Boot — Virvla
(NorthSide NSD6039, 1999, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2000-10-01
One of the things that’s often struck me is how “ancient” much of the folk music from Sweden, Norway, and Finland sounds. Melodies have a modal sound to them much like Medieval and Renaissance music from the European mainland. I’ve always found this “ancient” music fascinating: it’s so primal and energetic compared to the compositions of later centuries. Outside the folk traditions of the Celtic and Nordic peoples, this kind of musical power disappeared for a long time, only to resurface in twentieth century in rock music. (OK, so this is not a strictly accurate take on music history, but I’m referring to the feelings the music provokes in me, so I’ll stand by my word.) Boot is a Swedish trio that takes this folk/medieval connection quite literally, playing Nordic tunes on mostly ancient instruments. Hållbus Totte Mattsson contributes madora, lutes, and hummel (a kind of dulcimer); Ola Bäckström plays viola d’amore, bouzouki, and 12-string guitar; and percussionist Björn Tollin adds power with tambourine, bass drum, and other rhythmic devices (not including a conventional kit). Mattsson and Tollin are part of the electro-folk pioneering band Hedningarna, but here they stick to not just acoustic, but very old-style instrumentation. Many of the pieces remind me of the music of John Dowland and others with their Renaissance dances. I could picture this music being played by a group of minstrels in a torch-lit castle while lords and ladies and servants and dogs indulge in a drunken feast. Tollin’s percussion really gets things going on some tunes, and the diners would jump up and dance wildly, with much stomping and hand-slapping. My only complaint is that at 39 minutes, the CD is way too short; another 30 minutes could hold my interest easily.
Related artist(s): Boot
Didier Lockwood RIP – Word reaches us today of the death of one of France's great jazz musicians, violinist Didier Lockwood. His playing bridged many worlds, from traditional jazz to fusion to progressive rock, and his talent can be heard on recordings by Magma, Clearlight, Pierre Moerlen's Gong, and many more. Lockwood was 62. » Read more
10 Years of Fruits de Mer - The Incomplete Angler – Those of you who are faithful followers of Exposé will know that we have been promoting Fruits de Mer and its side labels and releases from nearly its first year. Now music journalist and author Dave Thompson has written a book chronicling the past ten years as a celebration of this milestone. » Read more
Bill Bruford Ventures into Uncharted Territory – Drum master Bill Bruford, veteran of some of the most creative bands in history (King Crimson, Yes, Genese, etc.), is sharing some of what he's learned about being a drummer and a musician in his new book, Uncharted: Creativity and the Expert Drummer, out on University of Michigan Press. » Read more