Gold comes in many carats, but rarely as noble as Band of Gold’s eponymous debut album. Because, what began as a pile of homemade demo recordings by singer, composer and multi-instrumentalist Nina Elisabeth Mortvedt, now appears as a gilded whole. In co-operation with the duo’s other half, musician and producer Nikolai Hængsle Eilertsen, Band of Gold has become a timeless album, full of musical details, the urge to explore and the genuine art of songwriting. An album crammed with ambitious pop music, just like good and innovative pop music is meant to sound like in 2015.

There’s a lot of heart and soul behind Band of Gold, but also many working hours and long thought processes. For Nikolai it soon became clear that the goose bumps her music gave him wasn’t a coincidence, when he approached the song sketches Nina had sent him. Beautiful but desperate songs with her ethereal voice and a backing track consisting of a one-string guitar and Prince samples. He soon realized that his role in this project would go far beyond the traditional role of a producer.

Listen to 'The Parade' BELOW:

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Band of Gold is a record where a lot of time has been spent in the studio. Not necessarily a lot of time on the perfect take, but a lot of time has been spent on experimenting towards the perfect detail and shade. Nina and Nikolai are the architects who have brought in musicians that have been able to process their joint musical ideas instead of colouring the music.

Olaf Olsen (Todd Terje, Bigbang), Tomas Pettersen (King Midas) and Kenneth Kapstad (Motorpsycho, Møster!) appear on drums, while Dungen guitarist Reine Fiske has contributed on guitar and bass. Various keyboards have been played by Morten Qvenild (In The Country) and David Wallumrød, while Lars Horntveth (Jaga Jazzist) has written arrangements for horns that he plays himself along with Ketil Vestrum Einarsen and Erik Johannesen. On the final track, “For You”, Martin Hagfors contributes with his vocals.

But first and foremost this is the work of Nina and Nikolai. A musical freedom project where they can live out their taste in music to the full. With their very different backgrounds from jazz to country and rock, both have visited overgrown musical paths, but most of all they have trodden new paths. Electronic and acoustic sounds are mixed in new and exciting ways and form a warm and organic soundtrack around Nina’s characteristic vocals.

From the hypnotic “But In The Movie Baby” to the epic “Ready”. From the electronic “Wishes” to the grandiose debut single “The Parade”. Band of Gold has become a varied album with Mortvedt’s universe of lyrics as the definitive thread. Lyrics about trying to get on with your life after a tragedy, about change when everything is about to unravel. About pulling yourself up and looking forward. This is an album with enough musical highlights for a lifetime.

These times really are golden.

Xsnoize Author
Mark Millar is the founder of XS Noize and looks after the daily running of the website as well as conducting interviews for the XS Noize Podcast. Mark's favourite album is Achtung Baby by U2.

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