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Shining (Norwegian band)

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Background information
OriginOslo, Norway
GenresAvant-garde,[1] avant-garde metal,[1][2] progressive rock,[3] experimental rock,[4] jazz fusion,[5] free jazz[2]
Years active1999–present
LabelsBP, Jazzland, Rune Grammofon, Indie, Spinefarm
MembersJørgen Munkeby
Håkon Sagen
Eirik Tovsrud Knutsen
Tobias Ørnes Andersen
Ole Vistnes
Past membersSee below

Shining (stylized as SHINING) is a Norwegian hard rock band from Oslo. Thirteen musicians have been a part of the band's lineup in its history, with singer, guitarist, saxophonist, and songwriter Jørgen Munkeby as its leading force and only constant member. The band is also called SHINING (NOR) to avoid confusion with the eponymous Swedish black metal band.

Shining was created in 1999 as an acoustic instrumental jazz quartet consisting of Munkeby, drummer Torstein Lofthus, pianist Morten Qvenild, and double bassist Aslak Hartberg. They released their first albums Where the Ragged People Go and Sweet Shanghai Devil in 2001 and 2003 respectively. Their 2005 album In the Kingdom of Kitsch You Will Be a Monster led the band into a more avant-garde, electric, and rock-oriented sound, with Qvenild playing synthesizers and other electronic keyboards and Hartberg mostly using bass guitar instead of double bass.

Qvenild and Hartberg both left the band before or following the release of the album, being replaced in 2005 by Andreas Hessen Schei and Morten Strøm respectively. Under this line-up, Shining released Grindstone in 2007, an album going into a heavier direction and distancing itself more from jazz, incorporating elements from progressive rock, pop, and 19th and 20th century classical music.[6] During the following years, Schei was replaced by Andreas Ulvo who was himself replaced by Bernt Moen, while Tor Egil Kreken replaced Strøm on bass guitar. The band included guitarist Even Helte Hermansen as a new member in 2010, expanding into a quintet.

On their fifth album Blackjazz (2010) Shining became an extreme avant-garde metal band with the use of growled vocals from Munkeby. During the same year, Hermansen was replaced by Sagen. Their first live album Live Blackjazz and sixth studio, One One One, released in 2013, follow the musical direction begun in Blackjazz. In the following years, Lofthus (the only original member left aside from Munkeby), Løchsen, and Kreken all left the band. The two first were replaced by Tobias Ørnes Andersen and Eirik Tovsrud Knutsen respectively, while Ole Vistnes became the bassist.[7] Their studio album International Blackjazz Society, which helmed the band's shift away from avant-garde jazz-influenced metal towards a more classic hard rock sound, was released in 2015.

Shining's metal-oriented albums were received with much acclaim from both jazz, heavy metal, and more mainstream critics.[8][9][10][11][12][13]


Acoustic albums (1999-2005)

Shining was formed in 1999 by saxophonist and multi-instrumentalist Jørgen Munkeby. Munkeby had moved to Oslo to study at the Norwegian Academy of Music, and was in need of a band for a concert he had already booked. Knowing no one, he looked for bandmates among his fellow students.[6] There he found bassist Aslak Hartberg, drummer Torstein Lofthus and pianist Morten Qvenild.

Their first album, Where the Ragged People Go, was released 5 November 2001.[14] At a time when the young Norwegian jazz scene was dominated by future jazz, as pioneered by Bugge Wesseltoft and Nils Petter Molvær, Shining received a lot of attention by playing modern and energetic acoustic jazz. Their music especially contrasted that of Jaga Jazzist, a band of which Jørgen Munkeby had been a member since 1994.[15]

The band's John Coltrane and Ornette Coleman-inspired sound[6][14] was further developed on their second album, Sweet Shanghai Devil, released by Jazzland Recordings in 2003. Their music became freer, incorporating more elements from outside the jazz idiom, but remained entirely acoustic.

