Archive for the ‘OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASES’ Category

Is it Jazz? Records have inked a deal with Norway’s SOLSTEIN, the latest project from multi-instrumentalist Jacob Holm-Lupo.  Inspired by jazz-rock, funk, prog rock and chill-out, SOLSTEIN, offers up an instrumental form of rock, where jazz harmony combines with proggy arrangements and soul/funk grooves.  The end result is a laid back, elegant, sound that oscillates between funky fusion and rock.

SOLSTEIN’s four- piece lineup have a  history that could be classed as illustrious.

On keyboards for SOLSTEIN is Brynjar Dambo, known for his work with WHITE WILLOW, PINE LAKE, DONNER, HAAKON ELLINGSEN

A published author of books on various artists including TOTO and BLUE ÖYSTER CULT,  Jacob Holm-Lupo himself, who will handle bass guitar, guitar and  keyboards, is known for his other projects WHITE WILLOW, THE OPIUM CARTEL and DONNER. He is also a much respected producer and audio engineer, working out of his Dude Ranch Studio, whose name is very well known to  fans of many of the bands on Is it Jazz? Records’ sister-label Karisma Records, with whom he has had a long collaboration. 

Guitarist Stian Larsen was educated at the Norwegian Academy of Music, where he specialised in Jazz. He has recorded with, amongst others, SMITH KOMMA JOHN, KÖÖK and PET ZOO, and played live with the likes of LÖV, DANIEL KVAMMEN and  BENDIK BAKSAAS, to name but a few.

Drummer Keith Carlock is a drum instructor who is a Grammy-winning recording artist and a Member of the Mississippi Musicians’ Hall of Fame.  STEELY DAN, DONALD FAGEN, WALTER BECKER, TOTO, JOHN MAYER and STING are amongst the myriad artists with whom he has recorded or played live.

The initial idea behind SOLSTEIN, which translated means “Sunstone,  was born from Jacob and Keith Carlock’s  2021 collaboration on “Hesitant Light”,  the debut album from DONNER, on which Keith’s playing pushed some of the material in a jazzier, funkier, direction that Jacob felt merited further exploration.

The band itself is named after a relatively rare rock whose main deposit is found along the coast in Southern Norway where Jacob lives on a small island. The Sunstone has copper-red crystals that refract light in a beautiful way when seen from different angles.

About their upcoming collaboration with Is it Jazz? Records, the band  had this to say:

SOLSTEIN are proud and pleased to sign with Is It Jazz? Records. We are looking forward to joining their artist roster and we feel their name reflects questions we often ask ourselves!

About their debut album, which will be titled “The Skerry” and which will be comprised of eight instrumental tracks, SOLSTEIN explained:

The making of our debut album has been a fun, light-hearted affair where zero fucks were given as to what the jazz police may have to say. Cheeky, 80’s-tinged fusion-soloing, pastel synths and a very open-minded interpretation of a Wayne Shorter classic are all par for the course. In fact there has only been one rule: No long solos. Keep it rock-length, not jazz-length.

More details about “The Skerry” will be revealed at a later date.

In the meantime, more  information about SOLSTEIN can be found on the band’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/solsteinband

Additional Information
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/solsteinband
Band Contact:  aslanlupo@gmail.com
Is it Jazz? Records
Website:  https://isitjazzrecords.no/
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/IsItJazzRecords/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/isitjazzrecords/
Contact:  post@isitjazzrecords.no

“A short, sweet banger of a song!” is how Norwegian Jazz Trio DATADYR describe “Tier”,  the opening track of their upcoming album “Woolgathering”, and which also happens to be the track that Is it Jazz? Records have chosen to release as the first single from the album.

“Tier” is, according to DATADYR, “One of the first songs we made together, and it’s one of the few songs that always appears on our set list whenever we play live”, and you can stream or download it from a number of services at:

https://isitjazzrecords.fanlink.to/Datadyr_Tier

“Woolgathering” itself will be released on the 10th June and is set to be an explosive mix of Americana, Blues, Jazz and Free Jazz. Recorded at the Solslottet Studio at Bergen Kjøtt, and produced and engineered by  Iver Sandøy, “Woolgathering features guest musicians Ketil Møster on saxophone and Mathias Marstrander on guitar. 

