Bel Canto / Radiant Green

Bel Canto / Radiant Green

The new album - out now


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Bel Canto "Radiant Green" (ENG)

Bel Canto returns with a new album "Radiant Green", due for release on April 26th 2024. In 2024, a new chapter unfolds in the history of one of the true pioneers in the electronic music genre - the Tromsø duo, Bel Canto. The new album, 'Radiant Green", brims with creative and musical abundance. It sounds fresh and new while drawing from the unmistakable sonic landscape of the band's remarkable musical treasury. It's been 22 years since Bel Canto last released an album, but now it’s finally due. Following a successful mini-tour, culminating in a memorable concert at the Øya festival in 2017, Drecker and Johansen embarked on the creative process for what they eventually understood would become their next album. The journey has been long, with many notable names contributing to the process, including co-founder of the band Geir Jenssen (Biosphere) and Gilles Martin (Hector Zazou, Tuxedomoon, Zita Zwoon, Indochine), who co- produced the band's first two albums, Erik Ljunggren on co-production and Bergen-based Matias Tellez (Girl In Red, Aurora), who has mixed the album. One of several musical highlights on the album is the track 'Virginia,' co-written with Geir Jenssen. This is a rare duet featuring artist Sondre Lerche, a long-time friend of Anneli's, who has also closely collaborated with Tellez on several of his recent albums. The otherworldly beautiful saxophone solo on the French-language track 'Train Window Girl' (mixed by Gilles Martin) is performed by former label mate Steven Brown from Tuxedomoon. On “Erlkönig”, a poem by Goethe, Anneli again reaches out for the mystic world of folklore tales, also this time in her father ́s tongue German. The band's longtime associated member since 1991, Andreas Eriksen, contributes with percussion, and on 'Wave Without A Shore,' they enlist the help of Frida Fredrikke Waaler Wærvågen on cello and Nils Petter Molvær on trumpet. About Bel Canto: Bel Canto was formed in Tromsø, 1985, by vocalist Anneli Drecker, multi-instrumentalist Nils Johansen, and Geir Jenssen. Together, they created a sound where atmospheric and melancholic tones met elements of folk music from various corners of the world. Today, Tromsø, situated far above the polar circle on the north-east of the country, is well known for its fishing harbour, its university, its spectacular nature, its breweries and, depending on the seasons; its never-ending days or never-ending nights. Nils Johansen, barely twenty years old, had a strong musical background acquired by learning classical violin for ten years. Nils and Geir were looking for a lead singer, and a few months later discovered sixteen-year-old - Anneli Drecker and tempted her away from the synth pop band she was singing in. Anneli had an important background of singing at the time and was already composing music on her own. They spent the whole dark winter season composing and recording demos in Nils´ ́bedroom. Less than a year later, Bel Canto sought refuge with the Belgian indie record company Crammed Discs. Fate was on their side. Their debut album “White-Out Conditions” was out already in 1987 while Anneli was still in high school. The press compared the band to artists such as Dead Can Dance and Cocteau Twins and focused a lot on their unique arctic sound. The following album, “Birds of passage” (Crammed discs/Nettwerk/I.R.S records) was released in 1989. During the making of this album, the band lived in Brussels. But they got homesick, and in 1990 Geir Jenssen left Bel Canto and moved back to Tromsø to pursue his now worldly famous ambient project “Biosphere” while Anneli and Nils moved to Oslo. “Birds of Passage” is as of today considered one of the founding records of what is called the pioneers within the arctic electronica wave, followed by acts such as Röyksopp, Bjørn Torske, Alanïa, Mental Overdrive and Niilas. Both these two albums reached a wide audience in Europe and Canada, due to the bands ́ special arctic sound dominated by Anneli's ethereal voice. The band toured France and central Europe several times and was nominated as the Best Live Band during “Rock en France” in 1991. Their first album as a duo, “Shimmering, Warm and Bright” (WEA/Crammed discs/Columbia/Dali Records), was released in 1992 and propelled Bel Canto into an international band status. Taking advantage of the album success, Bel Canto played more than 150 live dates all over the world, especially in Europe, the States and in Japan. Their long-awaited album “Magic Box” (Lava/Atlantic Records) was released in 1996. The album was recorded in Greenhouse Studio, London and Oslo and included two very special guests: The Can former drummer, Jaki Liebezeit and English bass guitarist and singer Jah Wooble (PiL). Anneli had already worked with Wobble on his 1994 solo album “Take me to God”, which also included guest artists such as Dolores O'Riordan (Cranberries) and Natacha Atlas (Transglobal Underground). “Magic Box” gained the Norwegian Grammy Award ́s price for best POP album. In America, the album rotated on Adult Contemporary Radio Stations while American garage house production and remix team “Masters at Work” ́s remix of the album track “Rumour” filled dance floors all over the West Coast. Their 1998 release “Rush” (St. George/EMI) was a back-to-the-roots album, co-produced by their fellow hometown musician Torbjørn Brundtland (Röyksopp). Recorded in their home-studio in Oslo, “Images” is a mix of cosmopolitan influences as much as a perfect illustration of the arctic sound in the last part of the 1990’s. In 1998 Bel Canto also was invited to come and play in Mexico and to their big surprise, they discovered that they had quite a large fan base over there. The song “Dewy Fields” from the “Birds of Passage” album had been used in a TV-commercial back in the days and when they played the song live, years later, the audience cheered so loud that it was impossible to hear the music through the PA. Bel Canto has since then been back in Mexico a few more times for live shows. In 2000, Anneli released her first solo album "Tundra" (EMI), with Torbjørn Brundtland and Bella Union-founder Simon Raymonde (Cocteau Twins) as co-producers. In 2001, Anneli and Nils started working on a new album and in the meantime released the compilation “Retrospect” to celebrate their 15th anniversary. The album entailed a collection of previous released songs as well as unreleased live recordings. "Dorothy's Victory" (EMI) was released a year later (2002) and took Bel Canto firmly into the new century. The album was composed and recorded in their home-studio in Tromsø, with Torbjørn Brundtland and fellow hometown musician Gaute Barlindhaug (Alanïa, KolarGoi) on additional programming. Over the years, Anneli has released three more solo albums to critical acclaim and collaborated with numerous artists such as Hector Zazou (Sahara Blue), Gavin Friday, Bill Laswell, Gareth Jones (Depeche Mode, Bjørk, Yazoo), Justin Adams (Robert Plant, Jah Wobble), a.o. She has also done world tours and collaborated on albums with both Röyksopp and A-ha, as well as maintaining a two-decade-long duo-project with Norwegian jazz composer Ketil Bjørnstad (ECM). Anneli is an actress and has composed music for film and theatre. Nils Johansen has composed music for TV, film and theatre and was a member of the North Norwegian folk group Vajas. In 2006 they released the album “Sacred Stone” where they combined traditional Sami and Kven music with modern musical expressions.

Bel Canto "Radiant Green" (NOR)

Bel Canto returnerer med ny musikk. I 2024 åpnes det et nytt kapittel i historien om en av de virkelige pionerene innen elektronikasjangeren - Tromsø-duoen Bel Canto. Det nye albumet "Radiant Green", som ble sluppet 26. april 2024, formelig syder av kreativt og musikalsk overskudd. Det låter friskt og nytt, samtidig som det henter opp det umiskjennelige lydbildet fra bandets bemerkelsesverdige musikalske skattkammer, som inkluderer mega-suksessen som "Shimmering, Warm & Bright" og Spellemannpris-vinneren "Magic Box”, for å nevne noen. 22 år har gått siden forrige gang Bel Canto var albumaktuelle, men nå er det endelig dags. Etter en suksessrik miniturné, som kulminerte i en minnerik konsert på Øya-festivalen i 2017, startet Drecker og Johansen den kreative prosessen med låtene til det de etter hvert forsto at måtte bli deres neste album. Veien har vært lang, og mange sterke navn har bidratt i prosessen, som Geir Jenssen aka Biosphere og co-grunnlegger av bandet, og Gilles Martin, som co-produserte bandets første to album, Erik Ljunggren, og Matias Tellez som har mikset det nye albumet. Ett av flere musikalske høydepunkt på det nye albumet, er låten «Virginia», en sjelden duett med Sondre Lerche, som er mangeårig venn av Anneli, og som også har jobbet tett med Tellez på flere av sine siste album. Bandets mangeårige assosierte medlem Andreas Eriksen er med på perkusjon, og på «Wave Without A Shore» har de fått hjelp av Frida Fredrikke Waaler Wærvågen på cello og Nils Petter Molvær på trompet. Den utenomjordisk vakre saksofonsoloen på den franskspråklige «Train Window Girl» spilles av Steven Brown fra Tuxedomoon. Om Bel Canto: Bel Canto ble dannet i 1985 av vokalist Anneli Drecker, multi-instrumentalist Nils Johansen og Geir Jenssen. Sammen skapte de et lydbilde, der atmosfæriske og melankolske toner møtte elementer av folkemusikk fra ulike hjørner av verden. Soundet ble starten på den arktiske elektronika-bølgen, som ble stor og innflytelsesrik langt utover de norske landegrensene på 90- og 2000-tallet. Bel Cantos sjangeroverskridende musikk og Anneli Dreckers vokal ble raskt lagt merke til ute i den store verden, og gruppen var en av de første her til lands som fikk kontrakt med et plateselskap utenfor Norge. Etter debutalbumet "White-Out Conditions” og oppfølgeren “Birds Of Passage”, ble trioen til en duo, da Geir Jensen sluttet for å satse solo under navnet Biosphere. Anneli Drecker har i årenes løp gitt ut en rekke soloalbum, og bidratt på scene og plate med Röyksopp, A-ha og Ketil Bjørnstad. Nils Johansen har komponert for TV og film, og vært medlem av gruppen Vajas.