Afenginn, aka composer Kim Rafael Nyberg, is one of the leading voices of Scandinavian neo-folk, known for his ambitious orchestrated works. Some would say what defines this artist are his seemingly mercurial creative impulses, as each of the 6 full-length albums have been clear departures from the last. However on closer inspection one finds Nyberg has been steadily and meticulously developing a musical language that is based on the same fundamental investigation - how to combine nearly familiar motifs with asymmetric rhythmic and harmonic developments so as to guide the listener into a dusky borderland rife with epistemological shape shifting. Common in his compositions is the use of minimalistic patterning (akin to the techniques of Philip Glass and Arvo Pärt), which fluctuate between creating a tidal propulsion and a sense of austere fragility. This is consistently contrasted against epic post-rock swells that are both sensual and disbanding. For the greater part of Nyberg’s career his albums, and the concerts that have accompanied these releases, have been through-composed. For the same reasons that Radiohead is sometimes labeled as prog, Afenginn can also be put into this camp for the way the emotional arc is designed to build across a whole performance. Themes and grooves expand across songs and the instruments are orchestrated to continuously shift roles, all which effectively pulls the audience into the band’s otherworld. Though it’s clear Nyberg’s artistic temperament is decisively independent and uncompromising, what sets his music apart from many fellow iconoclasts is a tendency for his writing to be imbued with warmth and compassion. One leaves an Afenginn concert feeling that they have feasted at the table of a most gracious host, filled by courses rich with untamable longings.
The latest Afenginn work, Opus is a chamber pop symphony in four movements, each with its own distinct color and mood, from dreamy to explosive. With an ensemble of violin, mandolin, clarinet, trombone, marimba, cello, and drums, all subtly contorted by electronic effects, Nyberg ties together his far-flung influences of nordic folk, contemporary classical, and post-rock music with ingenuity and grace, creating a fiercely imaginative piece. Primarily instrumental, each movement of Opus pivots around a near-apocalyptic text sung by Ólavur Jákupsson and written by Nyberg’s childhood friend Timo Haapaniemi in an invented language playfully based on Latin.
2017: Carl Prisen 2017: "Composer of the Year - Roots"
2016: Danish Music Awards - Folk: "Composer of the Year"
2016: Danish Music Awards - Folk: "Album of the Year"
2016: Danish Music Awards - World: "Composer of the Year"
2016: Danish Music Awards - World: "Best Live Act