With cover art by Eigil Nordstrøm and band photographs by Olav Vikingstad , track listing for “Woolgathering”  is as follows:

  1. Tier
  2. Krystalldans
  3. Woolgathering
  4. Daybreaking
  5. FastUp
  6. Datadyr
  7. Low Hanging Moon

Based in Bergen, Norway, DATADYR is a trio comprising Øystein Høynes on bass,  Amund Nordstrøm  on drums and  Odd Erlend Mikkelsen on guitars.  All three musicians are graduates of the renowned Grieg Academy, and have considerable experience in other bands and projects such as
KRYPTOGRAF, DREAMARCHER,ATARI, CORT PIIL andSHAKAI.   

The trio have used their musical training and experience to hone their skills and develop DATADYR’s  distinctive sound, which ranges from the heartfelt and gentle to the energetic and explosive.  It is a sound that is characterised by a mix of traditional jazz, newer directions in jazz and improvisation, and which, to this day, still retains the spontaneous and playful expression that was the starting point for the band .  

Of their debut full-length, DATADYR had this to say:

“Woolgathering” is a collection of our favourite songs which were written early on in DATADYR’s career. Some of them go all the way back to 2018, while some of them are more recent. It’s a good mix of all our influences as a band and as individual musicians. “Woolgathering” means to daydream, to gather your thoughts – a fitting title in our opinion. 

“Woolgathering” will be released in CD, Digital and Red Vinyl formats and is now available to pre-order from:

Webshop: https://isitjazzrecords.no/shop/
Bandcamp: https://datadyr.bandcamp.com

More information about DATADYR  can be found on the band’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Datadyrmusic

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Datadyr Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Datadyrmusic
Datadyr Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpLXhM4Pd4bZxJ0UEkAzgpg
Datadyr Booking: datadyrepost@gmail.com Website:  https://isitjazzrecords.no/
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/IsItJazzRecords/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/isitjazzrecords/
Contact:  post@isitjazzrecords.no



Dark Essence Records, the label that gave the  Swedish Rockers their recording start back in 2014, have welcomed ALFAHANNE back into the fold, something the band is more than happy about:

ALFAHANNE is back where it all started at Dark Essence.  We got side-tracked but now we are right back on track and where we belong. It feels so great to be on Dark Essence again – to be part of their roster, and we  couldn’t be more pleased about this. Everyone at the label has always felt like friends and we enjoyed working with them on the release of our first two albums, and  will enjoy working with them again on the release of our fifth.  So  now let the darkness begin…

When ALFAHANNE burst onto the scene in 2010 their minds were fully set on bringing the danger back to rock n roll.  Playing what they call “Alfapocalyptic Rock”, ALFAHANNE  mixes Black Metal with Classic Rock and Punk, and good old Rock n Roll, creating their own style of music. A style that has earned them plaudits from critics and fans alike.

With a lineup comprising Pehr Skjoldhammer on guitars and vocals, Fredrik Sööberg on guitars, Jimmy Wiberg on bass,  Niklas Åström on drums, and Stefan Eriksson on keyboards, ALFAHANNE’s stage debut came at 2014’s Inferno Metal Festival where their show garnered them high praise. 

 Since  then, their high energy, exuberance, and easy going, friendly  interaction with the fans (both on and off the stage) make them guaranteed crowd pleasers and much in demand for club and festival appearances.

The band’s popularity is not limited to fans, as the list of guests of the ALFAHANNE’s previous albums demonstrates.  A list that fans of extreme genres will find mouth-watering and that includes fellow Dark Essence artists Hoest (TAAKE) and V’gandr (HELHEIM), as well as other titans of the Scandinavian scene such as Dolk (KAMPFAR), Erlend Hjelvik (KVELERTAK), Spellgoth (HORNA, TURMION KÄTILÖT), Nattfursth (SORHIN), David Lindh (YVONNE and BRODER DANIEL),  Sanrabb (GEHENNA) and Niklas Kvarforth (SHINING).

With work progressing on their fifth studio album, ALFAHANNE had this to say about what fans could expect:

Having already released four album,  Eskilstuna´s finest will soon be back with a new one. Once again we will explore the darkness of mankind and continue to widen our musical realms.  The new material will mark the beginning of a new era for the band and the fifth album will truly be a monster. Its release will make it clear that ALFAHANNE is an unstoppable force…

ALFAHANNE have already been confirmed to appear at Steelfest Open Air in Finland and Rock Away Winter in Borås, Sweden, in May, the Spetakkel Festivalen in Larvik, Norway in September, and the Eindhoven Metal Meeting in the Netherlands in December.

