Exposé Online banner

Sorten Muld — Mark II
(NorthSide NSD6035, 1999, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2000-05-01

Mark II Cover art

Sorten Muld exist in the same milieu as Hedningarna, Garmarna, and Afro Celt Sound System, bringing modern sounds and techniques to traditional music, in this case that of Denmark. They are masters of the expansive sound of the modern studio, coupling samples, effects, and electronics with the earthy sounds of nyckelharpa, bodhran, and bagpipes, not to mention Ulla Bendixen’s extraordinary voice. She ranges from breathy whispers to soaring full-bodied tones, but never growly sounds or strange noises like Sanna Kurki-Suonio of Hedningarna (not that that’s a bad thing, it’s just not Ulla’s style). The music is full of catchy, hummable melodies (even if you don’t understand the words) and bouncy rhythms, and no matter how many times or how closely you listen, there always seem to be new details cropping up. Odd little echoes at the end of a phrase, a sound reminiscent of Tuvan throat singers, the click of the nyckelharpa keys – these sorts of details provide endless fascination. All of the music is based on melodies and text from the Nordic tradition, and that rich background serves it well. This is music that has been honed and tested over the centuries – no wonder it slips so easily into the head. The other two band members are Henrik Esben Munch (“sound designer”) and Martin Døssing Ottosen (credited as “architect”), who have roles somewhat less defined than the vocalist, but one way or another must encomapss keyboards, rhythm tracks (looped or programmed), and samples. Other musicians contribute live drums and percussion, guitar, contrabass, flutes, and other instruments, and there’s even scratching on one track. Moods range from calm and mysterious (“Mylardattar”) to energetic and driving (“The Raven”). Before I’d even finished one listen, I knew Sorten Muld had a solid place on my 1999 Top Ten list.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 19, 1999 releases

Related artist(s): Sorten Muld

Latest news

2018-05-14
Glenn Branca RIP – Experimental guitarist and composer Glenn Branca has died at the age of 69. He was known for compositions featuring large ensembles of guitars, and for the use of feedback. He founded his band Theoretical Girls in the mid-70s as an art-punk answer to what he saw as the increasing commercialization of punk music. His compositions were highly influential, with such figures as David Bowie, Thurston Moore, and John Lurie among his fans. » Read more

2018-04-05
OBEY Convention XI Set for May 24-28 in Halifax – As the 2018 festival season rapidly approaches, we’d like you to be aware of a real treasure of diverse and creative music that’s going to take place in Halifax, Nova Scotia, next month. The OBEY Convention is on its 11th outing, and features a wide range of artists from around the world. From avant-industrial noise to experimental takes on Classical Chinese music, from chamber jazz to doom metal, from ambient soundscapes to Canadian First Nations drumming, you’d be hard pressed to find a festival with more variety in sound anywhere in the world. » Read more

2018-04-04
Close to the Rain Festival in Bergen Announces Lineup – Now in its second year, the Close to the Rain Festival of progressive music is scheduled to take place in Bergen, Norway, on June 7 - 9. They've got an amazing slate of bands lined up, including such powerhouses as Anekdoten, Major Parkinson, Arabs in Aspic, Tusmørke, and many more. » Read more

2018-03-01
Seaprog 2018 Artist Announcements Raise Festival's Profile – Seattle's Seaprog festival has been going since 2013, and the 2018 edition features a slate of artists that's sure to bring more attention to the event. Cheer-Accident, Bubblemath, and Free Salamander Exhibit are in the first round announcement of performers. In keeping with their tradition of focusing on regional artists, they will also present a number of artists from Washington and Oregon. [Edit: Just added: Inner Ear Brigade] » Read more

2018-02-26
Adelbert von Deyen RIP – Word reaches us that German electronic musician Adelbert von Deyen has died. His recorded legacy reaches back to 1978, when Sky Records released Sternzeit. Von Deyen, who was born October 25, 1953 in Süderbrarup, was also known as a painter and graphic artist. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Robert Rich & Lisa Moskow - Yearning – Rich's various sonic collaborations have taken another detour into new territory on this, his first album length collaboration with sarod player Lisa Moskow. From the huge soundscapes on his early...  (1995) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues