Finally reunited! Håvard Jørgensen has successfully invited ULVER mastermind Kristoffer “Garm” Rygg to sing on the track ‘Mot Soleglad’ (“Towards the Sunset”), which is now taken as the final single from the Norwegian‘s self-titled debut full-length “Haavard”.
The album has been scheduled for release on November 11 and details can be viewed below.
HAAVARD is the acoustic brainchild of multi-instrumentalist, singer, and sole member Håvard Jørgensen (aka Lemarchand of early ULVER and SATYRICON fame) and his album debut “Haavard” can be seen in many ways as a continuation and mature expansion of ULVER’s legendary second full-length “Kveldssanger” (1996) that was mostly composed by Jørgensen.
HAAVARD comments: “The single ‘Mot Soleglad’ is a song full of echoes”, the guitarist and singer tells. “Its lyrics are taken from the poem ‘Mot Soleglad’, which translates as ‘Towards the Sunset’ and appears in Arne Garborg’s epic cycle ‘Haugtussa’. The words are sung by my former band-mate Kristoffer Rygg from Ulver to whom I am most grateful. They portray the individual under the forces of violent spells, and nature as a mirror of the human soul. Redemption is far away, but ‘there rises from the sea a land of elves… with peaks and moors. It rests so clear against the horizon, in a blue evening tranquility…’. Twilight songs, remember.”
If anybody else were to release an album that sounded as remarkably close as “Haavard” to ULVER’s magical acoustic masterpiece “Kveldssanger”, which stunned the Norwegians’ followers with its radiant beauty in 1996 and that also contained a track entitled ‘Kveldssang II’ that musician would be accused of blatant plagiarism.
Yet guitarist and vocalist Håvard Jørgensen is both, the musical mastermind behind “Kveldssanger” and “Haavard”, which means that his debut album as a solo-artist is in part a legitimate follow-up to ULVER’s folkish excursion into acoustic sounds that he realised with the help of many excellent guest musicians – including vocals by Kristoffer “Garm” Rygg.
Under the banner of HAAVARD, the Norwegian continues his unique artistic approach that unveils the epic and sublime melodies, which are deeply rooted in his native land’s folklore and romantic period composition and that are inherent in and an integral part of Nordic black metal. The guitarist respectfully removes all the harsh electronic fuzz and musical rage that generally drives this style. Through its acoustic and largely instrumental translation, Jørgensen lays bare the spectacular layers of cinematic beauty that hide underneath – and Norway’s fjords and fjell become clearly visible again in his music.
Throughout the 90s, Jørgensen was an integral part of Oslo’s fast rising black metal scene. At the beginning of this musically extremely exciting decade, the guitarist joined ECZEMA, which had been founded by drummer Exhurtum aka Carl-Michael “Aggressor” Eide and bass player Vegard “Wargod” Tønsberg Bakke in 1990. Shortly after Jørgensen had signed up, the trio decided to turn towards black metal and after the later figurehead Satyr had also joined, the four of them continued under the new name SATYRICON.
Jørgensen also joined the black scene’s progressive spearheads ULVER, where he remained a member from the first “Rehearsal” demo from 1993 until “Perdition City” (2001). Yet even after officially leaving, he continued to appear as a guest on later recordings.
Although feeling somewhat disenchanted with black metal after a while, Jørgensen continued to appear in various formations and for example contributed acoustic guitars to MYRKUR’s “M” (2015) and live album “Mausoleum” (2016). In 2019, the guitarist founded new Oslo black metal act DOLD VORDE ENSD NAVN together with three current and former members of DØDHEIMSGARD.
With his passion for the darker side of music re-kindled, Jørgensen decided to pick up the loose ends of the beautiful thread that “Kveldssanger” had left behind with his self-named solo-project HAAVARD. Audibly adding many years of experience, “Haavard” again invites us on an acoustic journey into the beating melodic heart of dark Nordic music. This album is the ‘missing link’ between a modern interpretation of folklore inspired Norwegian music and black metal. And although in a paradoxical twist, the latter seems not to be present on this album, it sure is. Beauty easily has all of us fooled.
Release date: November 11, 2022
Style: Dark Nordic Folk
Håvard Jørgensen – guitars, various synth sounds
Kristoffer “Garm” Rygg – vocals on ‘Mot Soleglad’
Torgeir Waldemar and Kristoffer Rygg – backing voices on ‘Eastwood’
Anders Møller – acoustic percussion
Tore Ylwizaker – keyboards, Mellotron
Lars Nygaard – accordion on ‘Emmanuelle’
Kristine Marie Aasvang – flute on ‘Oberon’, ‘Snøhetta’, ‘Athena’
Ole-Henrik Moe – violin, viola on ‘Heartwood’, ‘Snøhetta’, ‘Eastwood’, ‘Sørgemarsj’
Evan Runge – violin on ‘Printemps’, ‘Oberon’, ‘Emmanuelle’, ‘Niende Mars’, ‘Myrull’, ‘Athena’
Raphael Weinroth-Browne – cello on ‘Printemps’, ‘Oberon’, ‘Emmanuelle’, ‘Niende Mars’, ‘Myrull’, ‘Athena’
(Evan Runge and Raphael Weinroth-Browne appear courtesy of Musk Ox)
Music written, composed and recorded by Håvard Jørgensen (2014-2018)
Guitarrecording at home studio and in Lupercal, Oslo, 2017 and 2018
String arrangements & programmed strings by Håvard Jørgensen
Mixed by Anders Møller at Subsonic Society throughout 2020
Mastered by Vegard Kleftås Sleipnes at Subsonic Society
Artwork by Trine + Kim Designstudio
“Haavard” is available as 2CD 36-page artbook, as gatefold white vinyl 2LP and as a gatefold black vinyl 2LP, and on Digipak CD.