Sorten Muld — III
(NorthSide NSD6055, 2001, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2001-07-01
Back in 1999 I fell in love with Sorten Muld’s first NorthSide release, Mark II (reviewed in #19), which easily made my year-end list. Now I’m happy to report that III is even better, presenting a stunning blend of electronics and folk music. Overall, 2001 finds the band more energetic, with fewer quiet moments and more uptempo drive. Ulla Bendixen’s voice provides the main focus; Henrik Munch and Martin Ottosen (this time credited simply with “electronics”) sculpt sound like Henry Moore sculpts stone, all sensuous unexpected curves. The six-piece Sorten Muld Orchestra adds a wide variety of important coloration, from distorted electric guitar to bagpipes to hurdy-gurdy, including a wide selection of percussion. In spite of the heavily programmed nature of the basic tracks, the music comes off as very organic, managing to combine beats that would be at home in a dance club with imaginative and unexpected sounds that warrant repeated listening at home. The whole disc exhibits incredible attention to detail, as if Munch and Ottosen went over ever second of it, touching up each instant with something tasty, be it effects, distant fiddles, or (for all I know) the sighing of dance-weary tree sprites. All in all, this is one of the most successful fusions of electronics and traditional elements I’ve yet heard, and a sure bet to return to my CD changer frequently.
Related artist(s): Sorten Muld
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