Welcome to the world of hygge. Even if you hear hygge for the first time, the idea might not be completely foreign to you. Briefly put, that is how Danes call finding happiness in small pleasures. The philosophy of hygge is universal. Everyone can practice hygge, regardless of who you are and where you are. In a way, it is like a compass that guides us towards the magic of everyday life through moments of happiness that can’t be bought. Particularly good conditions for hygge may prevail in current stay-at-home times. We light a fireplace, reheat something to eat, and take out board games. We have more space for reflection. Malene Rydahl, Danish writer specialising in happiness, believes that “we could be ourselves and have the courage to strive for a happy, meaningful life.

Hygge takes many shapes and forms; everyone understands it in their own way. In each volume of this new series on Good Because Danish, we will select eight pieces of fresh music from Danish artists. For the premiere edition, we have composed a guide with eight gems released in the past 12 months. The collection consists of orchestral, poignant, film-score-like variations to bring you some hyggestemning (eng. hygge-atmosphere).

When visitors come to Earth and find the remnants of our destroyed civilization, I hope that this will be among the debris and garbage we have left. Then they will say, “despite all their failures, they did create this…

Søren Stensby – Into Colouring Spaces (2020) 

Søren Stensby is one of Denmark’s most innovative violinists, also known as a member of such bands as Tako Lako, Mother Lewinsky, and Firs. Stensby’s music is the intersection of ambient electronica, nordic folk, and contemporary neo-classical music. Recently, he released an EP Into Colouring Spaces in collaboration with classical pianist Andreas Brody.

If you have Ólafur Arnalds, Nils Frahm, or Hildur Guðnadóttir in your playlist, you might want to check this out as well. “Into Colouring Spaces” is my favourite instrumental song I have heard in 2020 so far. It is also one of the most underrated. Above all, in the live track we can feel the warm flashes of Søren’s sensitive and artistic soul. The effort he put into building the song gives you everything you need from this kind of music: relaxation, alluring atmosphere and, finally, emotion and goosebumps.

photo by Morten Rygaard

JÆRV – Det Næste Rum (Kriger, 2019)

JÆRV is a dream-pop duo project of Amanda Glindvad (vocals) and Mathias Pedersen Smidt (synths and production). In 2019 they released their debut album Kriger after dropping several EPs and singles over the previous few years.

Det Næste Rum” (eng. The Next Space) is a song about vanishing from a place, from a delusive room of careless eternity. At one moment, by mistake, you can find yourself in a place you didn’t want to go. The aftermath of that teleportation makes you realise that some things pass to never come back. This musical odyssey full of poetic metaphors may cause passage of your most hidden flashbacks. “Det Næste Rum” makes something “click” in your brain and carries you from one space of contemplation to the next space awaiting.

photo by Stinna Skrivergaard

MALMØ – Farewell Roaring Ocean, Pt. III (The Inevitable End, 2020)

MALMØ is an Aarhus-based project featuring the unique voice and songwriting of Maria Malmoe. They debuted in 2018 with a full-length release “We Come from the Stars” promoted by two singles You and The Way. Now, MALMØ are launching their forthcoming four-part EP “The Inevitable End“. On their social media, you can already hear “Frostbite (Pt. I)”, “Bleed Me Dry (Pt. II)” and “Farewell Roaring Ocean (Pt. III)”. Each part represents a different way of the world collapsing if we do not change our behaviour.

The third part “Farewell Roaring Ocean” is an ecstatic masterpiece combining instruments with Maria Malmoe’s vocals. The feelings captured in the song beautifully resonate with a music video produced by Kasper Vindeløv and Noemi Müller. MALMØ themselves describe it as “a song about bidding farewell to the vast oceans as we know them. Despite water levels and water temperatures rising, we remain consumed by material desires and perceived needs when we should be looking towards nature while there is still time.

photo by Benjamin Magnussen

Where Did Nora Go – Surrounded by Light (Womb of Life, 2019) 

Where Did Nora Go is the moniker of Astrid Nora, Danish singer-songwriter and instrumentalist. Her music style mixes atmospheric jazz, cinematic pop, and orchestra, impressing us since 2012. Astrid Nora’s distinctive voice and a rare sense of empathy have been compared to the likes of Kate Bush, Bjórk or Ane Brun. The latest EP Womb Of Life came out in 2019 in collaboration with Brian Batz, Jacob Haubjerg, and Anders Bach.

