Emil de Waal I drums, music box, percussion
Elith “Nulle” Nykjær I clarinet
Søren Kjærgaard I keyboards
Gustaf Ljunggren I banjo, tenor saxophone, guitar
1. Handmade in Denmark
3. The Sound of Silence
5. Medley: Cirkeline har fødselsdag/Bim, Bam, Busse
1. Min nordiske bror
4. Den dumme prins
EMIL de WAAL
Handmade In Denmark
released 24 June 2022
→ Order From Bandcamp Here
Emil de Waal’s 2021 release Vente re-introduced the world to a free-spirited Danish group with a nostalgic sensibility and a style which runs from trad jazz, to guitar-led country music and bubbling organ-led grooves.
But in much the same way that their music rewards patience and attention, so too does their back-catalogue.
Having joined forces with happening Danish label April Records during covid, they are set to re-release their 2015 offering Handmade In Denmark for an international audience – and with a first-time vinyl edition.
That’s not to say it slipped the net completely last time around; renowned jazz writer Dave Sumner certainly caught it, describing the magical bond between the musicians and music which hits “that dreamy sweet-spot between wakefulness and a night of peaceful sleep.”
But for those new to the party, it gives a chance to map the early iteration of a group whose playing expertly mixes a certain timeless quality with a seemingly unending stream of fresh ideas.
The fascinating line-up sees 80-year old clarinet legend Elith “Nulle” Nykjær with jazz-rock-pop drummer Emil de Waal, pensive Swedish multi-instrumentalist Gustaf Ljunggren and original group keyboardist Søren Kjærgaard.
Writing the liner notes, Danish newspaper critic Henrik Palle notes: “These four diverse musicians share a deeply rooted love of music as a phenomenon which enables them to connect on a level above age, ethnicity and musical background.
And as they stand on that level, playing their hearts out, they transcend into a sphere of congenial creativity. The reciprocal inspiration is flaming.”
Approaching improvisation with an almost childlike curiosity, De Waal’s warm drum sound underpins the woody clarinet, the gentle throb of the organ and carefully chosen colours from steel guitar, mandola, celeste, marimba and more…
Taken as a whole, the nine-tracks are eminently unclassifiable. From “part 1970s tv theme song, part new cool collective jam, and 100% catchy” (Bird Is The Worm) to intricate and rhythmically gifted melodies, there’s something for everyone to discover.
And finally, as Palle points out, the album answers that burning question of what folk duo Simon & Garfunkel’s iconic The Sound of Silence would sound like without vocals, played on a tin can music box..!