Savoy preparing to release new album

Savoy live in Tromsø, October 2004 (Picture by Suzie Dent)

Savoy are now finally preparing to release their much-awaited sixth studio album, the first release since 2007’s career retrospective Savoy Songbook Vol. 1 and the first new studio album since 2004’s self-titled Savoy album.

This week Frode Unneland has visited Paul and Lauren in New York, where they have done a photo session, been in the studio and worked on a music video with director Jason Brandenberg.

Last month Brandenberg was directing a music video for a new Savoy song called “Night Watch”, so this week’s shoot may be additional scenes for that video.

The “Night Watch” video is described as follows in an online casting call: “The lives of two teens and other insomniac inhabitants of a housing project turn surreal and disturbing on a sweltering summer night”.

But this is not the first music video shoot for the new album. Back in August, Paul and Lauren were in Los Angeles to do a music video for the song “January Thaw”, which was described as having “a mid-1940s avant-garde feel, in the style of Maya Deren films” in another casting call. The plot; “Two women playing cat’s cradle are spooked by the arrival of a mysterious cloaked figure”.

A couple of pictures from the “January Thaw” video shoot were posted by Lauren on Instagram:  Picture 1    Picture 2

The book Tårer fra en stein mentions two other songs on the new album; “Manmade Lake” – which Paul already released as a solo single in 2014 – and “Falls Park”.

“On the Savoy album we’re recording now there’s a song called “Falls Park”, which I found in one of my old notebooks a while ago and played for Lauren. She really liked it and thought it was a brand new song that I had written the day before. But I actually wrote it when I was 16″, Paul tells Ørjan Nilsson in the book.

The new album has been in the making for quite a while. Back in April 2014, Paul said they were going to finalize the album that summer, but that apparently didn’t happen. In November 2015, Frode joined the others for a recording session at the Clubhouse studio in Rhinebeck, New York. In October 2016, Paul said he was currently mixing the Savoy album with Steve Osborne and that he was “super excited” about it. In January 2017 he said the album had been mastered and would probably be released in September. Now it looks like it’s coming in early 2018.

“It’s been really fun returning to Savoy now, because the songs sound so fresh. One of the songs on the new album was written for a short film I directed (Scent of a Woman), so this time the songs have come from a variety of places. Many of the songs have been written by Paul in our house in Woodstock, and they are really beautiful”, Lauren says in the book.

Be sure to follow Paul, Lauren and Frode on Instagram for more Savoy updates.

BTW, a petition has been started to get Tårer fra en stein translated into English. You can add your support by signing the petition here.

The Voice: Third live show

Morten with Sebastian and Dina at rehearsals this week

Another Friday and another episode of The Voice, live from Fornebu.

This time two talents from each team were up against each other in duels, but the final result was all decided by viewers’ votes. At the end of the show, only four of tonight’s talents would remain in the contest.

“Everyone on stage tonight are talented and have fantastic possibilities. Setting them up in duels feels like somewhat of a joke, but that’s what we’re doing now”, Morten said at the beginning. “But it’s meant to be like this, and I’m totally OK with that”.

Team Martin
Maria Celin Strisland: “Stone Cold” by Demi Lovato
Malin Joneid Ellefsen: “Purple Rain” by Prince

Team Morten
Dina Sæle Ek: “Uprising” by Muse
Sebastian James Hekneby: “Empire State of Mind” by Alicia Keys

Team Lene
Lillen Stenberg: “It Must Have Been Love” by Roxette
Thomas Løseth: “Heaven” by Bryan Adams

Team Yosef
August Dahl: “Want To Want Me” by Jason Derulo
Kaja Rode: “I’m Every Woman” by Chaka Khan

“Tonight Dina did a good performance, but I feel that Sebastian maybe did his best performance so far”, Morten said after his own team members had been on stage.

The four talents that received the most votes from the viewers, and are now one step closer to the finals, were Malin, Sebastian James, Thomas and August. The other four are out of the contest.

Earlier this week, Morten made a quick trip to Cologne, Germany, to be a guest on the TV-show “Die 2 – Gottschalk & Jauch gegen ALLE”, which will air on RTL sometime in November.

a-ha concert in Hamar announced

From a-ha’s outdoor concert in Bergen, May 2016 (Picture by Jakob)

A fifth and final outdoor concert in Norway next summer has been announced today; a-ha will be playing in the city of Hamar on 14 August 2018.

The concert will be held at Stortorget (main square) in Hamar, which has a capacity of 10,000 people. Previous shows at Stortorget have included Sting and Elton John.

