Although I know very little about literature from Sweden, Norway and Finland, I do happen to be obsessed with a smattering of bands/sound artists and record labels based in these Nordic countries…here is some information (grouped by record label):
FYI – the easiest way to get a sampling of any of these bands/artists work is through their myspace pages
*Rune Grammofon is a Norwegian record label founded in 1998 by Rune Kristoffersen – the label was started with help from ECM (snooty, high end/high culture German label that would be comparable to a publisher like New Directions) but is now independent of their former parent.
RG specializes in new-classical/electronic/jazz/noise/grey-area – all of the music is Norwegian – and, all of the album covers feature the artwork of the amazing Kim Hiorthøy (see the big orange butt above; Arve Henrickson below). My favorite bands: Deathprod, Supersilent, Arve Henrickson, Alog, Svalastog, Biosphere, Phonophani, The Information, Skyphone, Maja Ratkje
*Hapna is a Swedish label about which I know very little (and about which there is very little information available) – what I do know is they have been one of my favorite labels for quite sometime...
Bands to check out: Tape (one of Jenny and my favorite, favorite, favorite bands; instrumental, off-kilter, folksy, hypnotic, hauntingly beautiful stuff with lots of samples and hiss…), Stephan Mathieu, Giuseppe Ielasi (he’s Italian although I highly recommend him and the Italian label new classical/prog-rock label “Die Schachtel” that he is associated with), ¾ Had Been Eliminated, A Taste of Ra, Anders Dahl, Tenniscoats, Anna Järvinen
* (from Fonal’s myspace site) Fonal Records is a Finnish independent label run by Sami Sänpäkkilä that began releasing mainly domestic music in 1995. Fonal has a catalogue of 40 experimental, folk, ambient and popular music releases and has organized concerts for its artists across Europe and North America.
Bands: CIRCLE, ES / SAMI SÄNPÄKKILÄ (my personal favorite), KEMIALLISET YSTÄVÄT, PAAVOHARJU (another favorite), SHOGUN KUNITOKI
(amazing ES album...)
*Kning Disk is another Swedish label. Here is what they have have to say about themselves on their website: Kning Disk presents first-rate, limited editions and various kinds of presentations where innovative composers of yesteryear shares space with the kindred spirits of the groundbreaking artists, designers and writers of tomorrow.
I find this label to be especially interesting because of the sample-based work they release (esp. Anders Dahl) and then the otherwise innovate, instrumental spicy music (Jerry Johansson, Jasper TX)
other bands/artists to check out: Steffen Basho-Junghans, BJNilsen, Alejandra Salinas
(Jerry Johansson, 'Book of Dreams')
(Anders Dahl, 'Habitat')