harlequins enigma
EPK Pro

harlequins enigma

Bergen, Hordaland, Norway | Established. Jan 01, 2008 | SELF

Bergen, Hordaland, Norway | SELF
Established on Jan, 2008
Band Electronic New Age

Calendar

Music

Press


"stargazer moonphase 1 music video"

Harlequins enigma, an electronica band hailing from Norway, showcased a near-psychedelic music video for its single, "Moon phase", off of their fourth album, Stargazer. Trippy, and intentionally offbeat, the video takes you on a journey across the universe.

The MV for "moon phase" is extremely simple and straightforward. Pictures of constellations, galaxies, comets, and other celestial bodies are show. The editing is rather rough, but this forces the viewer into the endless space depicted in the video and evoked in the band's music. Each picture is more astounding than the last, leaving viewers awed at the universe's unrivaled beauty.

With exaggerated synth chords and distortions, the single itself reflects the universe's mysterious allure. The single's hallowing sounds are doubled by the haunting echoes. When the listener closes his or her eyes, he or she is truly no longer in this world.

Founded in 2008, harlequins enigma is from Bergen in Norway. Since 1991, the members have experimented with music using amiga 500 & tracking software. Their music are mainly based on 8-bit 16-bit values. - mi2n.com - eric de fontenay


"td sound 1 (2013) feat. tangerine dream & klaus schulze - album review"

Hailing all the way from Norway, Harlequin's Enigma will surely take you by surprise. The brainchild of Age Riisnes features Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze amongst others, on his newest release, TD Sound 1, out in February 2013. Filled with 16 tracks, this hour long masterpiece will amaze you with what Harlequin Enigma's sound has to offer.

Opening the album is the space track titled “Exegeomai.” From the very beginning it is obvious to the listener that they are truly in for a unique listening experience. “Angel,” is filled with dreamy lo-fi tones with harmonizing synths that resonate throughout the track. Featuring Wendy Carlos, Katie Leung and Tangerine Dream, “Angel” is a musical masterpiece.

Up next is “Mother Bird,” which is the perfect blend of synthesizers and what appears to be a hypnotic sounding xylophone type instrument. If this doesn't intrigue you, I'm not sure what will. “Crystal Gazing,” proves to be a spacey track, with the slight inclusion of eerie bird sounds in the background that will peak your interest. The use of sound effects and the overall composition are something to be admired.

“TD Sound 1,” the title song of the album, picks up the pace with a slight jazzy feel, mixed in with perky beats, which are a bit reminiscent of Chillwave acts such as Toro y Moi. “Terracota,” is a personal favorite off of TD Sound 1. Haunting yet gorgeous, this is a standout piece that is sonically crafted to perfection. “Magnetic Poles,” races into the scene with resonating tones that nearly sound like a 1980s computer composing data as fast as it can. As odd as that may sound, with one listen, you will surely hear these influences for yourself. “Choral Reeves,” is a sultry and seductive track that features slight whistles, and a smooth, saxophone like instrument. This is one you will be putting on repeat frequently, making sure not to miss the slightest note as it draws you in more and more every time.

“Gloom,” takes center stage, which would make a stellar song for an action film with its subtle racing beats that echo a pounding heart. “Dungeon Dew,” is one of the most ambient tracks on TD Sound 1, as well as being the most abstract. Sounds fill every inch of the room as they find their place within the piece. “Stargazer 1 – Moon Phase,” and “Quaking Earth,” sound as if they could be in an old school video game, which is actually very flattering, as "Sorceress Animated," and "Sparrow" take on more of a dreamier tone and subtle attitude within the record. "Red Ribbon in the Wind," and "Stargazer 12 – Stars,” close out the album with strategically placed synthesizer sounds that will take you down a musical path with a surprise at every corner, as it makes a lovely way to close out the record.

Harlequins's Enigma's TD Sound 1, is not for those who do not have an open mind. One does not only listen to this record, but they experience it as well. The sounds create an overall feeling that is almost like watching a painter create art on a canvas. This is Age Riisnes' masterpiece that should be admired and appreciated for years to come. This is a stunning collection of songs that are truly heartfelt, and must be approached with care. Hopefully this is only the beginning of what Harlequin's Enigma as to show the world.