On Rune Grammofon (2005-2007)

2005 saw a complete transformation of Shining's music with the release of their third album, In the Kingdom of Kitsch You Will Be a Monster, where progressive rock and metal were blended in with the experimental jazz heard on Sweet Shanghai Devil. Munkeby's woodwind instruments were accompanied by the Akai EWI, electric guitars and synthesizers, and Aslak Hartberg's double bass was largely replaced by electric bass. Drum machines were also used on the album, as well as a wide range of less common instruments such as the accordion, harmonium, church organ, clavinet and celesta.[16]

Shining had now signed with Rune Grammofon, a record label that specializes in experimental and improvised music. They had also developed a new approach to recording albums. Whereas their previous albums were all recorded with the whole band in front of a couple of microphones, they now recorded parts of songs at different locations. Working with producer Kåre Christoffer Vestrheim, these parts were then mixed together in the studio.[17]

Munkeby has stated that Motorpsycho was the main inspiration to move to a more rock-centric sound, and that the album was strongly influenced by Olivier Messiaen.[6] The move proved to be successful. In the Kingdom of Kitsch You Will Be a Monster was well received by critics, both in Norway[18][19][20][21] and internationally,[22][23][24] and was included in the best new music section on Pitchfork.[25] It would also go on to win the Alarm Award for best jazz album in 2006.[26]

Pianist Morten Qvenild Left Shining between the album's recording and release. Replacing him was Andreas Hessen Schei.[17] Bassist Aslak Hartberg would later be replaced by Morten Strøm for their fourth album, Grindstone.

On Grindstone, released on Rune Grammofon January 2007, Shining refined the style developed on In the Kingdom of Kitsch. The compositions were tighter[27] and on a whole the music was harder, although the album featured several softer tracks as well. Apart from metal, classical influences were displayed more overtly[28] and elements of noise and drone were introduced. As its predecessor the year before, Grindstone won the Alarm Award for best jazz album in 2007.[26]

Armageddon concerto (2007-2010)

In October 2007 Shining toured Europe as support for the progressive black metal band Enslaved.[29] The concerts usually ended with the two bands doing a cover version of King Crimson's 21st Century Schizoid Man. After seeing a video of one of these covers, the programme committee of Moldejazz commissioned the two bands to write and perform a 90-minute work together.[30]

The resulting work Nine Nights in Nothingness – Glimpses of Downfall, often referred to as The Armageddon Concerto, was first performed at Moldejazz 19 July 2008. The concerto consists of nine movements, five of which were composed by Jørgen Munkeby and four by Ivar Bjørnson of Enslaved.

Inspired by Norse mythology, doomsday cults, and science fiction, the music describes the end of the world, a following post-apocalyptic environment and finally a new beginning. Musically the different movements draw inspiration form a wide range of sources, most notably György Ligeti Olivier Messiaen, and John Coltrane, but also Sunn O))) and The Beatles.

As the first performance of The Armageddon Concerto since Moldejazz 2008, Enslaved and Shining were the main headliners at the 2010 Roadburn Festival, where Enslaved were the artist in residence.[31]

Heavy metal (2010-2017)

Shining's fifth album Blackjazz was released 18 January 2010 on Indie Recordings. The album's title is meant to describe Shining's sound, which on Blackjazz became even harder and more intense than ever before.

The instrumentation was also far simpler than on the two previous albums, with Jørgen Munkeby focusing on guitars and saxophone. This has made the album's sound closer to how they sound live, as songs from previous albums needed to be simplified for live performances.[32]

According to Munkeby, a big inspiration in the development of the Blackjazz genre, was his work with In Lingua Mortua in 2006/2007. To quote Munkeby: "Lars' refreshing blend of an impressive intellectual display and direct raw power has been a big inspiration for me. Lars is a true pioneer. He was the first person to invite me to play sax in a black metal setting, and in so doing, contributed strongly to SHINING's later development of the Blackjazz genre."[33]

Shining's collaboration with Enslaved is also a clear influence on Blackjazz.[34] The album's first single, Fisheye, is a newer version of the seventh movement of The Armageddon Concerto, and the vinyl edition of Blackjazz includes a studio version of the concerto's first movement as a bonus track. Blackjazz ends with a cover version of 21st Century Schizoid Man, featuring guest vocals by Enslaved's Grutle Kjellson.

The band's releases since Blackjazz have continued in a similar style, albeit often with more concise songs. Live Blackjazz contains material from In the Kingdom of Kitsch You Will Be a Monster, Grindstone, and Blackjazz performed in the style of the band's then-most-recent album. One One One continues the industrial metal/jazz hybrid of Blackjazz, but with much shorter songs and less avant-garde influences; none of the album's nine songs reaches the five-minute mark. International Blackjazz Society continues in the same vein, but the songs are somewhat longer, and many of them are linked continuously. The band's recent metal works have continued to receive critical acclaim from jazz, metal, and mainstream publications.

Hard rock (2017-present)

A new single released on 11 September 2017, titled "Everything Dies", saw a change from their previous direction, featuring a more hard rock-oriented sound. The single "Animal", released on 10 August 2018, followed the same musical direction; both titles are present on their album Animal, released on 19 October 2018.[35]


Current members
Former members



Studio albums

Year Album Peak positions Certification
2001 Where the Ragged People Go
2003 Sweet Shanghai Devil
2005 In the Kingdom of Kitsch You Will Be a Monster
2007 Grindstone 19[37]
2010 Blackjazz 9[38]
2013 One One One 15[39]
2015 International Blackjazz Society
2018 Animal

Live albums

Other works

  • Nine Nights in Nothingness – Glimpses of Downfall (2008)
A 90-minute Armegeddon Concerto composed and performed with Enslaved, commissioned by Moldejazz



