Hilma Nikolaisen

Bilde av bandet

Hilma Nikolaisen is known for her role as bass player in her brother Emil’s internationally acclaimed psychedelic noise­pop outfit Serena­ Maneesh (4AD) – one of the most influential Norwegian bands of the last decade. Not only did she contribute significantly to the expression of Emil’s musical vision, her valkyric stage presence also made her an iconic part of the band’s visual identity. Comparisons to Nico were frequently drawn.

After the promising, Norwegian Grammy-nominated debut Puzzler (2016), and the more ambitious follow-up Mjusic (2018), it would've been easy for Hilma Nikolaisen (formerly of Serena Maneesh) to continue in the same vein. After all she's perfected her own kind of groovy guitar rock built on catchy riffs and jammy psychedelic excursions. Instead, Heritage represents a surprising step to the side.

Heritage is the name of her third album released in february 2021. The new album's stripped-down and almost acoustic soundscape has been a conscious choice, it's not at all a result of the sad, pandemic limitations of our times. On one hand, the new approach is an attempt to capture the essence of the songs by removing ornamental instrumentation - on the other to not get caught up in familiar patterns or specific ways of playing. The result is Nikolaisen's most melodically elaborate album, and possibly also the most immediate.

Heritage is a seamless celebration of the album format, with nine tracks that each shine in their own uniqueness, but which also complement each other in a well-thought-out whole. While most of the songs on the album deal with memory, past and future, often with a nostalgic touch, the last track «All In (Into the Outset)» is a life-affirming embrace of what is to come, of what the future holds. It both expands the soundscape of Heritage and circles back to previous highlights with its mesmerizing choruses and effective repetitions, interspersed with wonderfully nonchalant whistling and confidently playful electric guitar licks.

Heritage is written, instrumented, arranged, and produced by Hilma Nikolaisen, and mixed by, among others, Mattias Glavå (Dungen, Håkan Hellström), John McEntire (Tortoise, The Sea and Cake), Emil Nikolaisen, Jay Andrews and Matias Tellez.

Photo: Julia Nagelstad

Hilma Nikolaisen by Elvira Nikolaisen
Hilma Nikolaisen by Elvira Nikolaisen