Origami Arktika - "Trollebotn"
(Silber Records 2007, silber062)
From Aural Innovations #38 (January 2008)
From Norway, Origami Arktika play traditional Norwegian folk music mixed with a variety of experimental/avant-garde and psychedelic influences. Trollebotn, the band's seventh album and their second for Silber Records, was recorded on an island in the Seljord lake, mostly in the open air to include the sounds of the lake and wilderness. "Anne Sit Heime" opens the CD and sets the tone for the album with acoustic instruments, percussion, wind instruments and Norwegian language vocals. The band play a repetitive, slowly developing theme that gradually builds in volume, and even starts to rock out a bit. There are folk-psych elements and touches of soul, which brings to mind a sort of avant-folk take on Traffic's "Low Spark of the High Heeled Boys" (I"ll bet the band have never heard that analogy). "Fanteguten" has a playful feel, like children's instruments, but also a variety of drums and percussion that are the instrumental driver of the music, as well as the vocals that make the actual song. This would have held up well as an instrumental sound and rhythm piece, but the addition of the vocals make for a curious but very interesting combination. These guys have a real flair for playing avant-grade music that also happens to be melodic, trippy, and oddly accessible. Another good example of this is "Guro Heddelid", which gets even deeper into the playful experimental rhythms and percussion interplay. Another highlight track is "Som Lindi Baerer Lauv", a dark avant spacey atmospheric piece, with a head throbbing bass and eerie keyboard lines.
This was my hands down favorite of the latest batch of Silber CDs and one of the more interesting albums I've heard this year. It's really difficult to accurately describe what these guys sound like. I love psychedelic influenced folk music, but also have a taste for free-improvisational experimental music, and Origami Arktika have a unique and creative way of bringing these worlds together.
For more information you can visit the Origami Arktika web site at: http://kunst.no/alias/origami/arktika.
Hear music and view at video at the Origami Arktika Myspace page at: http://myspace.com/origamiarktika.
Visit the Silber Records web site at: http://www.silbermedia.com.
Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz