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

2019-04-24
Help MoonJune Bring Great Music to Life – Like many music lovers around the world, we’ve been thrilled and amazed to hear the recordings that have been released by MoonJune from sessions at La Casa Murada in Spain. Such label stalwarts as Mark Wingfield, Markus Reuter, Asaf Sirkis, Tony Levin, Dusan Jevtovic, Vasil Hadzimanov, and many more have gathered in various combinations at the studio to produce some of the most creative music in recent years. Now, label head Leonardo Pavkovic is offering a compilation, La Casa Murada - MoonJune Sessions, Volume One, as a fundraiser for upcoming sessions. » Read more

2019-04-10
The Pineapple Thief to Tour North America – November and December of 2019 will see The Pineapple Thief bringing their music to Canada, Mexico, and the US, and famed drummer Gavin Harrison will be on board. The band has been touring extensively in Europe, but North America will be new territory for them. » Read more

2019-03-25
Scott Walker RIP – Noel Scott Engel, better known as Scott Walker, was one of the most intriguing and enigmatic musical figures in the second half of the 20th Century. His strange career started with The Walker Brothers, an American pop group that featured no one named Walker and no brothers. After moving to England in 1965, they had a series of hit singles. Scott's solo work started with Scott in 1967. Starting in the 80s, his work took an increasingly avant-garde turn. » Read more

2019-03-20
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more

2019-03-03
Seaprog 2019 Lineup Almost Complete – The Seaprog festival in Seattle is scheduled for June 7-9 this year, and they've announced their lineup of performers. The revitalized Trettioåriga Kriget will cap Friday night, perennial favorites Marbin are on Saturday, and District 97 will finish off the fest on Sunday night. In support, they've booked a stellar variety of artists from the Northwest and around the world, including EchoTest, Markus Reuter and Trey Gunn, and the live debut of the amazing Troot project. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Gregg Bendian - Research (Tiny Useful Secrets) – The challenge for a compositional drummer is for the solo percussionist to be consistently engaging to the listener. Dedicating each of the pieces to a specific personal influence helps create a...  (2009) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues