Garmarna — Hildegard von Bingen
(NorthSide NSD6063, 2001, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2002-04-01When I first heard that Garmarna’s next album was going to consist entirely of music by 12th Century composer Hildegard von Bingen, I was a bit concerned. But I was assured they weren’t going New Age, setting medieval chants to insipid beats. Von Bingen would be Garmarnified, not vice versa. After all, their last album’s “Euchari” was a von Bingen adaptation, and it was a great tune. I got a little preview of what this CD would sound like when the band played a few tunes live on their brief US tour of 2000. Even that could not prepare me for this magnificent album. The stately modal melodies are not far removed from the traditional tunes Garmarna has dealt with in the past, only now the lyrics are in Latin instead of Swedish (which is not much difference to a listener who understands neither). The one major change from previous outings is the style of the rhythm parts. It was thunderous drumming which first attracted me to this band, and while I have to admit a slight disappointment that thunder is nowhere in the forecast, the skittering beats of this set are immensely appealing, blending programmed and live sounds seamlessly. The stop-start edits and thirty-second note fills have more than a passing resemblance to current trends in electronic music and hip-hop, but combined with hurdy-gurdy, fiddle, acoustic guitar, and Emma Härdelin’s ever-serene voice, no one will ever mistake this for Missy Elliott or Aphex Twin. A truly stunning album, full of amazing sounds.
Related artist(s): Garmarna
SoundQuest Fest 2021 – SoundQuest Fest, first experienced as a live festival in Tucson Arizona in 2010 was created by ambient music pioneer Steve Roach. This 2021 event will unite a worldwide gathering of artists and audience members together for a 3-day online event unique in the realm of ambient music. From March 26-28th a continuous flow of streamed performances, audio-video wonder worlds and deep immersion zones will burn bright on Roach’s YouTube channel. » Read more
Chick Corea RIP – The sad news has reached us that Chick Corea has Returned to Forever, so to speak. The innovative keyboardist and composer died on February 9 at the age of 79. With a career that spanned from the 60s until shortly before his death, Corea touched many listeners with the incredible variety of music he produced in his lifetime. » Read more
Asia Minor Third Album on the Way – On January 29, AMS records will be releasing the long-awaited third album by classic Turkish-French band Asia Minor. Released last year in Japan, this will be the widespread debut of Points of Libration. The album features original members Setrak Bakirel (vocals, guitar) and Eril Tekeli (flute, guitar). » Read more
Harold Budd RIP – Harold Budd, one of pre-eminent American composers of avant-garde and minimalism, has died of complications from the coronavirus. Budd came to prominence in the 70s, championed by Brian Eno on his Obscure Records label, with music that blended academic minimalism with electric jazz and electronic music. Much of Budd's best known work was done in collaboration with other artists, including Eno, Daniel Lanois, Robin Guthrie, Andy Partridge, John Foxx, Jah Wobble, and many others. » Read more