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: Press Release
: Digital Booklet
Ro og hamle
Bryggja te jol
Det syng for Storegut
Skonde deg du jente - lurlokk
Origami Arktika embodies tension. With “Absolut Gehör” they explore otherworldly realms. Songs gleam with energy. Everyone works together to create these fevered dreams. Rhythm is the focal point for these pieces. Akin to a tribal feel the members play off of each other allowing for a collection that builds gradually. Instrumentation is kept extremely colorful alternating between the acoustic and the imagined. Kept intangible the pieces literally breathe.
“Ro og hamle” begins things off in creepy fashion with disorientated drums, music boxes, and a barely conscious bass. Setting the mood is remarkably simple for them as they explore the shadows. The calculated freedom reaches a critical point by the end with the song threatening to fully derail. “Bryggja te jol” allows things to get marginally grounded. Right in the beginning the same mood appears to be set. Eventually however a groove forms halfway through the piece and propels them to the luscious finale. Light on their toe “Tora liti” shows how nimble they can be keeping things remarkably clear. Elements fall into piece representing strange new territories to fully explore. By far the best track on the collection is the playful “Det syng for Storegut”. On this track Origami Arktika express their utmost desires to play with listener expectations. After so much experimentation they appear to capitalize on that work bringing forth an incredibly habit forming piece.
“Absolut Gehör” explores new sonic universes. Origami Arktika are a rare breed of a band.
~ Beach Sloth
Norwegian project ORIGAMI ARKTIKA is a long running side project of Origami Republika, the latter parenting a few dozen child projects for more than 20 years running. Origami Arktika has been in existence since the early 1990’s, an have since 1999 been a consistent project with fixed members. “Absolut Gehör” documents recording sessions that took place in 2010, and was released on multiple labels in 2014. US label Silber Records were chosen as the publisher of the digital version of this album.
Origami Arktika’s self description states that they explore “unique ambient folk dub creating mystical soundspaces”. That description doesn’t quite fit the contents of this particular production though, although a solid remnant of this project description does appear as well.
The opening piece on this production, Ro og Hamle, is one that for me just didn’t make any positive impression, basically a fairly static droning organ over a multitude of rhythm effects and various barely audible instrument details, this one is a case for the very specially interested in my book. This is also the sole creation here that isn’t based on traditional folk music, and as such this is an odd one out on this album.
The remaining material is all the more alluring however. Various odd rhythm and percussion effects is a key feature throughout, with noises made by objects used extensively to create unusual but organic elements in the compositions that are explored. Backed up by anything from a barely audible violin to plucked light toned static guitars and shamanistic percussion patterns as in Tora Liti or the aforementioned dub from the bands self description in the magnificent Det Syng for Storegut. Still, rhythms and sounds wouldn’t make much of an impact without the lead vocals, and from track 2 on this album and onward we are provided with a most alluring lead vocalist singing clearly and distinctly in what I associate with a specific old Norwegian folk singing tradition, a melodic and beautiful contrast to the rhythms, drones and sounds that supports the vocals. While perhaps not the highest impact of the compositions, the sheer quality of the vocals can best be enjoyed on concluding track Skonde Deg Du Jente (Lurlokk), where the sole support of the vocals is a sound like a stone rolling on a wooden floor, accompanied by dampened metallic sounds as from a chain.
“Absolut Gehör” comes across as a fairly challenging excursion into the realms of experimental folk music, where the most challenging escapades share musical ties with free form jazz, and the arguably most alluring one features a dub style cyclic bass-line, fairly energetic rhythms with a slight jazz orientation and fluctuating dark drones supporting the splendid lead vocals. An album that warrants an inspection by those with an interest in artists exploring folk music in new and arguably innovative manners.
~ Olav Martin Bjørnsen, House of Prog
At a slithering and supple momentum from the moment playback begins, the textured improvisations of 'Ro og hamle', the first piece on Absolut Gehör, are at once busy and gentle, attentive and restrained. "[Eight] men are playing," reveal the sleeve notes, "but softly". An analogy of rowing, a practice typically characterised by facing away from the journey forward, underpins the piece. The aim seems to have been to approximate a tentative, sightless navigation of the Northern seas so central to Norway's cultural history. The path is a meandering one with no clear trajectory, the interaction between the eight musicians adapting continuously, if gradually, and perhaps with an affected uncertainty. But every new step feels natural and harmonious, calling to mind the simultaneous sameness and ceaseless variation of the topical landscape. Ice, jagged shores and hills viewed from afar, fog and the awe-inspiring depths and temperaments of the sea.
When it comes to actual sonic associations, one very welcome image that endures throughout parts of the album is that of creaking, ancient wooden nautical machinery, such as oars. Gentle rattling of bells and a wide array of other items - including what sound like dinner plates - augment this setting, bridging percussive treble grain and set sound design. Very seldom is there a straightforward passage without soft rustles, clatters, scratches, things bowed and otherwise played.
Norwegian folklore and poetry - some of it very old, some as recent as the 1800s - underscores the entirety of this LP, by the beautifully named Origami Arktika (an offshoot of the networked collective Origami Republika, whose 'agents' now number more than three hundred). Absolut Gehör sees Origami Arktika articulating wistful, traditional songs within their own sprawling, improvised arrangements. 'Ro og hamle' is altogether original, but entirely consistent with its neighbours. The sound is articulated in a tenebrous, lo-fi mix of drums, droning guitar (e.g. 'Háttalykill'), bass, a considerable variety of instruments and a whole host of unknown activities and manipulations, all by and large tastefully applied. Over these warble the voice of the band's singer (though all personnel are listed in the sleeve notes, their roles remain unspecified), who demonstrates a studied skill in interpreting traditional balladry. He has a fine voice, dexterous and capable but also light; semi-spoken and unimposing.
Each song might rather unhelpfully be summarised as jazzy, improvised drone-folk, while the singer's style remains rigidly constant throughout. Yet no two numbers are really alike. 'Bryggja te jol' and 'Tora liti' make the most use of guitar - or at least guitar pedals - the former swelling into a formidable, droning climax and the latter revolving around a bristling set of metallic strums, with such a satisfying tone. Penultimate, eleven-minute 'Det syng for Storegut' is irresistible, with a funky brushed rhythm and locked bassline providing a more canonically modern context for the vocals. The brief, conclusive 'Skonde dig du jente - lurlokk' consists of almost-solo voice accompanied by discrete noises, which drop out with the vocal rests, framing the lines with a pondering silence.
The album's stark artwork comprises a series of contorted, deep red prints by Guttorm Nordoe. Described as "otherworldly" in the booklet, they definitely suggest elements of the fantastic, with inscrutable and misshapen unions of human- and beast-like characters. Yet these subjects also manage, probably intentionally, with their slight limbs and solid colouration, to evoke ancient cave paintings such as those found in Alta, Norway.
An intuitive and very impressive insight into what seems to be only a tiny fragment of the huge, varied and open Origami Republika collective. Certainly the most successful experimental folk album I've heard in a while.
~ Edward Trethowan, Chain D.L.K.
Origami Arktika is a Norwegian collective which is already has been busy since the 90s. The band does not release new work at regular basis with “Absolut Gehör” being their 1st full since the album “Trollebotn” (2007).
Origami Arktika always walks upon experimental and surreal sound paths. They’re mixing the most unimaginable sources of inspiration with each other. Nothing seems to be crazy enough, but in the end it clearly doesn’t sound like a joke but rather an artistic and innovative approach in sound. We really can speak about a collective experimenting with the most diversified sources of ‘noise’. I like the description of ‘mixing archaic with the modern’. It perfectly stands for the content of this work. There’s a kind of real passion for the creation and manipulation of sounds, which next are joined by a surprising, but essential part of vocals. The lyrics are half spoken, half sung and in their Mother tongue, which creates a kind of extra special effect. The particular symbiosis between all these influences sounds absolutely surreal. It’s a kind of secret union between experimental music and folk.
Some of the compositions move into vague esoteric fields while it also sounds a bit sacred as well (cf. “Tora Liti”). The work remains fully minimal, sometimes moving towards darker sound fields (cf. “Det Syng For Storegut”). Origami Arktika often reminds me of some early experiments of long time forgotten bands I saw during the 80s. The band proves it’s still possible to be totally aside of established standards, simply exorcizing the weirdest musical ideas you’ve in mind.
Conclusion: “Absolut Gehör” is a strange, but unique experiment in sound placing opposites on one and the same sound canvas.
From Norway, Origami Arktika play traditional Norwegian folk music mixed with psychedelic and a variety of experimental/avant-garde influences. There’s a lot of variety across the eight tracks on their new album, Absolut Gehör.
Most of the pieces are Origami Arktika’s interpretation of traditional songs, with the exception being the opening track, Ro og hamle, which was improvised in the studio by 8 musicians. A spacey soundscape organ serves as the foundation for the freeform manipulation of stringed and percussive instruments. The organ creates an eerie sense of foreboding, punctuated by a rhythmic thrum, while the other instruments seems to gel and glide along smoothly, despite the clatter, as if controlled and propelled by the organ. Bryggja te jol is an avant-noise/drone/folk/psychedelic tale of love and loss with vocals in Norwegian. It starts to rock out in its own strange way with the bass and drums creating a dark intensity. The screechy drones and what sounds like might be an efx’d harmonica inject a psychedelically bewitching vibe. Based on a 12th century Old Norse epic poem, Hattalykill consists of the same experimental feel and instrumental manipulation heard on Ro og hamle but adds vocals, making for an interesting combination of avant-garde free-improv and traditional Norwegian folk song. Folkestadvisa a short tune that sings of lost love against an ambient minimal drone backdrop. Tora Liti tells the tale of a young girl betrothed to a prince of England but ends up dead because of the doings of an angel in the shape of a dove. Pretty wild stuff this traditional Norwegian music. The psychedelic-folk music is enchanting but also grooves in its slow subtle way. It feels like sitting around a tribal campfire stoned on the local ceremonial brew. Det syng for Storegut is very different, sounding like an outtake from a mid-90s album by the Finnish band Circle, though I detect bits of Korai Orom as well. It’s got that awesome off-kilter but hip-shaking groove that characterized Circle, along with haunting atmospherics and demonic rumbling and howling spaced out noise-drone guitars. Skonde deg du jente closes the set and is a short song based on lokk, a calling of the livestock, and sings of a girl called to hurry up and bring milk to her illegitimate daughter. Ya gotta love that.
In summary, Absolut Gehör is an intriguing album that took me several listens to really tune into. Origami Arktika excel at incorporating avant-garde elements to create music that is challenging but ultimately accessible. These guys are different and they do it well.
~ Jerry Kranitz, Aural Innovations
Ever wonder what experimental music from Norway sounds like? If so, the music of Origami Arktika may enlighten or confuse you...depending on the mood you're in when you hear it. We can honestly say that we've never heard anything quite like this before. This band is an artist collective and they combine mutated traditional Norwegian folk music with modern drones and experimental electronics. The result...is a bizarre mixture of the past and present...a world where sounds from the past are strangely rooted in the music of the twenty-first century. Listening to this is kinda like watching pieces of a jigsaw puzzle fitting together that really shouldn't fit together at all. Forty-four plus minutes of unorthodox recordings from the true underground musical climate of Norway...
Norwegian artist collective Origami Arktika have been around for the last twenty years or so but outside of their native land still remain somewhat of an enigma and mystery to the average listener. Described as playing a ‘mutated folk music’ (an apt description) their sounds covers freeform experimentation, electronica and psychedelic folk with layers of drones, found sounds and traditional song that translates into genuine beauty and wonder; albeit at times of a darker hue and reflecting a sombre and unsettling undercurrent. At once archaic, ancient and alchemic, Origami Arktika seem to come from another age, or at least walk between the ages. Their music appears timeless, part of their inner and outer landscape and deeply indebted to their natural surroundings.The press release from Silber Records accurately presents Origami Arktika as ‘a knotty time machine, hotwired by haystack-poles and pitchforks, glued together with cow dung, old snippets of song, unheard drones and tones’.
Opener ‘Ro Og Hamle’ is a freeform drone slow builder with percussion clattering and shaking to both disturbing and hypnotic effect. However ‘Bryggja Te Jol’ is where the album really lifts off; a harmonium drone keens over an empty landscape as vocalist Rune Flaten invokes a traditional folk ballad in his native tongue. Bass then starts to propel the song and sawing bowed strings come together to create a virtual maelstrom of a track. Cinematic and hugely evocative, make no mistake; this is widescreen music. ‘Háttalykill’s discordant plinks and thumps lead into an evocative folk lament; this is music hewn from the hills and lakes and reminds this listener of the psychogeographical exploits of the splendid Xenis Emputae Travelling Band in its sense of place and rural mysticism. ‘Folkestadvisa’, with its single, sustained organ note and multitude of layered vocals is almost ethereal; a choral folk song both gentle and powerful. At times the Norwegian folk idiom seems to resemble to the Gaelic and Scottish Western Isles laments; the traditional yet instinctive phrasing and sense of melancholy and yearning bears close relation. ‘Tora Liti’ is an acid folk procession, strings and tabla merging with bells and effects in this traditional song rearranged by Arktika in line with their own keen sense of custom and belief. Dulcimer shimmers and echoes throughout the shadows; there is something altogether pagan and otherworldly at work here that steps outside of modern music. It is both ritualistic and profound and is truly mesmerising in it sparse power. It is tempting to think of the landscape of the collective’s native region of Telemark soaking into their inspiration; the fjords, mountains, black skies and rain drenching their spooked muse.
‘Det Syng For Storegut’ by contrast begins with an almost jazz led bass line as xylophone and drums create a trance like rhythm over which ominous drones rumble like peals of thunder. Disturbing and thrilling; this is music that follows only its own path. Comparisons to Primordial Undermind, the Jewelled Antler Collective and Book Of Shadows are reference points but here Arktika are in their own unique groove. Bowed guitar and hushed vocals add to the brooding atmosphere, at once intense yet also hugely exciting and not unlike like finding yourself under a massive thunderstorm. This is experiential music. An eleven minute epic, the song holds the tension expertly throughout. This track feels like the album's lynchpin and contains the vital elements of Arktika, namely the organic and adventurous spirit that underlines their aesthetic and approach as well as their able grasp of dynamics and hugely affecting atmospheric soundscapes. ‘Skonde Deg Du Jente’ – Lurlokk’ ends the album with an (almost ) acapella traditional folk song. The sense of barren beauty and windswept landscape lingers long after however.
