And so we embarked upon our maiden voyage, in a tall ship powered by dynamos and windmills, provisioned with pemmican and Aquavit and Kvik Lunsj bars...that last bit, at least, is true. Kvik Lunsj is Norwegian for a Kit-Kat, as we discovered on our trip to Oslo last week, where we played our first live show in the Sound of Mu, got thoroughly snowed upon, and frolicked amid Viking ships, arctic crows and stone totem poles made out of bottoms.
Norway is home to some of our favourite music, so it was the perfect place to play for the first time. Sound Of Mu is one of Oslo's best little venues, a tiny shop/bar/art space in the Grunelokka area that programmes DIY/improv/whatever they like. We got there to find it was done out like a makeshift casino as part of the current art installation, the mixing desk balanced on a roulette table.
I got to borrow a beautiful old Vox bass amp (below) and Mark got to soundcheck with a snowman. The other bands of the night were Dacianos, song-stories written by our super host Barry Kavanagh, and Layers Of The Onion, aka Fredrik Ness Sevendal and Martin Powell, who laid down some proper strung-out psych drones with 12-string guitar, antique zither from the shop across the road, cutlery and pedals. One of the reasons Mu is such a special venue is that people go there to really listen - the music's often quiet, and everyone respects that. By the time we started to play, it felt as if a beautifully still, slightly charged atmosphere had been established, which was compounded by the snow outside turning from gentle pattering to full-on static storm. I found myself staring at it while playing the bass, zoning out in the pattern of flakes in streetlamp-light. Mu is a former shop; they've kept the big front window as it was so everyone and see in and out. It takes a bit of getting used to, but I was glad of it when the snow started, like having our own special visuals laid on.
We took the next few days to admire Norwegian boat-building skills at the Viking boat and Fram museums, have long conversations with Oslo friends and introduce Mark to the strange wonder that is Vigelandsparken. We recorded crows and footsteps in snow, and we also recorded our gig, from which you can hear a song below. This blog isn't the best place to host photos but I'll put a link to some more when they're uploaded...
...in the meantime here's an on-board burial chamber from the Viking boat museum.
The Awakener (live) by noise immemorial