Best of 2021 in music

Ingebrigt Håker Flaten – (EXIT) KNARR

Quest for a sound
A story of progress and resistance, love and homesickness

You can imagine the journey of Ingebrigt Håker Flaten, bass player and composer, as an odyssey in a Viking ship of classic ‘knarr’ construction, with its long range, high speed and strong seaworthiness in a storm. His story can also be told purely in music, as he does in the commissioned work (Exit) Knarr. The piece is divided into six destinations along the route – a tribute to the people, music and places that have shaped him.

‘Miles Ave’. Ingebrigt has always chosen the path of greatest resistance. Many of his bass playing colleagues reckon playing with gut strings is like trying to run a farm with a horse and cart after you’ve bought a tractor. The sheer willpower and physical effort required to make his instrument sing are clearly audible in the music. Another self-imposed stumbling block is the difficulty of getting work in a foreign country – but Ingebrigt has steadily worked his way towards finally obtaining the holy grail – his very own Green Card. After living for a while in the USA, a combination of music and love led him to Austin, Texas, where he spent the longest time in one place in his whole life. He got married and divorced there. He formed his band the Young Mothers, and founded the Sonic Transmissions festival. Both the group and the event carry the unmistakable Håker Flaten signature: desire and longing, zeal and melancholy, inspiration and a sweaty passion to communicate. Listen to the moment, two minutes and ten seconds in, when he kicks everything off. The tears will start running down your cheeks two minutes later, as Eivind Nordset Lønning reaches for the heavenly high notes – damn, is this what hope sounds like?