Valravn – RE-COD3D

Valravn’s electro-folk RE-COD3D consists mostly of remixed and repurposed tracks from their most recent full length Koder På Snor. Koder, RE-COD3D.

One mystery of this album is how a band like Omnia, who seem to belong at folk festivals and nowhere else, could come up with such a beautiful remix of the track Kroppar.

My best answer is that it’s kind of like phenomenon of musicians leaving great bands to make failed solo albums. Individuals can’t always bring the breadth of personality to an album that naturally comes from iterating off the work of other people. So let Omnia rake over material as rich with original character as this, and even they will draw out something so simultaneously soaring and human as their version of Kroppar turned out to be.

It helps to have a front-woman like Anna Katrin Egilstrød, who is equal parts Bjork and Carla Kihlstedt. When she’s on, which is always, her voice spreads irresistible zest into every distorted warble, bleep, buzz or synth note in earshot.

The beats are sometimes defiantly simple, deeply possessed of a strange mixture of contentment and quirk. Seersken plods along for long periods with its trashily upbeat drums and drunken wanderings of distorted flute that sounds as if it were spewing out lovely, spoiled fruit. Each track provides breathing space for its ideas to meander and expand into their glorious, catchy weirdness. I could listen to this all day.

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Tangled Thoughts of Leaving – Deaden the Fields

TToL’s Deaden the fields has a warm tonal range I had normally associated with lethargy and the evening news until I heard Jaga Jazzists What We Must. And it has a Kayo Dot like negotiation between assertions of structure and spaces of open silence. In fact the opening track, Landmarks, reminds one of Gemini Becoming the Tripod, starting as it does with its grand avant-garde twang that rears up into the sky and slowly comes back down, like a blue whale backflopping in slow motion.

Sometimes giving off a three piece jazz feel, sometimes the 65daysofstatic style electro-postrock, piano rumblings that almost imperceptibly transform into electric channel changing static and back again. The best part of Landmarks is around the eight minute mark, where a schizophrenic but fluttery cascade of piano notes and pattering drums rinse over everything, feeling like rain on your wedding day… on a sunny day. Rain on a sunny day.

It’s remarkable that a 17:20 track can just keep giving. The rest of Deaden the Fields re-treads the same aesthetic so nothing can quite live up to the knockout punch that leads off the album, but there’s some ambitious stuff here.