Details  about the new album will be released in due course, and more information about ALFAHANNE can be found on the band’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/alfahanneofficial

A video of ALFAHANNE performing the track “Indiehora” from their album “Alfapokalyps”, live at Inferno Festival 2014, and featuring  V’gandr of TAAKE & HELHEIM can be seen below and at https://youtu.be/alOrLodpTGg  

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Alfahanne on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alfahanneofficial
Alfahanne on YourTube: http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzlnEhv8tEx2GNRAqVduRMQ
Alfahanne on Bandcamp: https://alfahanne.bandcamp.com
Alfahanne on SoundCloud: http://soundcloud.com/alfahanne
Band Contact: nickeastrom@hotmail.com
Dark Essence contact: post@darkessencerecords.no
Dark Essence Records: www.darkessencerecords.no
Dark Essence on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/darkessencerecords
Dark Essence Records Bandcamp:  http://karismarecords.bandcamp.com/
Dark Essence Records YouTube:  https://www.youtube.com/DarkEssenceRecords
Dark Essence Records Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/darkessencerecords/
Dark Essence Records Twitter: https://twitter.com/DarkEssenceRec
Dark Essence SoundCloud: http://soundcloud.com/dark-essence-records
Dark Essence Records Webshop: https://www.darkessencerecords.no
Dark Essence Records North American Webshop:  https://darkessence.indiemerch.com
Dark Essence Records Australian Webshop:  https://www.heavymetalmerchant.com/bands/d/dark-essence-records/

Since first appearing in the Norwegian scene in 2004, BLODHEMN founder Invisus has worked tirelessly to further Black Metal’s iconic sound with his distinctive and aggressive approach, releasing three full-length albums, on which he performed all the vocals and instruments.

With a live lineup that, aside from Invisus on vocals,  includes Hauk (AMONG GODS) on bass, Dan on drums, Xarim (DJEVELKULT, DEN SAAKALDTE) on guitars and Anneland (ELSKOV, VONBROT, MUNNHUGGER, CAPRISE) on guitars, BLODHEMN has rightly earned a stellar reputation for its work both in the studio and in front of an audience.

Joining the Dark Essence Records roster for the release of the band’s fourth full-length album, has, it could be said, been twelve years in the making for BLODHEMN, as Invisus explains:

I had a good experience working with some of the Dark Essence people in the past.  Granted, at that time it was more on the music production side, but still, it has been a collaboration since recording “Brenn Alle Bruer” 12 years ago.

Inking the deal with Dark Essence Records, therefore, feels like finally finding the right street door after a long night out. Their good reputation amongst artists, and in the industry in general, was key to my decision to kick open this particular door.

I’m looking forward to finally getting the new album out and joining forces with the Dark Essence team to force-feed you thrashy black metal with a glaze of rock n’ roll. Skål!

Details of the upcoming album will be coming up in the near future, and in the meantime, more information about BLODHEMN can be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Blodhemnnorway or on the band’s website at https://blodhemn.no/

Additional Information
Website: https://blodhemn.no/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Blodhemnnorway
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/blodhemn_official/ 
Band Contact and Booking: blodhemnband@hotmail.com
Dark Essence contact: post@karismarecords.no 
Dark Essence Records: www.darkessencerecords.no
Dark Essence on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/darkessencerecords
Dark Essence Records Bandcamp:  http://karismarecords.bandcamp.com/
Dark Essence Records YouTube:  https://www.youtube.com/DarkEssenceRecords
Dark Essence Records Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/darkessencerecords/
Dark Essence Records Twitter: https://twitter.com/DarkEssenceRec
Dark Essence SoundCloud: http://soundcloud.com/dark-essence-records
Dark Essence Records Webshop: https://www.darkessencerecords.no
Dark Essence Records North American Webshop:  https://darkessence.indiemerch.com
Dark Essence Records Australian Webshop:  https://www.heavymetalmerchant.com/bands/d/dark-essence-records/

Having recently announced the details of label’s first ever release (from Jazz Prog Rockers SOFT FFOG), Is it Jazz? Records have today revealed more about DATADYR, the band destined to produce the label’s second release, which will be available on the 10th June.

Based in Bergen, Norway, DATADYR is a trio of musicians who are all graduates of the Grieg Academy,  where their jazz studies provided the inspiration for their music, which can be characterized by its use of traditional jazz, newer directions in jazz and musical improvisations.

