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

2017-11-16
Celebrate 10 Years of Fruits de Mer – As a special celebration for a decade of cool vinyl releases, our friends at Fruits de Mer records have prepared a limited edition reissue of an album by the first band ever to appear on the label: Schizo Fun Addict. The band is known for unusual release strag » Read more

2017-11-02
Mega Dodo Presents New Charity Album – Our friends at Mega Dodo have put together a lovely compilation of their artists performing new arrangements of nursery rhymes, and all the profits from sales of the album will benefit Save the Children. It features a number of artists we've covered. » Read more

2017-10-18
Phil Miller RIP – Sad word reaches us today of the passing of another of the great musicians of the Canterbury Scene — guitarist Phil Miller. His distinctive sound added greatly to Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North, and National Health, and he also contributed to albums by Caravan, Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin, and many others. He was 68. » Read more

2017-10-13
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more

2017-09-26
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

M.A.S.S. - Mysteria – In the early 70s there was the legendary Krautrock band Mythos, led by multi-instrumentalist Stephan Kaske. Over the decades Kaske remained active as a musician, ultimately becoming a solo electronic...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues