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Little North

Familiar Places

Review by Gary Hill

At its core Little North is a trio consisting of piano (Benjamin Nørholm Jacobsen), bass (Martin Brunbjerg Rasmussen) and drums (Lasse Jacobsen). There are some guests sprinkled here and there across this album providing trumpet (Kasper Tranberg) and guitar (Viktor Spasov). The music here qualifies as prog at MSJ largely because it's fusion, but there are sections that really do feel like progressive rock. Whatever you call this, though, it's an album of particularly satisfying instrumental music. It's still quite early in the year, but I wouldn't be surprised if this lands in my "best of 2022" list.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2022  Volume 2. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2022.

Track by Track Review
Running Down The Park

Piano starts the album with something that's rather classical. Eventually other instruments join as the number begins to build outward and upward. Some jazzy elements come over the top as it continues, developing the fusion angles.

It's Beginning To Rain Again
Piano is the first instrument heard here, as well. The track builds and evolves much more slowly than the opener did, and remains much mellower. The piano is the driving force for the duration of the song.
Calystegia
A dramatic piano melody starts this track. The cut has a certain tension to it as it works forward from those origins. Horn eventually rises up to take its place in the arrangement and the drama grows as the number continues.
Push
There is some killer, yet fairly restrained, jazz at the heart of this number. The cut works forward with a lot of style and charm. I dig the almost bluesy guitar work on this a lot. The guitar soloing later really covers some exceptional territory as the number builds with an almost pure progressive rock element at play.
Spotting Salamanders
There is a real prog rock vibe at play here. Of course, this classy and energized number is packed with jazz in a great fusion arrangement. It has a good balance between slower and mellower and more driving textures.
Einar
Dramatic piano starts things here. This works out to another classy fusion exploration with some great instrumental work and twists and turns.
Tide
While this also starts with a mainly piano based arrangement, it eventually works out to some particularly dramatic and powered up jamming. This is another that leans pretty well on a prog rock edge. It's another winner on a disc that has lots of great material.
Huntress
This has a lot of potential energy as it rises upward. It feels rather dangerous somehow. I really love the powerful piano work on this thing.
Ind i det AzurblÄ
I love the dramatic and rather classical building on the piano on this piece. This cut is dominated by piano and has almost a Beethoven sort of vibe to it at times. It definitely has a grounding effect in the closing position on the disc, making it a satisfying final shot.
 
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