All three have considerable experience with other bands and projects. Bassist Øystein Høynes, for instance, has deep-dived into both American and Scandinavian Jazz, something that can be heard in DATADYR’s music.  He likes to explore the differences in genres and mix them up, and his playing is “groovy and playful”, with a desire to drive the music forward.  Already a well-known figure on the Scandinavian Jazz scene, Høynes has played on albums by the FINNSETH TRIO, HERKULES and ATARI, and is currently playing with ATARI, TARA MARTINE, TREVERKET, and HVO.

During his time at the Grieg Academy drummer Amund Nordstrøm turned his focus towards jazz, free jazz and free improvisation. With a style that is energetic, playful and which pays great attention to tone and texture, it is somewhat extremist but nevertheless displays a controlled musical direction, with  clear references to older American and Scandinavian jazz. In a short time Nordstrøm has succeeded in making a name for himself on the music scene in Bergen. He has played a number of concerts in both Norway and Europe and released albums with AVIAN ART, THOMAS LOSSIUS SEPTETT and GUNSLINGING BIRD, with more in the works with bands such as DATADYR, CORT PIIL, MØ: SAN, DUMBO CASINO and SHAKAI.

Guitarist Odd Erlend Mikkelsen has, for several years, been involved in the Rock and Metal scene with bands like DREAMARCHER and KRYPTOGRAF. However, during the last four years he studied Jazz at the Grieg Academy, exploring improvisation. Through his studies he has developed a sound that combines the energy and abrasiveness of classic rock guitar playing, with the harmonic and rhythmic ideas derived from modern jazz.

Having used their experience and their studies to hone their musical skills and develop their distinctive sound – which ranges from the heartfelt and gentle to the energetic and explosive, DATADYR are now ready with their debut full-length album “Woolgathering”, about which the band had this to say:

It’s great to finally release our album on Is it Jazz? Records! There hasn’t been a proper label for jazz/improvised music in Bergen for a while now so Is it Jazz? Records came along at just the right time for us.

“Woolgathering” is a collection of our favourite songs which were written early on in DATADYR’s career. Some of them go all the way back to 2018. while some of them are more recent. It’s a good mix of all our influences as a band and as individual musicians. “Woolgathering” means to daydream, to gather your thoughts – a fitting title in our opinion. 

Further details about “Woolgathering” will be released in due course, and more information about DATADYR  can be found on the band’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Datadyrmusic

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Datadyrmusic
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpLXhM4Pd4bZxJ0UEkAzgpg
Booking: datadyrepost@gmail.com
Website:  https://isitjazzrecords.no/
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/IsItJazzRecords/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/isitjazzrecords/
Contact:  post@isitjazzrecords.no

After a long search to find a label to suit their exacting requirements, Norwegian Thrashers NOCTURNAL BREED have described their upcoming collaboration with Dark Essence Records as “Monumental and Trench-Altering”, as the band explains:

It has been an ever-occurring dream for the band to gather the forces at home in Norway. And this March 18th saw this come to pass, as hoof-marks were carved in ink, and a final deal with Dark Essence Records was signed and agreed upon.

The last two decades have been spent looking for a label and a ‘safe haven’, one that allows bands to  focus on ‘the music’ and the integrity of the product. “Quality, Dedication and Knowhow” in perfect unison is what we set out to find. And this is what we get with Dark Essence Records.  It may sound like a cliché but honestly it feels like coming home.

It is an honour to serve side by side on the battlefield, with such epic bands and old friends, such as can be found on Dark Essence’s  roster. As well as having the opportunity to work with the genuinely professional, to the bone, and utterly dedicated people as the ones at Dark Essence. It has resulted in a long-awaited refuelling and re-fusing of the bands inner workings.

And so, we raise the iron-flag here in the bunker.  The knives are out and sharpened.  A new album is on the way and new nuclear fuel is pumping through our  veins…

 This will be a good one Thrashiacs!

S.A. Destroyer

Bunker Norvegicus

NOCTURNAL BREED was formed in Oslo in 1996 by S.A. Destroyer (aka Svartalv – ex. GEHENNA, SATYRICON) both as an homage to the old waves of Thrash, Speed and Heavy Metal of the 80’s and as a reaction against the growing commercialisation of the Black Metal scene that plagued the mid 90’s with its ever increasing ‘polished’ sound, along with the softening of attitudes in Metal in general.

