Tony André Johannessen - lead vocals
Morten Andreas Eriksen - electric & acoustic guitars
Kristian Karl Hultgren - bass guitar & saxophone
Lars Fredrik Frøislie - keyboards & vocals
Martin Nordrum Kneppen - drums & percussion
Aage Moltke Schou - percussion (Hinterland & Rubato Industry)
Ulrik Gaston Larsen - theorbo & baroque guitar (Hinterland)
Pauliina Fred - recorder (Hinterland)
Ketil Vestrum Einarsen - flute & backing vocals, vocal arrangements (Hinterland, Clair Obscur & Rubato Industry)
Michael Bennet - artwork & design
Øystein Vesaas - engineer
Jens Petter Nilsen - mastering
Erik Skjerve - band photo
Recorded and mixed at Lydkjøkkenet in Oslo, Norway, June 19, 2004 thru February 27, 2005. Additional recordings made at LFF Studios
Remixed by Lars F. Frøislie in 2015/2016
Remastered by Jens Petter Nilsen in 2016
Released in two vinyl editions:
Limited edition of 350 copies on black vinyl
Limited edition of 200 copies on blue and golden vinyl
Gatefold cover with info sheet
Album notes from the vinyl edition of Hinterland
The Past is a Foreign Country. No matter how you look at it, all moods, impressions and feelings inevitably have a tint of fiction when trying to recall them and tell “how it really was”. All creators of such narratives more or less have to rely on that elusive tool memory. This recap is no exception. Digging into the how and why of it and writing this is a journey to a foreign country for both us and you.
Hinterland is our first album; it took us from obscurity to becoming part of the progressive rock world community. Wobbler started way back in 1999, when we were high on progressive rock from the sixties and seventies and wanted to create something on our own, but it took five years for us to release our first album. Before that we had made a couple of demo recordings. The demos got the attention of the Laser´s Edge label and an album proposal was made. Being a small band in a small genre in small Norway and realising that you had a contract with an American label was quite absurd. The easy way to go would have been to rework the demo recordings, but nothing is easy when it comes to Wobbler and composition. We already had new ideas flowing and chose to record an album with only new material. Clair Obscur and Rubato Industry, along with the title song were us jumping into deep waters willingly.
We barricaded ourselves in our rehearsal house on Lars´ family farm. In the semi-open basement, the penned family dogs would occasionally make their presence known, along with the pigs in the barn close by. A large part of early Wobbler is rooted in that house and the surrounding countryside. The front door to the house can be seen in the picture above. Putting five strong personalities in a small room with a deadline is not always a sound decision. The song Hinterland, for instance, was actually only 12 minutes long, but we added transitions and new parts all the time. “Added” may come across as a friendly description. In fact, we were fighting like crazy to get our individual ideas heard. Literally that is. Objects were thrown and doors slammed shut. The lyrics of Rubato Industry describe musical components like entities of their own, flowing and ebbing like the tide. The real tide back then was flowing between intense joy and extreme frustration. Between us we had a cornucopia of musical influences. Progressive rock, black metal, classical, heavy metal and to some extent, jazz. That said, the only walking bass was Kristian walking to his rig and turning up the volume to compensate for the over-the-top mellotron.
We were young and inexperienced, there´s no denying it. Especially with regards to studio work. The studio in question was Lydkjøkkenet owned by Øystein Vesaas and without his goodwill Hinterland would never have seen the light of day. When all time schedules were blown he gave us access on our own. Lars slept in that studio and worked his ass off to mix and do the best he could with the sum of our combined inexperience. Recording a 30-minute song in studio is a lot different than playing it out live. Less is more was not a concept we adhered to in those days. We still don´t really, but a line has to be drawn somewhere. In 04/05 no hand to draw it was in sight.
Excerpts from our memories: The studio was located in a rather shady part of Oslo, junkies and working girls were a part of our day; reworking the lyrics of Hinterland on napkins; spending a whole day just trying our different microphones for all instruments; six guys crowding around the drum kit, unable to fathom the best microphone positioning; the vintage 1973 drum sticks bought off Ebay that broke on the third stroke; the constant evaluation whether or not any of it were any good at all.
Being locked inside a studio is a lonely experience. In addition to Øystein Vesaas, Ketil Vestrum Einarsen and Jacob Holm-Lupo were responsible for us surviving the stay and the final output. Jacob for being immensely supportive; the only person outside the band being wildly enthusiastic. Ketil for arranging vocal parts and of course his excellent musicianship.
Every musician worth his or her salt wants to present the best possible result. For a young progressive rock band in a proper studio for the first time that quickly escalated to epic proportions. We still think it paid off, though. Then, why a reissue? Firstly, to release the album on vinyl for the first time really means a lot. More importantly it´s safe to say that the remix you´re now holding sounds a lot more like the Hinterland we always wanted. The hubris of inexperience is now combined with a lot more post-production technical know-how. The joy of hearing the new mix is something we would very much like to share with the world. It´s also eleven years since the original release, a rather progressive jubilee, no?
So a little hubris still retains and probably always will. The past is a foreign country but luckily it´s possible to build upon it. Hinterland was our starting point but if it´s your first time listening to the album, this is indeed the present. Either way, we hope you enjoy our Hinterland. Play it loud!
Wobbler - past & present.