Harlequin's Enigma
TD Sound 1
By Melissa Nastasi
5 Out of 5 Stars
- ariel publicity - melissa nastasi


"steamy kitchen (single)"

Easily one of the most alternative and experimental tracks to cross our path in recent months. harlequins enigma takes listeners through a multi-layered, complex and colourful tunnel of audio with this release, the steamy kitchen at hand being one overflowing with fragments of ideas and dashes of melody.
What’s interesting about this style of music is not so much the multiple layers that come into play – there proceeds to be a sense of familiarity to many of these riffs and drum-hits – it’s the overall finish, the production quality, the crispness and clarity. Part of the experience feels decidedly retro, but nothing about the production quality itself leans in that direction. Instead, the whole thing proves surprisingly cinematic – particularly during the latter half. Familiarity kicks in fully and there emerges a certain smoothness and connected aura between every element. Things get haunting, they speed up, they envelop you – resulting in a composition that you can’t help but pay attention to.

By the end, steamy kitchen proves incredibly likable, freely creative yet notably intentional once you’ve made it right through the five-minute-plus journey. Creative artists Sara Jensen and åge riisnes, have crafted this out of a fine balance between experimentation and a clear love for electronic music. Things even veer off into a jazz-like arena during the final minute, and still your attention is held, captivated by these changing moments as they swirl and collide around you.
It’s quite fascinating how enjoyable this composition is, so much so that when it ends there appears an overwhelmingly dull silence. Absolutely worth letting play more than a few times. As you let your mind and body succumb to the experience, it becomes quite meditative, and strangely calming. Brilliantly creative and consistently professional sound design. I look forward to hearing more. - rebecca cullen - stereo stickman


"mau tracks (single) feat. sara jensen"

If there’s one thing I know for sure, it’s this: Listening to “Mau Tracks” (ft. Sara Jensen) by Harlequins Enigma for the first time, is an experience. You know there’s a journey ahead of you. It’s not until you fully immerse yourself, however, that you realize how intricate and beautiful that journey is. At his best, Åge Riisnes channels an ethereal, mysterious presence throughout the track. It combines jazz and fusion elements with European-synth-flair. The attention to progression is simply stunning; the focus deftly changes from calm to dramatic, sorrowful to triumphant. It rides on a groove that’s as instantly captivating as you’d expect it to be.
The music is heavily synth-based, but attention is paid to the percussion throughout “Mau Tracks” (ft. Sara Jensen); melodies and harmonies weave in and out of the soundscape painted by layers upon layers of synthesizers. The music present here is no immediate, rhythmic, accessible.
The arrangement commands your attention every step of the way. Although one can argue that it is as much of an existentialistic experience as it is a musical one, ultimately this only makes the track stronger as a whole. The underlying beauty found here is simply undeniable.
The experience of listening to this track can at times be one of commotion than of relaxation, as Harlequins Enigma employs mind-bending synth riffs and basslines. He draws you into his world with a sound that creates a trance-like state in the mind of the listener.
You get the sustained synth build-ups backed by repeating melodies and pulsating drums. It’s the kind of music that lets your mind take off between the beeps and whistles. While musically coherent and imminently appealing, Harlequins Enigma is a project distinct from scenes and trends. Progressive thinking is at the heart of its appeal.
“Mau Tracks” (ft. Sara Jensen) sounds like nothing else this year, or the year before, considering this track was recorded in 2018. Nor does it fit into any recent musical development beyond an incidental affinity with the resurgence of experimentation amongst a handful of courageous electronic producers.
Every electronic note and compositional element reeks of consideration and technical expertise that didn’t come overnight. In terms of impressive twists and turns, they’re aplenty. The track morphs, tangles, twists and reorganizes itself. I have no doubt that Harlequins Enigma has given us an excellent work of electronic music – a standout recording in an already peerless and consistent discography.
Crammed with ideas and fueled by a state of being, “Mau Tracks” (ft. Sara Jensen) is a track so immune to contemporary styles and aesthetics that it is almost by definition, timeless. The care lavished on the sound and theme is immediately evident – this is a track built for listening to on a decent audio system, its impressively layered blips and beats are an absolute aural delight. The song might seem dense and impenetrable at first, but dazzles after repeated listens.
MORE ABOUT: Harlequins Enigma is a Bergen, Norway-based band created in 2008 by synth musician, composer, and video producer, Åge Riisnes. Harlequins Enigma is mostly a one-man-band, but Elin Berge, Katie Leung, and Sara Jensen has served as co-members with several appearances over the years.
The primary musical creations revolve around chip-tune, electronica, techno, experimental, video game soundtracks, space, ambient, and new age genres. Notwithstanding all the health issues, which has hampered his career along the way, Åge is focused on human rights, equality, positive technology, and an affinity for a natural world. - jamsphere.com @ buddy nelson


