Exposé Online banner

Gjallarhorn — Grimborg
(NorthSide NSD6070, 2002, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2003-08-01

Grimborg Cover artGjallarhorn’s last album, Sjofn (reviewed in #21), was one of my top CDs of 2000. The combination of thunderous drums, droning didgeridoo, and female vocals made for a unique sound that really caught my imagination. The first thing I noticed about Grimborg is that it is in some ways less intense, with David Lillkvist’s percussion taking a slightly more subdued role much of the time, and the fiddles taking more of a lead. It’s the same elements the band has had all along with the balance shifted a bit. As with Sjofn, there is such power in the music that it’s hard to believe it’s entirely acoustic. Jenny Wilhelms’s voice is beautiful as ever, and with less of the massed multitracking featured on the last album, her singing seems more intimate. Wilhelms on fiddle and hardanger, combined with Tommy Mansikka-Aho on viola, give the music a heavy stringed component without the use of guitars, and their lively playing keeps things interesting, the viola providing an important middle range complement to the higher pitches of the violin and the low tones of the didgeridoo. Using didgeridoo for backing is a risky choice given the instrument’s inherent limitations, but Tommy Mansikka-Aho brings forth a wide variety of tones and rhythms from the simple tubes, and in conjunction with the wide variety of percussion instruments, simplicity breeds fascination. There is no other band on the planet that sounds like Gjallarhorn, and that is quite an accomplishment at this point in music history.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 27, 2002 releases

Related artist(s): Gjallarhorn

Latest news

2020-10-14
Audion Is Back in Business – Our esteemed colleague Alan Freeman has restarted Audion Magazine after a seven year hiatus. The new incarnation is available online on their Bandcamp site. Audion's history goes back to 1984, and included 58 issues up to 2013. Issue #59 is available now, and #60 is in the works. » Read more

2020-10-06
Romantic Warriors IV – Krautrock (Part 2) Is in the Works – Zeitgeist Media, the people who have brought us the great series of documentary films chronicling the history of progressive rock, are working on the second installment of their examination of German music. Krautrock 2 will focus on artists from Münich such as Guru Guru, Amon Düül II, Xhol Caravan, Kraan, Witthüser & Westrupp, and Popol Vuh. » Read more

2020-09-09
Simeon Coxe RIP – Simeon Coxe, best known for his experimental electronics in the band Silver Apples, has died at the age of 82. The band's 1968 debut album set the stage for both German electronic music and experimental punk music a decade later. Coxe died on September 8 from pulmonary fibrosis. » Read more

2020-09-05
Gary Peacock RIP – Legendary bassist Gary Peacock, veteran of many recordings and performances with Paul Bley, George Russell, Roland Kirk, Bill Evans, Tony Williams, and many more. » Read more

2020-07-22
Tim Smith RIP – Tim Smith, leader of the eccentric band Cardiacs, has died at the age of 59 after many years of health problems. Cardiacs was known for intense and complicated music that combined punk energy with the rhythmic and harmonic sophistication of progressive rock. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Hot Tuna - Double Dose – Long unavailable on CD, this full-length live disc (originally a 2LP set) is a superb summary of Hot Tuna's career up to that point; in fact the band split up shortly after the album hit the street in...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues