Scandinavia, viewed from here at least, is a land of hoarfrost-covered woodlands, smoked meats and pickled fish—tall, hardy folk, with a shared Pagan history—a socially progressive quasi-utopia of great musicians and artists. While I have no doubt a native's view would be less homogenized and naturally less idealized, it's a beautiful American daydream for those like myself who envision a social-democratic landscape where it never gets that hot, the metal is ice-cold, the noise is served up with whips & ball-gags, and the schoolteachers are all hot-wired MILFs.
The reality could never be so simplified, because Scandinavia is nothing if not complex; there's a lot below the ice that is not readily apparent, no matter how many Bergman films you watch. It's this emotional bubbling under that's part of what makes Scandinavian music so exciting; what's unspoken vs. what's evident, technical excellence coupled with somber, Norse gravitas.
And so it was, another year, another Nordic prog-rock special, this time leaning almost as heavily on newer artists as those from the golden 70s. With bands like Circle and Krokofant in the mix (what before punk was called progressive rock, not yet a dirty word) is truly very much alive and relevant in the frozen North.
Listeners also especially liked / commented on: Samla Mammas Manna | Atlas | Jukka Tolonen (see live clip below) ... I quite liked selections from Hebosagil | Kaipa | Rättö Ja Lehtisalo | Haikara (see below) | Neutral
To hear this week's entire Norse-o-phile horrorcast™, click above on the lovely, switch-hitting Kim (from the excellent, mindbending Norwegian thriller Naboer (2005)), to reach the archived audio, playlist with album art, and listener-comments board.