Kjetil Mulelid


Kjetil Mulelid - Agoja

Label: Odin Records

Release: 22.03.2024

Availabiliy: Vinyl, CD, Digital Streaming


Kjetil Mulelid (piano, wurlitzer, rhodes and synths), Andreas Winther (drums), Lars Horntveth (pedal steel), Bárður Reinert Poulsen (electric- and double bass), Signe Emmeluth (alto sax on A Prayer for Peace), Trygve Seim (tenor sax on A Prayer for Peace and Song for Eliah), Martin Myhre Olsen (tenor sax on Alone, soprano sax on Heroes), Sasha Berliner (vibraphone on Waiting Song), Selma French (violin on Alone), Lyder Røed (trumpet on Chapter, Ø), Mathias Eick (trumpet on Song for Eliah), Arve Henriksen (trumpet and effects on Alone)

4/5        Jazzwise (UK)

4/5        Hifi + 

4,5/5     The Jazz Mann (UK)
        All About Jazz (US)

4/5        UKVIBE (UK)
4/5        Written in Music (NL)

  • Editor's Choice - Jazzwise, March 2024 (UK)
  • Jazz Trotter - France Musique
  • Hot picks from Jazzwise crew April 2024 (UK)

A modern Nordic masterpieceJazzwise (UK)

"It's a bit early to make lists of the year's best records, but I at least dare to claim that this is Easter's best jazz album.” - Dagsavisen” (NO)

"It's jazz because it's not any of the more limiting genres, in truth Agoja is a vision of truth and beauty” - HIFI +

 Kjetil Mulelid's various projects have received international acclaim, ranging from his duo with Siril Malmedal Hauge, his trio, and the quartet Wako. His first solo album, "Piano" (Rune Grammofon, 2021) received plaudits that placed him in the same company as pianists like Keith Jarret, Brad Mehldau, and Bill Evans. With "Agoja" Mulelid demonstrates what a musician and composer worthy of such acclaim can do with an ensemble cast of musicians of the highest calibre.

"For a while, I've had a wish to step into the studio and create an album under my own name, where I can do exactly what I want without worrying about the end result and the musical expression the music should convey, "says Kjetil. "In 2022, I had the plan as ready as it gets and asked many of my good friends and favourite musicians if they wanted to be part of this unfiltered journey. I booked the studio not knowing all the details, but in the subsequent days, a musical world took shape, becoming clearer with each recorded stanza. The result was on its way to becoming a melancholic reflection of life, mixed with a playful tribute to my upcoming next generation - parallel to the album process, I became a father for the first time. "Agoja" was the first approximate word I heard my son say, and I have therefore chosen to name the album just that." 

On "Agoja" three features are immediately apparent. First, that Mulelid's compositions are melodic, yet frequently surprising in their path from their beginning to end; second, that he is a generous band leader, allowing the musicians both to be themselves and to express themselves, often while he merges almost completely into the background; finally, that each composition has its own unique identity, yet bears Mulelid's hallmark clearly and distinctly.

From the album's opening with its insistent bass arpeggios through to the closing tintinnabulations of keyboards and stuttering percussive bass, the carefully mapped explorations take the listener on a journey that traverses many moods and textures. Melodies are stated in unison, but each musician is allowed to break formation to add their own flourishes or accents. Melodic structures that are both emotive and wistful, perhaps nostalgic, and melancholic, inform improvisational monologues, dialogues and trialogues; there are breakdowns towards atmospherics and silence, like moonlight on moving water.
The dramaturgy of each track creates musical events and incidents with an abundance of detail. Some pieces have hymn-like qualities, others a baroque feeling set within a loose shuffling groove, while some have elegiac qualities. Throughout are demonstrations of the power of musical pauses, ascents and cascades of notes, and unexpected syncopations. The music might be intimate and appear close to the listener one moment, then soaring through what feels like a vast contained space the next, before breaking free into a panoramic soundscape. The music is resonant and evocative, filled with a richness of sound, never excessive, always carefully measured; there is always the feeling of unfolding drama, philosophy, emotion. "Agoja" is tone poetry in its truest sense.

“A modern Nordic masterpiece” - Jazzwise 

“This is tone poetry in its truest sense….” - G Point Audio

"We're enjoying the landscapes offered by this superb album” - Le Soir (BE)

"Agoja is at heart melancholy. It is dawn music, but seen from a sleepless night - Freq (UK)

“Agoja” is one of those albums that reveals fresh depths on each repeat listening - The Jazz Mann (UK)

“a beautiful album that offers a great deal of variety with high musical and sonic quality” - Highresmac (DE)

"It's jazz because it's not any of the more limiting genres, in truth Agoja is a vision of truth and beauty" - HIFI+

"The great Norwegian jazz adventure continues. A sober, serious and melodious interpretation." - Dagens Næringsliv (NO)

"Almost sacred themes that develop in the continuum of silence and contemplation and actually blossom here" - Kultkomplott (DE) 

"It's a bit early to make lists of the year's best records, but I at least dare to claim that this is Easter's best jazz album.” - Dagsavisen (NO)

"As Kjetil Mulelid’s star continues to rise, ‘Agoja’ will long stand as a sensational entry within his ever-expanding catalogue of music." - UK VIBE (UK)

All in all, we have a music that is highly seductive on the surface, but also admirably orchestrated in its underpinnings, distilling a remarkably smooth pulse while highlighting skillfully constructed melodies that, in places, make solos unnecessary as the melodic material stands on its own. - Couleursjazz (FR)

"His playing is vivacious, his composing melodic and his overall sound consonant but full of unexpected twists and turns - All About Jazz

"a fresh breath of today's Scandinavian jazz. Kjetil Mulelid is an eloquent pianist, composer and leader whose ideas and bands combine modern jazz with Scandinavian folk anthems, expanding the sound with unrestrained improvised music. - Era Jazzu (PL)

“A lovely record” - Salt Peanuts*


Recorded December 6th-8th 2022 by Mike Hartung in Propeller Music Division, Oslo
Mixed by Bård Ingebrigtsen, Nesodden. Mastered by Karl Klaseie in Øra Mastering, Trondheim
Produced by Kjetil Mulelid, co-produced by Lars Horntveth in Pooka Studio

Cover art by Andreas Gravdal and designed by Nick Alexander

1. ALONE feat.Selma French,Arve Henriksen,Martin Myhre Olsen

2. SONG FOR ELIAH feat. Trygve Seim, Mathias Eick
3. HEROES feat. Martin Myhre Olsen
5. A PRAYER FOR PEACE feat. Trygve Seim, Signe Emmeluth
6. WAITING SONG feat. Sasha Berliner
7. CHAPTER, Ø feat. Lyder Røed