Afenginn, aka composer Kim Rafael Nyberg, is one of the leading voices of Scandinavian neo-folk, known for his ambitious orchestrated works. Some would say what defines this artist are his seemingly mercurial creative impulses, as each of the 6 full-length albums have been clear departures from the last.
However on closer inspection one finds Nyberg has been steadily and meticulously developing a musical language that is based on the same fundamental investigation – how to combine nearly familiar motifs with asymmetric rhythmic and harmonic developments so as to guide the listener into a dusky borderland rife with epistemological shape shifting. Common in his compositions is the use of minimalistic patterning (akin to the techniques of Philip Glass and Arvo Pärt), which fluctuate between creating a tidal propulsion and a sense of austere fragility. This is consistently contrasted against epic post-rock swells that are both sensual and disbanding.
For the same reasons that Radiohead is sometimes labeled as prog, Afenginn can also be put into this camp for the way the emotional arc is designed to build across a whole performance. Themes and grooves expand across songs and the instruments are orchestrated to continuously shift roles, all which effectively pulls the audience into the band’s otherworld. One leaves an Afenginn concert feeling that they have feasted at the table of a most gracious host, filled by courses rich with untamable longings.