Gjallarhorn — Grimborg
(NorthSide NSD6070, 2002, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2003-08-01Gjallarhorn’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.
Related artist(s): Gjallarhorn
Ginger Baker RIP – Legendary English drummer Ginger Baker has died at the age of 80. After coming to fame with Cream in the 60s alongside Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce, he became one of the most recognized and influential drummers of the rock era. On September 25, his family announced that he was critically ill, and on October 6 his death was confirmed. » Read more
Alex's Hand Seeks Spa Treatment – American / European band Alex's Hand has a new album in the works called Hungarian Spa, which looks to be their biggest and best yet, featuring a large roster of guest musicians. They're seeking funding to take the project on the road, and are looking for help from the crowd of wisdom. » Read more
Legendary Co-Founder of The 13th Floor Elevators Passes Away at Age 71 – Sadly, Roky Erickson passed away on May 31, 2019. Known as the father of psychedelic music and co-founder of the ground breaking 13th Floor Elevators, Roky had a profound influence on music from the 60s to today. Plagued by his own personal demons, Roky had a difficult life and is now free of these burdens. » Read more