24 September 2008

Better Place Recordings

I was gobsmacked yesterday to receive a message from Ketil Einarsen, who has played with White Willow and Jaga Jazzist, among other groups, alerting me to the new label he has started with Rhys Marsh, who now is the new singer in White Willow (according to the mail). The label is called Better Place Recordings, and according to the website...

"Quite simply, this is music that would be heard more widely, if the world was a better place. Hence the name, you see? But they're not really idealists — they swing more to the side of the realists."

Currently the label is home to a few artists...

Rhys Marsh And The Autumn Ghost
“Inspiring and gorgeous, albeit heartbreaking, classical-countered sophisticated pop.”

Trondheim-based Rhys will release his debut album, ‘The Fragile State Of Inbetween’, in October. For this organic and lush affair he's drafted in an incredible amount of musicians to accompany him. Seventeen, in fact, taken from such bands as Jaga Jazzist, Änglagård and Anekdoten.

On the record you'll hear lots of hushed voices, acoustic guitar, piano, double bass, fretless bass, three drummers, two flutes, trumpet, pedal steel, a string section, lots of Mellotron and, despite the potential for complete wall-of-sound syndrome, still an impressive amount of space.

“70’s prog and folk, 80’s art pop, 90’s indie... And a whole lot more.”

Led by Ketil, who handles the flutes, songwriting, vocals, percussion, keyboards, guitars and arrangements, Okasa also features a who's who of talent. At the last count, he was joined by Brynjar (keyboards, accordion, guitars, bass, studio tech and producer), Rhys (vocals), Gaute (guitars), Henning (bass), Finn (guitars), Haakon (banjo and guitars), Pål (drums), Martin (drums), Erik (trombone), Morten (clarinet), Sonja (lyricist) and Katarina (fx and good vibrations).

Okasa are currently working on two or three records. The first one, or maybe the first two, will hopefully surface early next year.


This is the newly-named project of Takashi Mori and Rhys Marsh. They're currently working towards a six-track EP. More on this soon.

“Swirling to the edge of chaos and dissolving into tales of quiet beauty and loss.”

This experimental indie-jazz ensemble, led by Gaute Storsve, will be releasing their follow-up to 2006's ‘Happiness Not Yet Won’ early next year, which will be called ‘Death Is Just The End’.

The best bit, for those of you who want to check out music before you buy it, is that Ketil and Rhys have posted a 5 song 'official bootleg' EP on the website, which you can download free of charge, to check out music by these artists:

1. Rhys Marsh And The Autumn Ghost, ‘I Watched, As You Disappeared’
From the forthcoming album ‘The Fragile State Of Inbetween’, released October 2008

2. Unit, ‘This Moment's Bliss’
From the forthcoming EP, released winter 2008

3. The Opium Cartel, ‘Three Sleepers’
From the forthcoming album, released winter 2008
In conjunction with Termo Records

4. Ignore, ‘The Doctrine’
From the forthcoming album ‘Death Is Just The End’, released winter 2008

5. Okasa, ‘Last Words’ (Very Rough Mix)
From the forthcoming album, released winter 2008

There's quite a bit here to get excited by, especially if you dig music that lays back a little bit, creating mood through light and shade as much, if not more, than intense musical pyrotechnics. I have to say that I am really enjoying the material I am hearing, and can't wait to try out more.

Better Place Recordings can be found HERE. I'd seriously consider bookmarking it for future explorations.

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