Starting with the drums, “Surrounded by Light” is the first song on the beautiful 5-track EP. The cleverly-built song introduces us into Astrid’s womb of life, vibrating with a warm and somewhat spiritual strength. She warns us that darkness and evil collected in the past may undermine us and leech on our energy. When you let go of them, you will climb up to heaven, surrounded by healing and soothing light. It is one of those rare songs that truly bring you relief.

Agnes Obel – Myopia (2020)

Agnes Obel is a Berlin-based, Danish-born singer/songwriter and pianist. Her music is a blend of cinematic pop, jazz, classical and electronic styles. Her latest full-length work Myopia (2020) is a spell-book that empowers you with 10 pieces of rapturous magic. Enter with caution, as they can blur your existence for a moment, taking you far away.

Myopia” is placed in the middle of the same-titled album, embracing all the songs, especially instrumentals, into an immense and lucid gem. From the beginning, the rhythmic arrangement gives you chills. It evokes senses from previous spells on the play-track, and may echo with you until the end. “Myopia” is a piece of high-quality music showing all its beauty when you close your eyes.

Nana Jacobi – Sneblind (2019)

Nana Jacobi is a singer-songwriter and film music composer with three full-length albums behind her back. She is one of the founders of the HUN SOLO platform that unites female musicians. Nana’s music channels cinematic vibes, sensual pop and delivers goosebump-worthy live experiences. Her work has been featured in several film soundtracks in Denmark.

Sneblind” (eng. Snowblind) single came out in November 2019 with a delightful music video. It is the prelude to her first full-length release consisting songs in Danish. “Sneblind enchanted me from the very first notes. It is a classic mix of nordic folk, blended with electronic samples and built on Nana’s impressive vocals. Besides, the Danish lyrics enhance the folk atmosphere with mystical radiation. The whole masterpiece is perfectly visualised in the music video produced by Ewa Mos. “Sneblind” is about a bewitched winter. The snow casts a blinding glare of light, making one doubt the surrounding reality, unable to see the truth.

The Remaining Part – Wolf And Moon (Northern Tales, 2020)

The Remaining Part are a Danish-German trio of composers, songwriters, and performers: Maxi Menot, Sharyhan Osman and Line Bøgh. In March 2020 they released first full-length album Northern Tales – The Windy Coast Of St. Ives in cooperation with German Film Orchestra Babelsberg. The ladies have created an epic compilation of orchestral tracks intertwined with vocal harmonies.

The song “Wolf And Moon” emphasises their superior vocal tones and techniques. Stylistically, it might remind you of a mix of Aurora, Clannad, and Enya. The Remaining Part‘s divine voices channel the vibrations of Nordic myths. Whenever I play it in my headphones, I forget about the world, for I am teleported into a medieval land of elves, dragons, magic and castles.

GO BY LUCK – Welcome to the rest of your life (misophonia, 2020)

GO BY LUCK is a solo project of Gustav Borch Lützhøft, Danish music producer. He spent the past three years in a fragile and inspiring process of developing his first full-length, hour-long album misophonia. Every day we are surrounded by sounds that most people do not pay much attention to. But for some people, specific sounds and noises may trigger strong reactions. This condition is called misophonia. The album’s core is based on a multiverse of instrumentals, sounds of nature, vocals, and texturised synths.

Welcome to the rest of your life” is a conceptual electronic song based on dreamlike instrumental parts. In other words, it is a hypnotic and relaxing song that may give the listener a lot to think about as it plays on repeat. Every time I listen to “Welcome to the rest of your life“, it makes me re-arrange my thought processes and imagination.

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