Norwegian instrumental tropical funk/pop outfit Orions Belte —Øyind Blomstrøm (guitar), Chris Holm (bass) and Kim Åge Furuhaug (drums) — features members who have spent the bulk of their lives and professional careers as touring musicians. Naturally, they’ve been on the road — a lot. When Blomstrøm’s and Holm’s paths crossed for what seemed like the umpteenth time, they bonded over a mutual desire to create instrumental music, and they then decided to start a band together. The duo then recruited Holm’s Bergen scene pal Kim Åge Furuhaug to complete the band’s lineup.
With the release of 2018’s Mint, the Norwegian trio quickly established a genre-defying, style-mashing sound that draws from a wide and eclectic array of sources including 70s Nigerian rock, postcards from the French Riviera, Formula One races at Monza and 1971’s “Fight of the Century” between Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali.
2019’s Slim EP featured inventive reworkings of songs they love by artists they love, including Ghostface Killah‘s “Cherchez La Ghost,” Milton Nascimento‘s Tudo O Que Você Podia Ser”– and an original cut that pays homage to Norwegian beat group The Pussycats and the Mac Miller.
Although the past couple of years have arguably been some of the most challenging years in recent memory for musicians and other creatives, the Norwegian trio managed to remain extremely busy: In 2020, they released a handful of singles including “Bean” and 600m per minute, an EP of experimental compositions that derived its title from an elevator in Tokyo that can transport 40 people at a time a maximum speed of 600 meters per minute. The EP found the trio pushing the boundaries of instrumental music as they possibly could.
2021’s sophomore album Villa Amorini derived its name from a popular Bergen nightclub; the place in town where everything happened — and where you needed to be, to be a part of it. Originally opened in the 80s as a fine dining spot, the business gradually evolved into an extravagant nightclub, where you’d see artists and DJs in loud t-shirts and oversized sunglasses. The album saw the trio meshing elements of underground pop, psych and world music, while further cementing their reputation for their ability to pull in listeners of diverse genres and styles. And with that understanding in mind, it shouldn’t be surprising that the album’s material sets up a particular scene: the energy and vibe of a busy downtown sidewalk with intricately layered arrangements meant to draw you in and leave the listener wondering where it will lead.
A few weeks after Villa Amorini‘s release, the trio followed up with a Lagniappe Session EP in collaboration with Aquarium Drunkard. That June saw the release of their first live album, Scenic Route, which featured recordings from their live-streamed outdoor shows from the previous year.
Continuing their reputation for restless prolificacy, the Norwegian trio released a 3LP box set consisting of a solo album from each member — just like KISS did in 1978, they’ll gladly mention. Released last November through their longtime label home Jansen Records, each individual album in the box set displayed each member’s unique talents and tastes while still being a part of ht larger Orions Belte universe.
- Chris Holm’s solo self-titled album, released in November 21 was a trippy, psych pop affair
- Øyvind Blomstrøm’s solo self-titled album, which was released early last year, featured a funky mix of psych folk, psych funk and psych blues
- Kim Åge Furuhaug solo self-titled album was released last November and coincided with the release of the box set. Furuhaug’s solo album was a sonic left-turn from his work with Orions Belte: The album was a jazz album co-written and co-produced with Matias Tellez that features some of Norway’s finest jazz musicians, including Ole Morten Vågan (upright bass), Andreas Ulvo (piano, keys, organ) and Lars Horntveth (saxophone, clarinet, percussion, guitar).
Today, the trio announced that they will be embarking on a North American tour this Spring that includes stops at Brooklyn Made (March 10), SXSW (March 16-17) , Treefort Festival (March 22) and elsewhere. You can check out the tour dates below. Along with that the acclaimed Norwegian trio share a brand new single, “Silhouettes.” While further cementing their penchant for trippy and funky grooves, “Silhouettes” may arguably be the darkest song of their growing catalog: The song bounces back and forth between ethereal verses and crunchy, earthy guitar riffage paired with soaring hooks, paired with a supple bass line and a cacophonous string arrangement by Norwegian violinist and composer Ola Kvernberg.
“Silhouettes” reveals a mischievous and adventurous group of musicians boldly pushing their sound and approach in new directions while still being rooted in their penchant for trippy grooves.
|North American Tour 2023:|
|3/10 Brooklyn, NYC @ Brooklyn Made|
|3/11 Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda’s|
|3/12 Washington, DC @ Black Cat|
|3/14 Atlanta, GA @ The EARL|
|3/16 Austin, TX @ SXSW|
|3/17 Austin, TX @ SXSW|
|3/19 Denver, CO @ Marquis Theater|
|3/21 Salt Lake City, UT @ The Urban Lounge|
|3/22 Boise, ID @ Treefort Music Festival|
|3/23 Seattle, WA @ High Dive|
|3/24 San Francisco, CA @ The Chapel|
|3/25 Los Angeles, CA @ The Echo|