Listening to Homeless Balloon’s 2,5 hours long, 56 track album Music from Wild North feels a bit like reading a massive novel. It just goes on and on. Yet there is not a boring or uninspired moment, and each song has a unique atmosphere. The album is a tribute to Norwegian nature, from the fjords to the snow covered mountains and northern lights. It is a remarkable journey from start to finish.
Music from Wild North is a collection of songs by Helge Krabye, aka Homeless Balloon, composed for the Norwegian nature documentary series “Norske naturperler” (“Wild North”) which was broadcasted on National TV in Norway in January and February 2014. The photos in the videos below are still frames from the television series.
The Sound of Winter
It is not everyday I get to review a 56 track release. The standard CD album is still the most popular format in New Age music, even though today’s music streaming and downloading have no length restrictions. It is also a fact that the “more is less” rule applies to music. That is perhaps why we tend to be skeptical to very long albums. But Krabye has such attention to details, and Music from Wild North is actually not a minute too long. It is a work of art. A BIG work of art.
Krabye uses the same studio set-up throughout the album. You’ll hear the same synths from start to finish (although there are some minor changes here and there). That is a smart move, since it makes the album feel like one release. The negative effect of this is that there is not much variation in sound. But it is impossible to do both, and there is never a dull moment. Music from Wild North is a proof that you don’t need a lot of instruments and effects to make a great album.
The album starts with the song Soria Moria. Here we get the a feel of the nature and atmosphere Krabye is communicating. The song is like an intro to track two, Dark Fjord. It paints a wonderful picture of the cold, black water and the landscape with fjords. Most of the songs are between 2 and 3 minutes long, although there are some longer songs as well – such as Norwegian Landscape in Four Parts, (9 minutes) and When Autumn Comes (5 minutes). There’s also included two Continuous Mixes that divides the album in two parts of 75 and 73 minutes, so you can listen to the album with minimal track breaks. My favorite songs on the album are Wherever the River Runs and Echoes from the Valley.
In conclusion; Music from Wild North is a magnificent and quite different album. It’s perfect as background music for relaxation or create work. It’s also a bargain, since you here get a massive amount of music for the price of one album.
If you want to experience the wilderness of Norway, you just have to put on Music from Wild North and close your eyes. It really is an unforgettable journey.
Score: 94/100 – See how I rate music here
The whole album is available for streaming and purchase below;