"moral game (remastered hope edition) (single)"

Tracks like “Moral Game (Remastered Hope Edition)” twist and turn, constantly changing shape, employing an impressive arsenal of sounds, rhythms and wonderful noises. There is a fidgety energy in the work that suggests the composer, Harlequins Enigma is already brainstorming the next idea long before he is done with the one at hand, a hyperactive creativity that never settles. This is the sound of a restless creator at work. From its outset, “Moral Game” feels pretty monumental. As soon as the record churns into action, the jittering melodic keys cascade over restless percussion, as the listener is transported into a totally ethereal sonic space. The track explores this space, manipulating its shape and boundaries.
The tinkling motifs constantly shift in and out of focus, yet each sound is absolutely essential, placed in exactly the right corner of this intense, shimmering aural canvas. Each and every moment of the record has enough depth and detail to allow the listener to become utterly – and willingly – transfixed.
On repeated listens, more layers become audible, more snatches of melody and harmony breaking through the dense, rhythmic canopy. “Moral Game (Remastered Hope Edition)” was remastered due to the project leader, Åge Riisnes suffering some brain issues at the time.
“It was difficult for me to hear the track without becoming ill,” explained Åge. However, the final mix will certainly send a message across the world of electronic music. To put “Moral Game (Remastered Hope Edition)” into a genre classification would be futile as it skips through multiple categories.
Full of dynamic flourishes, the song seems to marry the more melodic beauty of the Harlequins Enigma toolset with the harder percussive style of some of their songs. However it is still an easy track to penetrate. Its pace lifts and slows and fly’s around your senses making them tingle with euphoric spontaneity.
The track’s tower of jagged rhythm, is surrounded by the menace of a pulsating beat, while undulating synth waves shift like ominous shadows in the track’s peripheries. When the final notes drift off into the ether we find ourselves quickly trying to put the pieces back together from this most enjoyable journey.
“Moral Game (Remastered Hope Edition)” covers enough ground to leave even the most hard-nosed electronic music listener satisfied. No one makes music quite like this anymore. This track sees a master craftsman return with renewed inspiration in 2019. In many ways it’s exactly what I’ve been expecting from Harlequins Enigma – and once you let the hype drain away – what is revealed, is pretty much flawless.

MORE ABOUT: Harlequins Enigma is a Bergen, Norway-based band created in 2008 by synth musician, composer, and video producer, Åge Riisnes. Harlequins Enigma is mostly a one-man-band, but Elin Berge, Katie Leung, and Sara Jensen has served as co-members with several appearances over the years.
The primary musical creations revolve around chip-tune, electronica, techno, experimental, video game soundtracks, space, ambient, and new age genres. Notwithstanding all the health issues, which has hampered his career along the way, Åge is focused on human rights, equality, positive technology, and an affinity for a natural world. - jamsphere.com magazine @ jacob aiden


Discography

battle without dishonour single 2011
time dance single 2011
octagon vol. 2 2011
the journey of harlequins engima 1 2011
the journey of harlqeuins enigma 2 2011
the journey of harlequins enigma 3 2011
octagon vol. 3 2011
ophidians caricature personalities 2012
ophidians neighbour tribe 2012
octagon vol. 4 2012
the long road 2012
ophidians big cheifs 2013
discord 2013
td sound 1 2013

after much material from 2008 may till feb 2010 the above album were compiled.

many releases were added in Our comeback period from april 2013 to today june 2019. this was after a break from april 2010. that ended the debut years. my first debut though came in 1991 through 1997 on the Amiga platform. Harlequins enigma was formed in 2008 by me & sara jensen.

mau tracks (2018) was Our last release before doing some smallworx in steamy Kitchen & moral game in june 2019. in 2013 through 2019 riisnes compiled a range of genre only based albums, as well as New best of compilations & other compilations. 2017 saw the release of a brand New album called growing Young.

reso (underground city) & Girls from India has been added in july 2019 as New singles.

