ARTIST: Origami Arktika
Origami Arktika is merely a small part of a much larger artist collective, Origami Republica, based out of Norway. This particular wing of the organization focuses on traditional Norwegian folk songs, but with a twist. While "Fjellmannjenta" is pure folk or something very close to it, built from sing-song vocals and acoustic guitar, the rest of the songs on this album range from acoustic-tinged sound collages to meandering psychedelia. All of the songs on this album come from the region that gives this CD its title, so the themes are familiar to fans of traditional music. There are drinking songs, lullabies, fairy tales, and more than a few humorous ballads. It's the arrangements, not the lyrics, that make this such an odd little excursion. "Anne Sit Heime" starts off as a minimalist acoustic piece, just soft singing and a hint of guitar, but jazzy chords and whistles give things a more dissonant ring than you'd expect from a lullaby. "Fanteguten" adds a sense of quiet chaos with plinking glockenspiel and bits of random percussion, while "Sterke-Nils Doyr" is nearly industrial folk, with Nurse With Wound-inspired bits of metallic clanking and violin creaks adorned by sparse vocals. This is a fascinating piece of musical scholarship and an even more fascinating example of radical reinterpretation. It's clear that the members of Origami Arktika put a lot of work into collecting and researching these songs, but it's hardly an academic effort, and they've succeeded admirably in putting their own distinct spin on age-old tunes.
Visit Origami Arktika at www.kunst.no/origami/arktika for more information.
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