Stian is a fifth-generation accordion player from the constitutional village of Eidsvoll in Norway, where he learned to play by older fiddlers and accordion players as a child. Stian has traveled far and wide to pursue musical stimuli for the past 25 years, especially in the Balkans. His musical expertise and inventiveness are unprecedented.
“Musical Sanatorium” is a conceptual album exploring the world of Balkan music’s odd rhythms with the tonal language of European classical music with exclusive original compositions. The instrumentation is a vast smorgasbord consisting of different guitars, ocarinas, bassoon, French horn, choir, accordion, pedal steel guitar, organ, bagpipes, kaval, analog synthesizers, strings, harp, timpanis, drums, and bass. The overall sound of this album is monumental, evoking 70s music and classic film scores.
As a renowned “style-bender” of reputation, Stian naturally attracts a distinct caliber of musical collaborators, and contributing artists include talents such as Mike Patton, Ola Kvernberg, Jacob Collier, Todd Terje, Jarle Vespestad, Finn Guttormsen, Audun Sandvik, Atle Sponberg, Bjarne Magnus Jensen, Sidsel Walstad, Torbjørn Dyrud, Pål Hausken, Gabriel Carstensen Øien, Finn Guttormsen, and Marinette Tonning-Olsen.
Stian Carstensen released the single “Hippocampus Serenade” from the album on May 21st. The single was released alongside an epic music video that premiered on Norway’s National TV channel NRK on the esteemed show “Hovedscenen”. It is a cinematic piece of art straddling the liminal boundaries between dream and nightmare.