Tickets go on sale on Tuesday, 31 October, through Ticketmaster. There will also be a fan presale the day before.

This will be the first time a-ha perform in Hamar. Savoy played there in 2004.

Elsewhere, the a-ha concert in Trondheim on 15 August has sold out, and the concert at Kongsberg Jazz Festival on 6 July has sold 9000 out of 12000 tickets so far.

Articles:
A-Ha kommer til Stortorget
a-ha til Stortorget i Hamar – på en tirsdag

Apparatjik to perform in Poland

Magne on stage with Apparatjik in Bergen, 3 June 2016

Last month Magne paid a visit to Szczecin in Poland, which was mentioned by the Szczecin Philharmonic Hall on Facebook.

In an interview with Dagbladet (paywall) about his new Imprints book and the Summer Solstice album, Magne mentions the reason why he was in Poland:

“I recently visited Szczecin in Poland, to check out the concert hall where I’ll be performing with Apparatjik during the Music and Design Festival next year. That gave me an opportunity to hear Szczecin Philharmonic Orchestra rehearsing a symphony by Mieczyslaw Karlowicz, which sounded wonderful and was a nice discovery for me.”

The exact date is yet to be confirmed, but this will be Apparatjik’s first live performance since Day of the Dead feat. Buika and Void during Bergen International Festival in June 2016. Check out an extended video from Day of the Dead recently posted by Void here.

The Voice: Second live show

Martin Bjercke and Morten Harket on The Voice, October 20th

This Friday it was time for the ten remaining talents on Team Morten and Team Martin to perform on The Voice, live from H3 Arena.

A few moments in the beginning were spent talking about a-ha’s performance at Wembley the night before:

“We didn’t play a concert last night, we did one song live. “Take On Me” acoustically, with a pump organ. There’s a crowd of 8000 people, and it happens right there and then, in 3 minutes. ‘Now you’re on, Morten’ – out on stage, almost right back in and you’re done. And that’s what our talents will be experiencing tonight, it’s the same thing”, Morten said.

Here are video clips of the five talents on Team Morten:
Isabelle Eberdean Bjørneraas: “Crazy” by Seal
Dina Sæle Ek: “Darkness, Darkness” by The Youngbloods
Knut Kippersund Nesdal: “Personal Jesus” by Depeche Mode
Sebastian James Hekneby: “Sound of Silence” by Simon & Garfunkel
Ingeborg Walther: “So Good” by Zara Larsson

Sebastian and Ingeborg received the most votes from the viewers, while Morten had to choose between Isabelle, Dina and Knut. He chose the last two, and Isabelle is out of the contest.

TV2 has posted a picture of Morten with his remaining four talents on Instagram. And as usual, videos of all 10 performances are up on on TV2’s YouTube channel.

a-ha at BBC Children in Need concert

The SSE Arena, Wembley, October 19th
(Screenshot from YouTube video)

a-ha performed one song, the acoustic version of “Take On Me”, at the “BBC Children in Need Rocks the 80s” charity concert at The SSE Arena, Wembley in London on Thursday night, October 19th.

They were joined on stage by Martin Terefe on pump organ, who has arranged and co-produced this new version of the song on MTV Unplugged – Summer Solstice.

A video of the performance can be seen on YouTube (thanks to Chris).

Some pictures of a-ha on the red carpet have been posted on Getty Images.

The concert is set to air on TV sometime next month.

While in London, Paul posted a few pictures on Instagram and promised “lots of Savoy news coming soon”.

The Voice: First live show

Morten on The Voice, October 13th

Morten was back at Fornebu’s H3 Arena in Oslo on Friday, for this season’s first live show of The Voice.

As there were now 20 talents remaining in the contest, only the 10 talents on Team Lene and Team Yosef performed during Friday’s show. Morten and Martin’s 10 talents will perform next Friday, October 20th.

Among the best performances on Friday were Agnes and Thomas on Team Lene, and Kaja and Jeremaya on Team Yosef. Jeremaya was previously on Team Morten.

Two talents had to leave the contest; Ida on Team Lene and Mirjam on Team Yosef.

All 10 performances are available on TV2’s YouTube-channel.

Morten talked a bit about his role as a mentor on The Voice during the BBC Radio Devon interview last week:

“It is interesting and it makes sense to me to make use of all I know at this stage, with my experience after all this time and being sort of on the arena as much as I have been. There are lot of things that I instantly can say about a performance and about the psychological aspects of what goes on in the head or in the heart of whoever is on stage. What is holding them back, for instance. What is blocking their access to themselves. There are things I know that I can offer as insight.”

