchester, YES 

17/02  Liverpool, 24 Kitchen Street 

18/02  Birmingham, Castle & Falcon

19/02  Nottingham, Contemporary 

20/02  Glasgow, CCA 

21/02  Leeds, Brudenell Social Club 

22/02  Colchester, Arts Centre 

23/02  Gloucester, Guildhall 

24/02  Milton Keynes, Craufurd Arms

25/02  London, The Garage

26/02  Brighton, Chalk