Today, Jens Carelius has released his new album entitled “Opsi” via Jansen Records. The album is named after his great-great-grandfather Fritz “Opsi” Doerries, the entomologist, and was inspired by his travels through Eastern Siberia in the late 1800’s.
Carelius is the founding member of Norwegian group Atlanter. The band won the Spellemann Award (Norwegian Grammy Awards) for Indie/Alternative Music and were described as making “baroque psych-rock somewhere in the Venn diagram between Grizzly Bear and Traffic” by NME.
Carelius previously released the single “All I Know”. Behind the entrancing swirling synths of the track, there lies a deeper meaning within the lyrics of the song, explains Carelius: “‘All I Know’ is about how we choose to spend our short time on this earth. The song starts with the clicking of a clock, as I wanted Opsi’s life and his own search to echo how we all live today, which is a totally different world than his. Opsi spent most of his life searching for something unknown and unseen. Never for the fame of it, purely driven by his genuine love for nature and wildlife.”
The first taster of the record came in the form of opening track on the album “Lay Me Down”. Carelius explained the meaning behind the song:
“During Opsi’s 22 years in Siberia, he had several visits to Germany, and the diary reveals details of a hidden love story that I’ve chosen to explore in this song. When you really miss someone, you forget about any trouble, pride, and drama that being with them stirs up. You just want that person and that love to be there, even though you know the ordeal it could bring.”
More on “Opsi”:
Many of us grew up listening to the supposedly enthralling stories and achievements of old or departed relatives, whether they are entirely true is another matter, but stories are always handed down and interpreted by each generation. Few can compare to the tales of Jens Carelius’ great-great-grandfather Fritz Doerries that he learnt of and neither can they compare their interpretations of these stories to Carelius’.
At 25 years old, Fritz “Opsi” Doerries left his hometown of Hamburg to experience a world completely different to his own, in the lands of Eastern Siberia. Doerries spent over 25 years in Siberia and his diary served to illustrate the wonders of nature in a breath-taking way to a young Carelius. In 2019, Jens Carelius will release his interpretation of the stories found within the diary as his new album “Opsi”.
An entomologist by trade, Doerries documented over 50,000 specimens of fascinating butterflies – many of them never-before-studied. His findings can today be found in museums all over the world and he even has a species of pygmy woodpecker named after him as it was first discovered in Siberia. He died at 101 years old, and left a diary chronicling, among other things, his hazardous oceanic voyages, the crossing of Japan by foot, surviving ice cold and merciless winters, but also endlessly beautiful summers.
Along with Lars Horntveth (who is perhaps best known for his work in founding the group Jaga Jazzist), Jens Carelius has created a thrilling soundtrack to his great-great-grandfather’s tales. Introductory track “Lay Me Down” is a startling opener with a romantic twist, Carelius has explained that, “During Opsi’s 22 years in Siberia, he had several visits to Germany, and the diary reveals details of a hidden love story that I’ve chosen to explore in this song. When you really miss someone, you forget about any trouble, pride, and drama that being with them stirs up. You just want that person and that love to be there, even though you know the ordeal it could bring.”
Carelius’ 12-string guitar and unique finger picking perfectly echoes the feeling of travel and movement – which are recurring themes in his music anyway. This, combined with the experimental talent of Horntveth, leaves an album that is part epic journey movie OST and part family history, with everything down to the individual lyrics based on the fascinating life of Fritz “Opsi” Doerries and his diary.