‘Tårer fra en stein’ to be published in German

Munich-based publishing company Riva has secured the rights to a German edition of Ørjan Nilsson’s book about Paul Waaktaar-Savoy, NTB reports via Gaffa.no.

The book is set to be published sometime in February/March 2018 and will be translated by Daniela Stilzebach, who has previously translated Norwegian books about Knut Hamsun and Edvard Munch into German.

“The German title of the book has not been decided yet”, Nilsson tells NTB.

The Norwegian first printing of 1500 copies sold out quickly, and there will be a second printing of 2000 books.

“There’s a big potential”, Norwegian publisher Christer Falck says.

Morten talks summer tour 2018

Picture by Jakob

Morten was a guest on Richard Green’s show on BBC Radio Devon today. The interview is available here (starts at 23 minutes).

Among the topics discussed was next year’s summer tour/world tour. As we learnt several months ago, a-ha is planning to go on the road again next summer with a full electric band, starting in the UK in June 2018 before continuing through mainland Europe, the USA and South America.

Although only four outdoor concerts in Norway have been announced so far, a-ha manager Harald Wiik said there will be 30-40 concerts in total. Later reports have mentioned as many as 60 concerts.

When asked about returning to the UK for more gigs next summer, Morten says:

“I believe, from where I stand now, that it will be more outdoor venue influenced. It’s not gonna be like the [Cast in Steel] tour, for instance. It will have elements of that, I think. I can’t promise that, but it’s what I think today. It will have elements, to an extent, from the Giske sessions, to create the dynamics that we would want. Certain songs might work in outdoor arenas, based on what we did in Giske, but only some of them would work that way. Then certain songs work by far best the way we have normally set it up with our full electronic stuff. And then certain songs will come to their form in a sort of analogue type of live playing. Sometimes we’ve played to synthesizers and computers, so it’s a mix of our live playing against the computers, that’s partly a-ha’s music. And some will be like that, some will be maybe all analogue and some will be stripped. I think it will be a mix.”

Planning such a major tour has raised questions if the band might be aiming to release a new studio album before next summer, but that will not be the case, according to Morten:

“Not an a-ha album, [that’s] not planned. But we have plans in that we’re now releasing this album from Giske, which leads on to the acoustic tour in January and February. And then we go into rehearsals and planning of the shows in the summer later on. So that will take us through most of next year. But the autumn is fairly open. And then there are other plans, there are a lot of offers for the band. But we have no concrete plans for a studio album.”

There are also no immediate plans for another solo album, he says:

“It would be wrong for me to make plans for my own stuff now, but there is a lot of stuff that is available and ready to be responded to, whenever it opens up for that.”

Earlier in the week, on Monday, Morten and Magne were guests on Becky Want’s show on BBC Radio Manchester. That interview is available here (starts at 1:45:30).

‘MTV Unplugged – Summer Solstice’ enters album chart at #3 in Germany and #6 in the UK

MTV Unplugged – Summer Solstice

a-ha’s new live album MTV Unplugged – Summer Solstice has entered the German album chart at #3 in its first week. This is a-ha’s 13th top-10 album in Germany.

In the UK the album has entered the album chart at #6, making it their seventh UK top-10 album. A total of 6,982 copies were sold in the first week, this number includes physical sales, digital sales and streaming (1500 streams equals 1 album sale).

But if the UK album chart had been based on physical sales only, MTV Unplugged – Summer Solstice would actually have been at #2, only beaten by Liam Gallagher’s new album, as can be seen on the physical albums chart.

In Norway the album enters VG-lista at #14 in its first week.

Elsewhere, the album enters at #35 in Belgium (Wallonia), #50 in Ireland, #93 in Belgium (Flanders), and #98 in The Netherlands, according to the UKMIX forum.

Additionally, the DVD/Blu-ray has entered the German Top-30 Music DVD chart at #4, the Belgian (Wallonia) Top-10 Music DVD chart at #4 and the Dutch Top-10 Music DVD chart at #8.

As for the UK, below is a list of all first-week entries and first-week sales on the UK album chart in the last twelve years, including solo albums:
2006 – Analogue: #24 (9,911 copies)
2009 – Foot of the Mountain: #5 (18,744 copies)
2010 – 25: #10 (10,835 copies)
2011 – Ending on a High Note: #43 (2,966 copies)
2012 – Out of My Hands: #37 (3,455 copies)
2014 – Brother: #56 (1,461 copies)
2015 – Cast in Steel: #8 (7,828 copies)
2016 – Time and Again: #75 (???? copies)
2017 – Summer Solstice: #6 (6,982 copies)

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