The decades that followed saw NOCTURNAL BREED undergo the inevitable lineup changes and hiatuses that bands are subjected to during their careers, all the while producing a plethora of releases, which, aside from the obvious early demos and studio albums, include EP’s, Boxed Sets, and Compilations, culminating in the 2021 release of the “Face Your Aggressor” double album which marked the band’s 25th Anniversary.

Which brings us to the present day and finds NOCTURNAL BREED in their private “Bunker Studios” working on the final stages of their seventh full-length album, set to be released on Dark Essence Records later this year.

More information about the band can be found on their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Thrashiac777NocturnalBreed

NOCTURNAL BREED’s 15th Year Anniversary video for the track “Resistance is Futile” can be seen at https://youtu.be/DRzu4haJyeI

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Thrashiac777NocturnalBreed
YouTube: https://youtube.com/user/777VIRUSLORD777
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nocturnal_breed_official/
Email: cmachine777@gmail.com
Dark Essence contact: post@karismarecords.no 
Dark Essence Records: www.darkessencerecords.no
Dark Essence on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/darkessencerecords
Dark Essence Records Bandcamp:  http://karismarecords.bandcamp.com/
Dark Essence Records YouTube:  https://www.youtube.com/DarkEssenceRecords
Dark Essence Records Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/darkessencerecords/
Dark Essence Records Twitter: https://twitter.com/DarkEssenceRec
Dark Essence SoundCloud: http://soundcloud.com/dark-essence-records
Dark Essence Records Webshop: https://www.darkessencerecords.no
Dark Essence Records North American Webshop:  https://darkessence.indiemerch.com
Dark Essence Records Australian Webshop:  https://www.heavymetalmerchant.com/bands/d/dark-essence-records/

With its release date set for the 8th April on Karisma Records, BJØRN RIIS’s fourth full-length solo album “Everything to Everyone” deals with the toll that continuously having to meet the expectations of others takes on ones emotions, heightened by the fear of losing oneself in the effort to do so.

This is poignantly illustrated in the track “The Siren”, which Karisma Records have today released as a single. 

As Bjørn explains:

 Musically the song derives its inspiration from the more mellow side of Roger Waters, Richard Hawley and Tim Bowness,  and is told from the perspective of someone observing a dancer.  Lyrically it depicts how one can be easily misled by temptation and hurt by the need for approval.

“The Siren” itself dates back to the “A Day at the Beach” recording sessions with AIRBAG. It was one of many demos that I presented to the band but which didn’t quite fit in with the rest of the material. 

Whilst writing “Everything to Everyone”, I redid most of the arrangements and lyrics and “The Siren” ended up being one of my favourite tracks on the album, and I would like to offer my sincere thanks to Simen Valldal Johannessen (OAK) for the beautiful piano, Henrik Fossum  (AIRBAG) for the delicate drumming,  and engineer Vegard Sleipnes for the mixing.

The single of “The Siren” can be streamed or downloaded from various services at https://link.karismarecords.no/Bjorn-Riis_The-Siren

At the same time, Anne-Marie Forker has produced a soulful video for “The Siren” which can be seen below and at https://youtu.be/2PqJXn0ozv0

For the album itself, which Bjørn admits was inspired by Dante’s Inferno, he has once again teamed up with long-time collaborator Vegard Kleftås Sleipnes, who, as well as co-producing the album with Bjørn, also handled the engineering and mixing. Mastering was carried out by Jacob Holm-Lupo (WHITE WILLOW and THE OPIUM CARTEL). 

In addition to Bjørn’s vocals and celebrated guitar playing, “Everything to Everyone” also features guest appearances from Henrik Bergan Fossum (AIRBAG), Kristian Hultgren (WOBBLER), Simen Valldal Johannessen (OAK) and Norwegian singer/songwriter MIMMI TAMBA. 

With cover photo by Anne-Marie Forker and design by Asle Tostrup, track listing on “Everything to Everyone” is as follows:

1. Run
2. Lay Me Down
3. The Siren
4. Every Second Every Hour
5. Descending
. Everything to Everyone
Digisleeve CD bonus tracks:
7. Everything to Everyone (Alternative version)
8. Desolate Place

“Everything to Everyone” will be available in four different versions. Aside from the normal LP version, the vinyl format will also be available as a Limited Edition White/Black Splatter LP, whilst the CD format will be available both as a standard CD as well as a Limited Edition Digi Sleeve version which will include two bonus tracks comprising an alternative version of the title track, and the 2020 stand-alone digital single “Desolate Place”.

