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NEW ALBUM: Myrkur - Folkesange
#1
MYRKUR ~ Folkesange

[Image: R-14922207-1584293957-8628.jpeg.jpg]

Thought I would give this a try and have been pleasantly surprised. Yes, the artist name implies black metal - ‘myrkur’ means darkness, or gloominess in Icelandic, and yes, Myrkur is a black metal or dark folk project, but not in this instance. The album is not frivolous, in general tone, but it’s also not even remotely metal, although these songs are heavily laden with nuance. I’d peg it more as world music than folk – Nordic folk brought right up to date.

There’s not a single misstep on the album – it’s a model of restraint, mostly – no bursting out, (although to be honest, one does get the feeling of waiting for a bursting out to happen! It doesn’t …) and it’s lovely, in my view – I didn’t dislike any of the tracks, not that I could understand most of them, lol! No idea why, but it struck a primal chord and music for me is a lot about feeling as well as hearing. As far as I can tell, this is original writing and composition barring one or two numbers, which are traditional or based thereon, and strangely, I feel as though I should know some of them, or as though I recognise them.  

There is another known factor in terms of tradition which is a track based on Bob Dylan’s interpretation of a Scottish folk song “The Daemon Lover”, restyled by him as “The House Carpenter” and by Myrkur simply as “House Carpenter”. I was also wondering about the vocals on the "Tor i Helheim", and then I stumbled over 'kulning', which I’d known about but forgotten – the ancient practice, in Sweden, of calling cows home - and it all began to make sense. 

There are many classical structures underlying this music, I do believe, and that would also make sense in the metal context of previous albums. Some wonderful instruments – stringed things from aeons ago, the cello is superbly mournful and there’s a lyre which while so simple in appearance produces amazing sounds. Generally, as a some sort of reference, I’d say think a cross between Loreena McKennit and the Adiemus project.

Myrkur is the brainchild of one person – Danish musician and actress Amalie Bruun, and usually she goes it alone, however, while she is solely responsible for the writing and composition on this album and for quite a few of the instruments, as well as the vocals, she has some additional enlisted personnel in the mix. There are the melancholy Celtic undertones one would normally associate with a Scandinavian artist, but it’s not all doom and gloom, there’s something very evocative going on here – something very old and elemental. She sings of Yggdrasil, the enormous ash tree of Norse mythology, and it’s fanciful, I know, but somehow this music conjures up something mystical for me – songs born of the terrain. Great voice too - crystalline. 

Cover art from “On the Mountaintop” by Hans Dahl who was famous for his paintings of the landscapes and fjords of his native Norway.    

Personnel:

Cello – Joanna Quail
Choir – Ida Sandberg Motzfeldt, Veslemøy Aalde Heyerdahl
Mandola, Percussion – Christopher Juul
Percussion – Kristian Uhre
Viola, Talharpa [Stråkharpa] – Stefan Brisland Ferner
Vocals, Piano, Nyckelharpa, Lyre, Violin, Guitar, Frame Drum – Myrkur

The full album is on YouTube here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=srW-nYcCnbk

"Tor i Helheim" which I have since found harks back to the epic Icelandic Edda - a collection of folk tales from way way back ... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=up-OX1YrEf8

"House Carpenter" ... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BSpB5qQ92RU

"Leaves of Yggdrasil" ... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ofm99bGPtn0

Gorgeous piano on the final track - "Vinter" and a super icy vocal, appropriately!  Smile  ... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C0NeJGdZsno

"Gudernes Vilje" ... 



"The surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that it has never tried to contact us." ~ Bill Watterson
Reply
#2
^^
I saw this one on allmusic and was both put off and intrigued by their description
I decided not to listen.
maybe I will now?
Reply
#3
Sorry Ruby, I tried.
I struggled through the first two tracks
finally made it through the following two before I had to give up.
Reply


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