Sound Impression: Formations by Julia Gjertsen

Julia Gjertsen is a composer & musician who was born in Russia but grew up in the northern part of Norway playing the piano from a young age. She is currently based in Oslo where she continued her studies in music and sound design and composed for contemporary dance and other commissioned productions. Though her debut EP Slow Motion Stories (2012) came out the better part of a decade ago, she has become much more prolific in recent years as both a collaborator and solo artist with appearances on numerous albums, singles, EPs, and compilations that demonstrate a continuously evolving sound that blends her skillful piano work with he creative use of electronics.

The most recent iteration of this a new album called Formations which comprises ten compositions that can equally be experienced as miniature ambient soundscapes built from stacks of piano & synth layers and threaded with ethereal colors added by Australian flutist Rowan Hamwood.

Formations is about how things take form, musically and in our lives – what forms our personalities, who we become… how everything in our lives forms and evolves.

Delicately poised between texture and melody and bursting with ideas that are realized with equal portions of precision and zest, Formations becomes a buoyant listening experience with an underlying cleverness that demands it be taken seriously. That is not an easy balance to achieve in this medium and is a testament to the creative talents on display in this thoroughly pleasant and uplifting album.


Formations is available for digital download and streaming via Moderna Records. The album art is by contemporary abstract artist Cassie Suche who is based in Calgary. For those that enjoy the music, you may also wish to check out Julia’s latest collaboration with Chilean composer Nico Rosenberg entitled Paisajes imaginarios also released this month on digital & cassette by the California-based Constellation Tatsu imprint.