Afenginn – Opus

Album Review | Westpark | Review by Liam Wilkinson | Stars: 3/5

Opus is the sixth release from Danish outfit Afenginn and, perhaps, the most suitably titled of the bunch. The album is, in fact, a symphony of four movements inspired by the “uncontrollable, unforeseeable, yet still somehow navigable” nature of life. Indeed, the album was directly inspired by an accident that left composer and band leader Kim Rafael Nyberg stranded in Tasmania for forty days. Form the slowly-building heartbeat rhythms of its opening, the organism that is Opus seems to discover itself via its many small and intriguing parts. In just a few minutes, the album gathers impressive momentum, taking on infectious Eastern European rhythms and chord structures via pieces such as “Bordrone”, “Rasende Tabul” and the effervescent “Akkapolska”. The musicianship is nothing less than awe-inspiring, with a thirteen-strong line up of clarinetists, percussionists, mandolinists, citternists and violinists to name just a few and not to mention the inclusion of a Bulgarian female choir. And whilst much of the album presents a criss-crossing exploration of instrumental folk and classical styles, there is also a sprinkling of captivating vocals from Ólavur Jákupsson who provides the haunting, chant-like harmonies on “Luna Televisio” and the heartfelt “Partiro Futile”. Nyberg has been quoted as saying that Opus is “more like a long-term relationship than a one-night stand”, affirming his right to make a big and long-lasting statement in a world that appears to be obsessed with small and instant gratification. The eighteen tracks that make up this grand musical statement proudly substantiate their composer’s philosophy in their ability to be ornate, exhilarating and satisfyingly proud of themselves.