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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Tom Rush-What I Know

Tom Rush What I Know:

A healthy balance between up-tempo fun folk songs, and mournful country ballads.  Theres an abundance of covers here, but Rush writes songs as well as he interprets them. His guitar playing is reserved but tasteful as is his clear voice and his simple guitar playing. A pleasant record without any dud tracks, but theres nothing here that will blow your mind.

Rating: 11/15 creepy album covers

Bill Frisell-The Best of Bill Frisell, Vol. 1: Folk Songs

Bill Frisell The Best of Bill Frisell, Vol. 1: Folk Songs:

Beautiful renditions of tunes from all aspects of American folk musics. Frisell  and his backing musicians manage to recreate everything from country, to blues, to Appalachian music while adding some sly notes and modifications of there own. Frisell’s movement away from jazz and towards folk is an interesting and potentially bad choice, and on this disk its clear that it was well worth the risk.

Rating: 12/15 indignant jazz snobs

Alela Diane-To Be Still

Alela Diane To Be Still:

American folk sung with a powerful voice and featuring beautiful accompaniment. Diane’s lyrics are powerful and emotive. She covers a variety of topics all guaranteed to hit home. Her voice and guitar playing are also exceptional, practically demanding attention. Guest musicians playing mandolin, cello, and fiddle never overplay, and the layered back up vocals do wonders to accentuate important lines. This is a career that will be worth following.

Rating: 14/15 dumbfounded album reviewers