John Nilsen | Foreign Films

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Foreign Films

by John Nilsen

Eighteen exquisitely composed piano pieces with orchestral backing acting as though they belong in a motion picture, many as the featured theme song.
Genre: New Age: FilmBaby
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Two Towns Ago
2:31 $0.99
2. Meryl Cries Out
0:54 $0.99
3. Set an Amber Sky
1:21 $0.99
4. Chimes
0:19 $0.99
5. Marcy Ann
3:40 $0.99
6. Full Circle
3:39 $0.99
7. Wrapped Around Your Eyes
3:15 $0.99
8. Fade from Black
0:42 $0.99
9. Parallel Hypnosis
4:14 $0.99
10. Spoken Subtitles
3:20 $0.99
11. For Reasons Unknown
3:11 $0.99
12. Lead Me Down
0:26 $0.99
13. Minute 'til Midnight
3:26 $0.99
14. Classical Bicycle
1:41 $0.99
15. Foreign Films
3:34 $0.99
16. A Dozen Roses
3:36 $0.99
17. Off into Somewhere
3:01 $0.99
18. Falling Leaves
2:20 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
John Nilsen was born in Seattle, Washington in 1956. The Nilsen family moved to Portland, Oregon, USA in 1960. Nilsen began studying classical piano from his mother at age six. Continuing his musical education, he began playing guitar at age fourteen. John moved to Ashland, Oregon in 1974 to attend Southern Oregon College (Southern Oregon University). Nilsen graduated in 1979 with a Bachelor of Arts in English, and was honored by the institution in 1995 in recognition of his outstanding achievements, dedicated efforts and leadership in the field of the performing arts with the Distinguished Alumnus Award, the most prestigious award bestowed upon Southern Oregon University graduates. An accomplished pianist, guitarist, songwriter, lyricist and vocalist, Nilsen was also chosen to be a Deering Banjo Artist in 2016.

Nilsen founded the Magic Wing recording label in 1987. The label has a catalog of nineteen successful titles, each with international distribution. Before founding Magic Wing, John recorded three successful solo piano records on LA’s, Eagle Records from 1983 to 1985. He has released sixteen on his own Magic Wing label with fifteen other CDs licensed in countries including Germany, Great Britain, The Philippines, Canada, Taiwan and Singapore bringing reported total record sales to well over one million copies sold. Very few independent recording artists claim such success. Having performed in Europe, Asia and all fifty U.S. States countless times, John Nilsen has two hundred and fifty of his compositions and musical arrangements receiving BMI royalties world wide. John Nilsen’s newest release, Local Ocean, was released in January, 2017. Foreign Films, the 20th Nilsen recording will be released August 23, 2019 and emphasizes Nilsen’s superb piano compositions with orchestral backing. It will be an instant classic.

Like each of the past twenty five years, John played two hundred and fifty performances in 2018, most being out of Oregon. Nilsen splits his performances between touring internationally as an in demand pianist combining elements of classical, folk and jazz, performing with the John Nilsen Trio, featuring Jeff Leonard/bass and Jason Moore/ percussion (which has toured internationally), and with John’s guitar/vocal rock band, John Nilsen & SWIMFISH, featuring Dave Captein/bass, Mike Snyder/drums, percussion, Bob Logue/guitar, vocals and Don Woodward/guitar, mandolin, harmonica, vocals. SWIMFISH includes John’s piano, but features his acoustic and electric guitar playing tucked into and soaring above a bed of a uniquely great supporting cast.

John has given back to his community by teaching songwriting residencies and speaking to students in schools throughout the country, and locally including every school in the West Linn/Wilsonville School District over the past twenty-five years.



to write a review

Kathy Parsons

From MainlyPiano
With all of the albums I review over the course of a year (between150 and 200!), it’s a real treat when one comes along that blows me away. John Nilsen’s twentieth album, "Foreign Films," is that album. The eighteen original tracks were composed with the idea of making listeners feel as though they are hearing a film soundtrack. The album includes four pieces with a string quartet from the Oregon Symphony, three full-length piano solos, and four short piano solos that are preludes to the pieces that follow them. The other seven tracks are piano and/or guitar (both played by Nilsen) with orchestral backing; Nilsen composed all but one of the pieces.

One of the amazing things about "Foreign Films" is the variety of musical styles and genres that are featured. I knew John Nilsen was an extremely versatile artist, but his mastery of so many genres is beyond impressive. From classical to jazz to rock to folk to new age, and a few world influences, this is an album that really needs to be heard to fully appreciate the vision and artistry that went into the music.

Born in Seattle, WA and raised mostly in the Portland, OR area (where he still lives), John Nilsen is one of the busiest musicians in the Pacific Northwest. He tours constantly around the US as well as internationally, performing about 250 concerts a year that include solo piano performances as well as piano, guitar and vocals with his two bands, The John Nilsen Trio and SWIMFISH.

"Foreign Films" opens with “Two Towns Ago,” a graceful, bittersweet piece for piano, guitar and strings that serves as an intriguing welcome to the album. “Meryl Cries Out” clocks in at under a minute, but is perfect in its brevity. “Set An Amber Sky” is a gorgeous, haunting duet for acoustic guitar and cello and I always hate for it to end! “Marcy Ann,” for piano and string quartet, has a very classical waltz feeling with some mysterious passages that really draw you in - a favorite (one of many!). “Full Circle” kicks up the energy level by combining a variety of genres that include country, jazz, Latin, etc. It’s an eclectic mix that really works! “Wrapped Around Your Eyes” is a heartfelt romantic piano solo, pure and simple. “Parallel Hypnosis” is another favorite. Very dark and intense, piano and strings create a chilly atmosphere that is totally irresistible. An elegant piano solo, “Spoken Subtitles” tells a simple, flowing story without words. “Minute ’Til Midnight” is another favorite. Piano, strings, percussion and electric guitar beckon the listener into a bit of movie nastiness (of your own choosing). Love it! The solo piano “Classical Bicycle” playfully hints at ragtime as well as lighthearted classical stylings. “Off Into Somewhere,” a wistful, dreamy piano solo, touches the heart. “Falling Leaves,” was written by John’s piano teacher mother, Jean Nilsen. A light and breezy waltz for piano and string quartet, it stays true to the classical form and ends the album with a sweet smile.

Bravo, John Nilsen! I’ve been a fan for a long time, but you really outdid yourself with "Foreign Films"! Don’t miss it!