  1. ^ a b Cynic (27 May 2010). "Shining - "Blackjazz" (CD)". Retrieved 1 July 2011. Well put together and seamlessy flowing avant-garde music.
  2. ^ a b Phil Freeman. "Blackjazz - Review". Retrieved 1 July 2011. An astonishing blend of industrial, metal, free jazz, and raw electronic noise...
  3. ^ John Kelman (28 March 2005). "Shining: In the Kingdom of Kitsch You Will Be a Monster (2005)". Retrieved 1 July 2011. Norwegian's Shining have headed for progressive or art rock territory.
  4. ^ Steve Leggett. "Shining - Biography". Retrieved 1 July 2011. Norway's the Shining specialize in a genre-hopping prog-jazz style that is part bop, part experimental composition, part rock, and might even be called jazz-metal, although specific labels have a hard time sticking firmly to this intriguing quartet.
  5. ^ John Kelman (17 March 2010). "Shining: Blackjazz (2010)". Retrieved 1 July 2011. Starting as an electrified, metal-tinged fusion band...
  6. ^ a b c d Matthew Murphy (17 April 2005). "Interview: Shining". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 11 January 2010.
  7. ^ Thom Jurek. "Shining". AllMusic. Retrieved 2015-12-02.
  8. ^ Kelman, John (2011-12-29). "Shining: Live Blackjazz (2011) Review". All About Jazz. Retrieved 2013-09-18.
  9. ^ "One One One Review". Heavy Blog Is Heavy. Heavy Blog is Heavy. Retrieved 2013-09-16.
  10. ^ "Shining (Norway): One One One Review". Has it Leaked. Retrieved 2013-09-18.
  11. ^ Chinen, Nate (20 January 2010). "Several shades of jazz, some infused with metal". The New York Times. Retrieved 30 April 2010.
  12. ^ Freeman, Phil. "Blackjazz review". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 30 April 2010.
  13. ^ Begrand, Adrien (3 February 2010). "Blackjazz review". PopMatters. PopMatters Media. Retrieved 30 April 2010.
  14. ^ a b "Shining på Herr Nilsen". (in Norwegian). 10 December 2001. Retrieved 11 January 2010.
  15. ^ Terje Mosnes (20 November 2001). "Shining mot strømmen" [Shining Against the Grain]. Dagbladet (in Norwegian). Retrieved 11 January 2010.
  16. ^ Audun Reithaug Rasmussen (25 February 2005). "Soundtrack from the Kingdom of Kitsch". (in Norwegian). Retrieved 16 January 2010.
  17. ^ a b Eivind Kristensen (25 February 2010). "Metamorfose" [Metamorphosis]. Musikk-Kultur (in Norwegian). Archived from the original on 24 July 2011. Retrieved 20 January 2010.
  18. ^ Terje Mosnes (18 January 2005). "Kraft og ynde til tusen" [Total power and grace]. Dagbladet (in Norwegian). Retrieved 20 January 2010.
  19. ^ Espen A. Hansen (8 March 2005). "Shining: "In The Kingdom Of Kitsch You Will Be A Monster"". VG (in Norwegian). Retrieved 20 January 2010.
  20. ^ Audun Reithaug Rasmussen (25 February 2010). "Soundtrack from the Kingdom of Kitsch". (in Norwegian). Retrieved 20 January 2010.
  21. ^ Mats Johansen (19 January 2005). "Fra improvisert himmelferd til mektig skjærsild" [From Improvised Heaven to Mighty Purgatory]. (in Norwegian). Archived from the original on 16 July 2011. Retrieved 20 January 2010.
  22. ^ Mike Powell (22 March 2005). "Shining - In the Kingdom of Kitsch You Will Be A Monster". Stylus Magazine. Retrieved 20 January 2010.
  23. ^ John Kelman (28 March 2005). "In the Kingdom of Kitsch You Will Be a Monster". All About Jazz. Retrieved 20 January 2010.
  24. ^ Michael Cramer (8 June 2005). "Shining - In the Kingdom of Kitsch You Will Be a Monster". Dusted Reviews. Retrieved 20 January 2010.
  25. ^ Brandon Stosuy (11 March 2005). "Shining: In the Kingdom of Kitsch You Will Be a Monster". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 20 January 2010.
  26. ^ a b "Alarmpris-vinnere" [Winners of the Alarm Award]. (in Norwegian). Archived from the original on 24 July 2011. Retrieved 20 January 2010.
  27. ^ Brandon Stosuy (21 February 2007). "Shining: Grindstone". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 20 January 2010. Shining's fourth album, Grindstone, spits the same flammable energy of 2005's out-of-left-field In the Kingdom of Kitsch You Will Be a Monster, but with more tightly plotted, ultra-extended dynamics and a stretch of chillier, loopier atmospherics.
  28. ^ Kevin Jagernauth (28 March 2007). "Shining:Grindstone". PopMatters. Retrieved 20 January 2010. The unholy amalgam of metal riffs, jazz composition, avant freakouts and classical departures make writing about the band a true test.
  29. ^ "Enslaved and Shining team up for European tour". Music Information Centre Norway. 13 March 2007. Retrieved 21 January 2010.
  30. ^ "Enslaved og Shining lager bestillingsverk til Moldejazz 2008!" [Enslaved and Shining makes a commissioned work for Moldejazz 2008!]. (in Norwegian). Archived from the original on 2011-06-07. Retrieved 17 January 2010. Det var etter at programkomiteen i Moldejazz fikk høre et live-opptak av Shining og Enslaveds felles tolkning av King Crimson-låten "21st Century Schizoid Man" at man bestemte seg for å gi banda utfordringen å lage et bestillingsverk til festivalen.
  31. ^ "Enslaved announced as artists in residence for Roadburn Festival 2010". 14 October 2009. Archived from the original on 24 October 2009. Retrieved 26 January 2010.
  32. ^ Ingmar Wåhlberg (30 April 2009). "Intervju: Shining" [Interview: Shining]. (in Norwegian). Retrieved 16 January 2010.
  33. ^ "Pre-order". In Lingua Mortua. 2010-07-24. Archived from the original on 2015-09-24. Retrieved 2015-12-02.
  34. ^ Ingmar Wåhlberg (30 April 2009). "Intervju: Shining" [Interview: Shining]. (in Norwegian). Retrieved 16 January 2010. Det er klart at samarbeidet med Enslaved har inspirert oss, og det har også påvirket soundet på den nye skiva.
  35. ^ "Shining (NOR) Say Goodbye To Blackjazz With New Album "Animal", Stream Title Track". The PRP. August 17, 2018. Retrieved September 20, 2018.
  36. ^ " Shining discography page". Retrieved 2013-04-12.
  37. ^ "Charting for Grindstone". VG-Lista. Archived from the original on 2015-04-16. Retrieved 2015-04-16.
  38. ^ "VG Lista - Album Top 40". Hung Medien. Retrieved 2 February 2010.
  39. ^ "Charting for One One One". VG-Lista. Archived from the original on 2015-04-16. Retrieved 2015-04-16.
  40. ^ Pettersen, Jonas (14 January 2012). "Shining vant Spellemann-pris". Dagbladet. Retrieved 18 April 2015.

External links