Artwork and cover design by Bendik Kaltenborn

Artwork and cover design by Bendik Kaltenborn

WhAt Comes After (2016)

The second album of music by Mathias H. Tjønn as Racing Heart, What Comes After is a political record trying to be personal rather than preachy. It contains songs about society’s impotent solutions in the aftermath of The Great Recession (“Flogging a Dead Horse”), office visits to the power players of the world (“A Prayer from Our Leaders”), reports from the front lines of our endless conflicts with no clear enemies (“Squaring the Circle”) as well as tracks about all the rest of us caught in the crossfire.

Produced by Hanne Hukkelberg, the album is a stark departure from Racing Heart's debut record in both style and substance. Instead of looking inwards, they look outwards. Instead of being folk-based, they aim to meld acoustic instruments and synthesized sounds. This album has sharp edges.

Helped greatly by the creativity of musician Jenny Hval who contributes both lyrics and vocals, the songs are propelled by the drums and programming of Martin Langlie (Susanne Sundfør, Pantha du Prince).

Genre-wise What Comes After is an experimental pop album inspired by musicians such as David Sylvian, Winston Tong and ANOHNI. Mixing some of the sounds of the early 80’s with a multitude of contemporary voices both real and artificial, What Comes After tries to make some sense of the way neoliberalism and its faceless language of finance-first has led us here.

Artwork by Emily Caisip, cover design by Ivar Lyngner

Artwork by Emily Caisip, cover design by Ivar Lyngner

To Walk Beside that Ghost (2012)

The short version is that Racing Heart play indie folk, but try instead to imagine the earnest yearnings of American golden era pop music, the earthiness of the English folk revival and the searching spirit of contemporary Scandinavian indie rock, and you’ll have a better idea of what the music sounds like. These are ten songs that set out to accomplish something, finding themselves somewhere in the soundscapes that many of today’s Brooklyn-based bands are busy exploring, with lush vocal harmonies that lead your thoughts (and your ears) to the 1960’s and 70’s.

To Walk Beside that Ghost was in fact written and recorded by Racing Heart in just Brooklyn, with members from St. Vincent and Sufjan Stevens’ bands joining them in the studio. Centered on the soft acoustics of voice, finger- picked guitar, autoharp, upright bass and drums, but embellished and expanded upon by both analogue synthesizers, a string quartet and brass trio (the stated goal always being that each sound must serve the song and not just act as decoration) this album carries with it inspiration from many different musical decades.

 

Oslo transplant and prime creative force Mathias Tjønn's distant muse feels just as irrevocably lost as Justin Vernon's, though the elaborate wash of harmonies more closely recalls Grizzly Bear, Local Natives, or even Maps & Atlases. There's an intricate allure in the interplay between Racing Hearts' rippling auto-harp, precisely shaded drumming, and queasy analogue synths.

-SPIN Magazine

 

A staggeringly majestic folk album informed as much by classical baroque as ’70s AM gold, Nick Drake, and harmonious contemporaries like Grizzly Bear and Bon Iver.

-The A.V. Club

Cover design by Ivar Lyngner

Cover design by Ivar Lyngner

Interim EP (2010)

2010 promises to be a very good year for the young Norwegian singer and tunesmith Mathias Tjonn. Originally hailing from Oslo, Norway and the same music scene that has fostered such talents as Hanne Hukkelberg and Rockettothesky (Jenny Hval), Mathias has now taken his own brand of Baroque folk to the Big Apple after spending four years at Berklee College of Music studying composition and guitar performance.

This year started off with the arrival of his debut release Interim EP , a collection of weird songs, sad songs and love songs sung both in his native Norwegian as well as English. The songs themselves are often centered on the combination of his tenor voice and either finger-style guitar playing or piano and feature haunting string and woodwind arrangements reminiscent of Scott Walker, Townes Van Zandt, Rufus Wainwright and Sufjan Stevens. Lyrically he finds inspiration not only in the trials and tribulations of his own life (thankfully), but also in the writing of people such as Mark Haddon, W.G. Sebald and Norwegian poet Nils Yttri. Co-produced by Sony Music producer Ryu Takahashi, Interim EP was written, recorded, arranged and performed almost entirely by Mathias and has earned him critical acclaim as well as a busy gigging schedule in cities all along the East Coast.

 

What Mathias does is definitely different: Grand, symphonic and undeniably Norwegian.

-Poplogg.no