Afenginn, which means “intoxication and strength” in old norse, is Danish composer and musician, Kim Rafael Nyberg, one of the leading neo-folk, post-classical voices in Scandinavia. Having toured all over Europe, Australia and the US and performed at numerous festivals, concert halls and venues, Nyberg’s deeply ambitious, orchestrated compositions are based on his seemingly mercurial creative impulses with a strong DIY underpinning, with each of his previous bodies of work being a clear departure from the last. Obvious comparisons would be Hauschka, Goldmund, Jonny Greenwood and Dustin O’Halloran.
On his new album ‘Klingra’, released 11th October via , Nyberg has crafted a gentle yet fervent post-classical exploration into the temperament of intertwined cycles. Both the music and poetry (in Faroese) are composed by using interlocked cyclical patterns. Like the gears in a clock, the parallel themes intersect at points, creating contracted dissonance or lifting consonance. The overarching experience is deeply contemplative and melancholic, with a light of emancipation always just ahead.
With a sound palette of two pianos, a string quartet (The Danish String Quartet), pedal steel guitar, synth bass and two drummers supporting the haunting vocals of Ólavur Jákupsson (Yann Tiersen), Klingra’s eight tracks ﬂow one into the other, rippling with layers of ostinatos of unequal lengths, leading to a feeling of constantly being driven forward on an obscured path. The listener can be excited by both the mathematical design of the music as well as the raw emotional expression.
Afenginn has picked up numerous accolades back home in his native Denmark including ‘Composer of the Year’ (2014, 2016), ‘Album of the Year’ (2005, 2010, 2016) and ‘Best Live Act’ (2016) at the Danish Music Awards.
“Klingra (circle in Faroese) is one of my more delicate and introspective pieces that leans one degree further into the neo-classical realm. I’ve been working with the theme of circles/cycles to inspire both the way the music is composed and the story within the poetry”, says Nyberg
There’s a norse melancholy and cheerful madness that runs deep through the heart of ‘Klingra’, no more evident than on the opening three compositions. The rhythmic and melodic finesse of ‘Skjálvtin’ (The Impact), makes way for a deeply emotive ‘Litirnir’ (The Colours), before ‘Himnakroppanir’ (Celestial Bodies), is the crest on a wave that’s been building over the last two pieces, as it surges with urgent interlocking patterns, as the tension gradually builds.
Common in Nyberg’s work is the use of minimalistic patterning (akin to the techniques of Philip Glass and Arvo Pärt), which ﬂuctuate between creating a tidal propulsion and a sense of austere fragility. This is consistently contrasted against epic post-rock swells that are both sensual and disbanding.
Available on CD, vinyl and digital formats, the vinyl edition has been utilized as a compositional tool. Two different introductions are pressed into parallel grooves on the record, offering the listener two alternate listening experiences depending on where the needle begins on the circle. The B side ends with a closed loop that musically brings one back to the start of the album.
1. ‘Skjálvtin’ (The Impact)
2. ‘Litirnir’ (The Colours)
3. ‘Himnakropparnir’ (Celestial Bodies)
4. ‘Ivin T’ (The Doubt)
5. ‘Vitin’ (The Lighthouse)
6. ‘Skapanin’ (The Creation)
7. ‘Tøkkin’ (The Thanking)
8. ‘Eftirskjálvtin’ (The Aftershock)