Bjørn Nes might just be Norway’s most obscure guitar hero and composer. His new record “Abacus” is roughly 55 intense, calm, strange, confusing, recognisable, fast, and slow minutes of music.

It’s quirky, melodic, bluesy, arranged with total abandon, and guitar-driven for the most part: a musical cocktail of 70s power pop, blues rock prog, and baroque colored contemporary classical music. It’s a record that doesn’t strive to be defined but rather strives to reflect creative diversity, improvisation, and experimentation: from the fragile piano and linear story in “Hotel Royale” to the allegorical and rough “If I Die In a Combat Zone (…)”.

Bjørn is fan of what he calls progressive melodies and arrangements that take the listener by surprise. His music is melodic at heart, sore, but rough around the edges: as one would expect from someone with a background in rock music. American record producer Beau Hill (Ratt, Winger, Alice Cooper etc) who previously worked with Bjørn on a different project stated that he had “excellent material, an unusual focus on arrangement details, and progressive melodic hooks (…),” and that about sums Bjørn up.

Bjørn has written and produced Abacus himself on a minimal budget. But with a little help from both new and old friends. The record is mastered by Don Bartley, possibly Australia’s most prolific mastering engineer (Metallica, Nick Cave, INXS, ABBA and Beatles re-issues etc), and printed by Diger Distro in Oslo.