Photos

Bio

Harlequins Enigma is a Bergen, Norway-based band created in 2008 by synth musician, composer, and video producer, Åge Riisnes.  Harlequins Enigma is mostly a one-man-band, but Elin Berge, Katie Leung, and Sara Jensen has served as co-members in the past with several album appearances over the years.  The primary musical creations revolve around chip-tune, electronica, techno, experimental, video game soundtracks, space, ambient, and new age genres.  Åge began experimenting with synth-based music in the early 1990’s.  Åge was identified as a medium in in 2000-2001 via a senior psychiatrist at haukeland sykehus post 4 in bergen, norway. Throughout the years, collaborations with Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze, Vangelis, Kitaro, Kate Bush, Dave Weckl, Chick Corea, Jan Garbarek, and others have spawned rich, creative, and mature achievements.  The origin of Harlequins Enigma`s name revolves around hope & upon expectation.  Åge describes the circumstances around the creation of the name: “I once had a lighter with a girl on [it], showing a little of her face with a yellow rose & two identical females as guardians at each side of her [with a] picture [depicting] a walking creature that looks like a walking mouse [that is] pregnant.”  He has also said that the mystery of not being 100% real is part of the enigma.

 

Riding the electronic waves of sound, Harlequins Enigma bridges the gap between fantasy and reality with a good dose of futuristic embellishments that have been stewing, brooding, and morphing since the early 1990’s.  The instrumental prowess glimmers with spacey illusions, ambient washes, and metallic or industrial elements throughout the early years, as well as the present.

 

Åge identifies at least ten different styles of music.  The otherwise kaleidoscopic array of styles and influences skirt the outer echelon of human existence in the intergalactic abyss of space, as well as cyberspace.  Harlequins enigma chases both the dark side of the moon & the light in their discography. The somewhat dark, electronica is permeated with instances of lighter noise that is upbeat and energetic.  The music has been shaped by various life situations and various collaborations that shine through brilliantly on synth. Harlequins Enigma encapsulates music that contains many emotions that are happy, sad, and everything in between.  In his spare time, Åge enjoys gaming, poetry, hi-fi, wildlife, music video production, and music in general.

 

Åge`s illness has put the brake pedal to the metal to say it least. Since the band`s 1st notes in 2008 till 2010 February, Åge has visited hospitals & have had constant unrest & pains in his mind & body. In 2013 he made a comeback & also came back once again in 2014 & made several brilliant compositions untill his brother ken died.

 

The latest few albums released in 2013, include TD Sound 1 (feat. Klaus Schulze and Tangerine Dream) and 3001 fm : commune feat. Vangelis. In 2014 he released a solo mini ep The Painter Man & also the ep Firebird feat. Klaus schulze & Skeleton Crew extended version feat. Klaus schulze. 2015 saw the re-release of TD Sound 2 featuring Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze, Christoper Franke & Peter Baumann.

 

The musical diversity of Harlequins Enigma is partly due to the innate skills and foresight of Åge Riisnes and the incredible variety of talented guest musicians and band co-members that appear on numerous albums. Åge Riisnes is focused on human rights, equality, positive technology, and an affinity for natural world.  The musical goals of Harlequins Enigma “are not to stand on stage.”  In fact, “no concerts have been played, or will.”  Consequently, fans will have to experience the music via downloads or albums.  Back in sixth grade, Åge wrote a note in a memoir book about the choosing of a future profession.  The question was: “What do you want to become when you grow up?” he answered: rock star.”  Though not a rock star in a true sense, Harlequins Enigma traverses the electronic world of music with such mastery of everything the genre entails. Harlequins Enigma’s albums and downloads can be purchased on CD Baby, Itunes, Juno, Amazon & Audiosparx