It is now available to pre-order from:

Webshop: https://www.karismarecords.no/kar199-bjorn-riis-everything-to-everyone/  
Band Camp: https://bjornriis.bandcamp.com/album/everything-to-everyone
North American Webshop:  https://karismarecords.indiemerch.com/band/bjorn-riis

Now a much-respected guitarist within the musical community, Bjørn ‘s  interest in music began whilst still a teenager, at a time when guitar-led bands were at their height and were spearheading the  rise of the Progressive Rock movement.   It was this movement, together with Electronica and Movie Scores, that influenced the young guitarist,  leading  him to develop a style filled with soaring leads and gorgeous textures.  

Such is his knowledge of, the guitar, and all things related, that his YouTube channel, has become an extremely successful  destination for guitar fans.  The channel can be seen  at  https://www.youtube.com/c/BjornRiisMusic  

More information about BJØRN RIIS can be found on the guitarist’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/BjornRiisArtistPage  and on his website at https://www.Bjørnriis.com/ 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Band contact:  Bjørn@airbag.no
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/BjørnRiisArtistPage
Website:  https://www.Bjørnriis.com/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/Bjørnriis/
YouTube:  https://www.youtube.com/c/BjornRiisMusic
Bandcamp: https://Bjørnriis.bandcamp.com
Promo and other information: post@karismarecords.no
Karisma Records: http://www.karismarecords.no/
Karisma Records Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/karismarecords
Karisma Records on YouTube:  https://www.youtube.com/c/KarismarecordsNor
Karisma on SoundCloud:  https://soundcloud.com/karisma-records
Karisma Records on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/karismarecords/
Karisma Records Webshop: http://karismarecords.bigcartel.com/
Karisma Records US Webshop:  https://karismarecords.indiemerch.com
Karisma Records BandCamp: http://karismarecords.bandcamp.com/music

Fans of both the more Extreme end of metal as well as fans of more Progressive genres are well versed in the eclectic output of Norwegian labels Dark Essence Records for the former, and Karisma Records for the latter – labels known not only for their rosters of iconic, long-established and world-renowned bands, as well some of the most interesting newcomers to emerge on their respective scenes.

It shouldn’t therefore come as too much of a surprise that the eclectic band of people who have created the two labels, some of whom are professional musicians and producers, and some of whom have been working in the industry for many years now, should decide to expand further into territory that fits in with their ethos, and their personal musical interests. As they explain:

All you need to do is look at our catalogue of releases from both labels, and it’s pretty evident that those of us behind Karisma and Dark Essence Records have always been interested in different musical styles and genres.

One of those interests, in which we do dabble extensively, is the more progressive and experimental kind of music, music that leads us naturally to enjoying a lot of Jazz as well.  And that’s why we are now launching a new sub-label simply called IS IT JAZZ? RECORDS.

We’re sure that some of you are asking why the name of the label is actually a question. Well, there is an awful lot of music around these days that is labelled Jazz, so much so, in fact, that even within the Jazz scene there are constant discussions on what is Jazz and what isn’t. So we thought that we would really like to release bands and artists that we feel represents Jazz to us, and this could encompass a whole lot of areas. It could be the exponents of classical jazz, or the really experimental artists, the soft singer/songwriters, or the hard rocking proggers.

There’s a whole lot of Jazz out there and we hope you will come along with us for the ride and enjoy our Jazz discoveries – and let’s see if you think it’s Jazz or not!

More information about Is it Jazz? Records can be found at the following:

Website:  https://isitjazzrecords.no/
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/IsItJazzRecords/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/isitjazzrecords/
Contact:  post@isitjazzrecords.no

With every intention of hitting the ground running Is it Jazz? Records plan to release the debut albums from their two new signings around summer time.  First up will be an album from the quartet SOFT FFOG, whose experienced musicians are well known on the Norwegian Jazz scene, whilst the second album will be from DATADYR, a trio of musicians from Bergen, whose four years studying Jazz at the prestigious Grieg Academy, has given them a varied take on things.

More information about the upcoming releases will be available shortly, and in the meantime you can find out more about the bands at the following:

SOFT FFOG
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Softffog
Booking: jazztom@hotmail.com

DATADYR
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Datadyrmusic
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpLXhM4Pd4bZxJ0UEkAzgpg
booking: datadyrepost@gmail.com

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Website:  https://isitjazzrecords.no/
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/IsItJazzRecords/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/isitjazzrecords/
Contact:  post@isitjazzrecords.no

Following on from the hugely successful release at the beginning of last year of “Playing House”,  the second full-length album from the Alternative Pop Orchestra MEER,  Karisma Records found themselves selling out of the vinyl version in record time. 

With fans still clamouring for an LP, the label has decided to release a new Limited Edition vinyl re-press of “Playing House”,  which has appeared in multiple “Best Of 2021” lists.   Strictly limited to 500 copies, the re-press of “Playing House” will be available as a Red Vinyl Double LP.

Set for release on the 25th March it is now available to pre-order from:

Webshop: https://www.karismarecords.no/shop/
BandCamp: https://meer.bandcamp.com/album/playing-house
North American Webshop: https://karismarecords.indiemerch.com/ 

To celebrate the upcoming release, MEER have released a live video of the band performing the track “Beehive”, which can be seen below and at https://youtu.be/TWPvmjQ2ouQ

It is a track about which the band had this to say:

Beehive has been a long-time favourite on our live sets, and we love how the album version turned out. It’s sensual, chaotic, powerful and definitely one of our most hard hitting songs. The cinematic strings, heavy guitars and arpeggiated synthesizers create a suggestive drive over which Johanne gets to belt her heart out. We often work together composing as a collective, and for “Beehive” drummer Mats came up with the opening piano riff and then the rest of the band  added new parts, hooks and lyrics to it on several jams and rehearsals. We are thrilled to finally share this powerhouse with you!

With artwork by Helena Haglund and Simen Skar, “Playing House”  was Recorded at Ocean Sound Recording and Tanken, with producer Lars Gärtner Fremmerlid (EINAR STRAY ORCHESTRA) at the helm.   Tracklisting for “Playing House”, which is also available in CD and Digital formats, is as follows:

1. Picking Up the Pieces
2. Beehive
3. All at Sea
4. Songs of Us
5. Child
6. You were a Drum
7. Honey
8. Across the Ocean
9. She Goes
10. Where do We Go from Here?
11. Lay it Down
Vinyl only bonus track:
12. Here I Go Again (Whitesnake cover)

Formed back in 2008 MEER was, at that time,  simply a duo known as TED GLEN EXTENDED, but the band has now expanded its lineup to  become a veritable orchestra whose eight members include Johanne Kippersund on vocals, Knut Kippersund on vocals, Eivind Strømstad on guitar, Åsa Ree on violin, Ingvild Nordstoga Eide on viola, Ole Gjøstøl on keyboards, Morten Strypet on bass and Mats Lillehaug on drums.

With such a large lineup, it was inevitable that a variety of styles and influences would find their way into MEER’s material, creating a sound that is an eclectic mix of orchestral pop, classical music and progressive rock.   It is a massive sound comprised of  fantastic melodies and harmonies, not to mention quite a few surprises along the way.

More information about MEER can be found on the band’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/MEERmusikk/

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MEERmusikk/
Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/meermusic/
YouTube:  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOPFSGuj-8Grx2_1_A8m2kA
Band contact:    post@meerband.com
Promo and other information: post@karismarecords.no
Karisma Records: http://www.karismarecords.no/
Karisma Records Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/karismarecords
Karisma Records Bandcamp: https://karismarecords.bandcamp.com
Karisma Records on YouTube:  https://www.youtube.com/c/KarismarecordsNor
Karisma Records Twitter: https://twitter.com/KarismaRecords
Karisma on SoundCloud:  https://soundcloud.com/karisma-records
Karisma Records Webshop: http://karismarecords.bigcartel.com/
Karisma Records US Webshop:  https://karismarecords.indiemerch.com

Aside from being one of the founder members, lead guitarist, producer and main songwriter of one of Norway’s most successful  Prog bands AIRBAG, BJORN RIIS is also becoming a prolific solo artist, with his fourth full-length album set for release on Karisma Records on the 8th April.

Titled “Everything to Everyone”, the album contains six epic new tracks that deal with human emotions and the fear of losing oneself in the constant effort to meet every, often perceived, expectation, as Bjørn explains:

I was inspired by Dante’s Inferno when I started to write. A bit pretentious perhaps, but I’ve always been fascinated by that very personal journey and the search for some kind of piece or redemption, while being both mentored and hurt along the way. Musically, I wanted to take the listener on that journey, experiencing both hope and anxiety.

As a taste of what fans can expect from “Everything to Everyone”, Karisma Records have today released a single and video of the title track, about which Bjørn has this to say:

“Everything to Everyone” goes way back. Its one of those songs that never got finished but its always been in the back of my head. The lyrics are about losing yourself in the struggle to live up to expectations. Either ones own or those of others. I think we all can relate to that in one way or the other.

Im very happy with how it turned out! Its a dramatic piece and I’ve tried to allow the music to have a story in itself. Added to which are Mimmi Tambas amazing vocals, Simen Valldal Johannessens beautiful piano and Henrik Bergan Fossums powerful drumming.

The single “Everything to Everyone” can be downloaded or streamed from a variety of services at https://link.karismarecords.no/Bjorn-Riis_Everything-To-Everyone_Single

Whilst the video, by Anne-Marie Forker, can be seen below and at https://youtu.be/sYccgTvoR00

For “Everything to Everyone”, Bjørn has, once again, revisited his highly successful partnership with long-time collaborator Vegard Kleftås Sleipnes, who, as well as co-producing the album with Bjørn, also handled the engineering and mixing. Mastering was carried out by Jacob Holm-Lupo (WHITE WILLOW and THE OPIUM CARTEL). 

In addition to Bjørn’s vocals and celebrated guitar playing, “Everything to Everyone” also features guest appearances from Henrik Bergan Fossum (AIRBAG), Kristian Hultgren (WOBBLER), Simen Valldal Johannessen (OAK) and Norwegian singer/songwriter MIMMI TAMBA. 

Karisma Records plans to release “Everything to Everyone” in four different versions. Aside from the normal LP version, the vinyl format will also be available as a Limited Edition White/Black Splatter LP, whilst the CD format will be available both as a standard CD as well as a Limited Edition Digi Sleeve version which will include two bonus tracks comprising an alternative version of the title track, and the 2020 stand-alone digital single “Desolate Place”.

With cover photo by Anne-Marie Forker and design by Asle Tostrup, track listing on “Everything to Everyone” is as follows:

1. Run
2. Lay Me Down
3. The Siren
4. Every Second Every Hour
5. Descending
6. Everything to Everyone
Digisleeve CD bonus tracks:
7. Everything to Everyone (Alternative version)
8. Desolate Place

“Everything to Everyone” is now available to pre-order from:

Webshop: https://www.karismarecords.no/kar199-bjorn-riis-everything-to-everyone/ 
Band Camp: https://bjornriis.bandcamp.com/album/everything-to-everyone 
North American Webshop: https://karismarecords.indiemerch.com/band/bjorn-riis 

Now a much-respected guitarist within the musical community, Bjørn ‘s  interest in music began whilst still a teenager, at a time when guitar-led bands were at their height and were spearheading the  rise of the Progressive Rock movement.   It was this movement, together with Electronica and Movie Scores, that influenced the young guitarist,  leading  him to develop a style filled with soaring leads and gorgeous textures.  

Such is his knowledge of, the guitar, and all things related, that his YouTube channel “gilmourish RIIS”, has become an extremely successful  destination guitar fans.  The channel can be seen  at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWcIN_-togBBmlCYsuuy6Pg

More information about BJØRN RIIS can be found on the guitarist’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/BjornRiisArtistPage  and on his website at https://www.bjornriis.com/ 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Band contact:  bjorn@airbag.no
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/BjornRiisArtistPage
Website:  https://www.bjornriis.com/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bjornriis/
YouTube:  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWcIN_-togBBmlCYsuuy6Pg
Bandcamp: https://bjornriis.bandcamp.com
Promo and other information: post@karismarecords.no
Karisma Records: http://www.karismarecords.no/
Karisma Records Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/karismarecords
Karisma Records on YouTube:  https://www.youtube.com/c/KarismarecordsNor
Karisma on SoundCloud:  https://soundcloud.com/karisma-records
Karisma Records on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/karismarecords/
Karisma Records Webshop: http://karismarecords.bigcartel.com/
Karisma Records US Webshop:  https://karismarecords.indiemerch.com
Karisma Records BandCamp: http://karismarecords.bandcamp.com/music