A typical tune by the Norwegian guitar-based trio The Leif will always have a distinct melody. It can be a stretched-out composition or a simple theme. So also on Then There, the band's third release.
One of the tunes on this new album (Den som gikk for fort) was originally simply a row of chords that Tellef occasionally used to play on his trusted old Martin D28 acoustic guitar. When he eventually suggested it as a tune at a rehearsal, Magnus quickly added a melody with his Fender Jazzmaster, then Tellef added a groovy side theme, and a new song was born. Another tune (Fall Sideways) has a falling phrase as its melody, repeated in various tone heights. Other times the musicians’ jamming on a tune can evolve into bullying with both the composition and the band’s musical starting points (Laugarbakki). Otherwise, The Leif has always maintained a quiet side on the border of the meditative, a side that is represented, also on this third release (Ø.T.O. and Cabelwaag).
When Tenge and Øgrim started the band as a duo in 2015, they did not define a musical program, style, or aim. All the two neighbours wanted was to check out some ideas for possible guitar tunes.
They quickly realized, despite their different musical backgrounds, that they had stumbled upon a chemistry that tempted them to continue meeting in Tellef’s basement. (On the band name they chose: Magnus’s middle name is Leif, and the old rural name Tellef was originally a contraction of the two names Thor and Leif. By the way, Leif is an Old Norse name, meaning "heir" or "descendant").
By the band's second release, the EP But you move on (2020), drummer Per Oddvar Johansen had joined the band, making the duo a trio, and adding new rhythmic progress to their music, as well as Johansen’s well-known deep musical imagination. (A side-fact: Tenge and Johansen played together in bands during high school many years ago, making their cooperation in The Leif somewhat of a revival project for the two friends.)
Together, the three musicians have approximately 132 years of experience in genres as rock, pop, older and newer jazz, free impro music and other fun things.
A musical detective, or historian, would therefore probably be able to find sounds in the band’s music that point some years back into the last century, also on this third release. If you listened carefully maybe you could hear some glimpses of the 1970-ties, for example.
For the musicians themselves, however, the most important thing is to find versions of their original compositions that work and feel good here and now.
The band’s aim is to present their new tunes, but not least to relay an impression of how the music is filtered through just these three musicians as they play together here and now, and to give their highly personal impression of contemporary live-sounding music, that hopefully will tickle your imagination and make your mind wander.
The recording of this new album was done as early as March 2021. Then the hard disc with all the recordings died. After several attempts, most of the recorded material was retrieved, many months later.
Five of the tunes were mixed by Audun Borrmann. The mastering was done by Sverre Erik Henriksen.
Magnus Tenge: guitar
Per Oddvar Johansen: trommer
Tellef Øgrim: guitar
All music was composed by the band.
Then There (2023)
But you move on (2020)
The Leif (2018)
Album cover 2023
Left to right: Magnus Tenge, Per Oddvar Johansen, Tellef Øgrim