MARK OLSON & INGUNN RINGVOLD INVITE LISTENERS TO JOIN THEM FOR A FASCINATING MUSICAL JOURNEY ON
MAGDALEN ACCEPTS THE INVITATION
OUT JUNE 5 ON FIESTA RED RECORDS
The husband-and-wife duo’s third collaboration mines a “Death Valley isolation chamber folk/pop sound” that is awash with darkness and light
March 12, 2020 —A roller coaster in a long-closed Lake Minnetonka amusement park, walks through historic orthodox churches, a fossil-collecting canoe trip along the Niobrara River, and an isolated pizza place in South Africa. Old memories swirling in the warm Joshua Tree breezes provided Jayhawks founder Mark Olson and his wife, Norwegian singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Ingunn Ringvold, with the inspiration for the set of intriguing, imagistic songs that lovingly fill their latest outing, Magdalen Accepts the Invitation, coming June 5 from Fiesta Red Records.
The album’s ten tracks draw upon the couple’s recent adventures together and their earlier adventures apart as well as tapping into, and stretching out, their own individual musical influences. While continuing along the Americana-cobbled roads they took on their first two albums, Olson and Ringvold explore lesser traveled musical territories on this release. Without exactly knowing where they were going, the two were emboldened by each other’s company and unafraid to push forward. As Olson describes it:
The recording sessions occurred during the heat of summer at Thermometer Shelter Studios, located not too far from Death Valley National Park. Olson admits that the experience was not so nice all the time. “You really begin to miss family and friends, community with one another, and college bookstores. The music begins to ask you something at this point: Am I strong? Can I do this all alone? Where am I going?”
“We wanted to go another way. We felt like we were being called to be a husband-and-wife songwriting team driving together at night, holding hands in the dark. Finding new ways of floating above the Armenian mountain streams of our memories when we played music. A language we only understood when nature spoke to us. We decidedly put melody first in a modal sense of the distance between notes and harmony … The writing, melodies, lyrics — then the recording and the takes — are very focused and clean. In the past I would get a start and go for the finish line as fast as possible. This time I doubled and tripled back including on the artwork to make sure everything was absolutely right.”
The Armenian Qanon, the Mellotron, the dulcimer, and djembe drums are among the world of instruments that the multi-talented Ringvold contributed to Magdalen’s sound. The variety of arrangements on the album act, she explains, “like a different color in an impressionistic painting.” Ringvold also is thrilled about being able to weave elements of her family’s musical heritage into her own songs and the interesting ways that her work blended in with Olson’s original material.
All of Magdalen’s original track recordings were done on a Nagra field recorder, which further enhanced the album’s unvarnished sonic textures. Additionally, Olson and Ringvold were perfectly in sync when it came to the recording process. He did all the analog engineering while she did the digital. Handling the mixing and mastering, as he had on Spokeswoman of the Bright Sun, was the award-winning producer John Schreiner, and Olson sings high praise for the warmth and spaciousness that Schreiner delivers in his work.