There is supposedly a myriad of players in Origami Arktika and the revolving door collective not only contain musicians but filmmakers and painters and poets. Yet this is a cohesive and standout album with its own identity and sense of unique purpose. Walk out into the storm; spend some time with Origami Arktika.
~ Grey Malkin, The Active Listener
It took me a minute or two to discover that the title of Origami Arktika‘s seven track album isn’t a Norwegian phrase but a German one, translating as ‘Absolute Hearing’. This is explicable by the fact that part of the Norwegian band’s album was recorded at Einsturzende Neubaten’s Berlin studio, in 2010, and if anyone is wondering why it has taken over four years to release Absolut Gehor that is perhaps explicable by the amount of work that has gone into the sleeve design and accompanying 16 page booklet and its woodcut graphics. I’m unsure as to the availability of vinyl copies but I would expect that even the CD version has a lot to offer, and the booklet has much to say about the background to those tracks that originate as folk music, such as the lyric of third track “Háttalykill” coming from a 12th century Norse poem.
One thing the booklet doesn’t reveal is the significance of the albums title, and while I am reluctant to make guesses about why Origami Arktika chose it, first track “Ro Og Hamle” provides a slightly obscure answer, with its booklet text describing how ‘in the distant northern seas, one has to know the will of the water’, while the music with its tingling, creaking percussion and sonorous harmonium backdrop evokes images of a Viking longship marooned for centuries amongst the tendrils of the Sargasso sea, or some similarly eerie seaside scenario, like when you found something a bit gross while beachcombing on a family holiday. I won’t apologise for making such personalised responses to Origami Arktika’s music as responses such as these are very obviously what they want to provoke from their listeners and second track “Brygga Te Jol” follows a similar route but with a vocal, and while the lyric is a tale of a Christmas wedding and eloping bride and groom (says the booklet), the music manages to convey a slightly different image, that of the last sun maddened survivor of the previously mentioned marooned longship, stranded thousands of miles from home with no hope of survival and nothing left to eat but the ship’s cat. This, I would suggest, is what can happen when a band seem to overstretch themselves – the music works very effectively on its own but throughout at least the first half of Absolut Gehor the vocals and lyrics often seem to oppose rather than complement the instrumentation, although folk musicians the world over very often do similar things.
After the multi tracked vocal interlude of “Folkestadvisa” the tone of the album alters. Strummed chords of an autoharp introduce us to the tale of “Tora Liti”, and it’s here that the band, of whom there are up to eight members, refocus their playing, losing the more chaotic percussive sound that the album began with and turning in a measured, more disciplined performance that’s comparatively minimal in its approach and all the more effective for that. “Tora Liti” is only really an introduction to the next track though, the unquestionable album highlight “Det Syng For Storegut” where Origami Arktika suddenly transform themselves into a watertight prog rock outfit, recalling Neu and Tago Mago era Can and (only on this track) bringing powerfully reverberating guitars into their instrumentation, with shades of Spacemen 3 and Hawkwind half hidden in the background. It’s a resonant exercise in controlled guitar dynamics of a type that I would want to hear more of from Origami Arktika, intricately impressive as the first half of the album is.
Absolut Gehor is, I decided, a concept album, although it is being left up to the listener to decide exactly what that concept is, with the music and the booklet only providing clues as to what Origami Arktika’s real purpose is. The first half of the album is deceptively experimental, verging on atonal, and when they do decide to turn into a more conventional rock band the results are made all the more notable. The work of some very skilled and imaginative musicians, Origami Arktika produce music of a kind that can verge on aural sculpture, creating and developing moods and scenarios and at the same time they’re unafraid of delving into traditional Norwegian culture and reinterpreting it nearly beyond recognition. Years ago on a holiday I saw a more traditional group of Norwegian folk performers singing and dancing in a very different and more conventional type of performance and had they suddenly turned into an experimental avant garde rock troupe I’m not sure what I would have thought. Absolut Gehor will require more than one listen to allow its listeners to decide exactly what it is Origami Arktika are really about.
~ Jon Gordon, Delusions of Adequacy
People forget that noise music is just as much grounded in subtlety and elusive sophistications as in deafening roars and colliding atonalities. I cite Morphogenesis' first release (the cassette-only impossible-to-find eponymous relic) as a brilliant example of the former and Merzbow as perhaps ne plus ultras of the latter. Depending on what your preferences are—to be captivated and pulled into new windows on old mysteries (Morphogenesis) or to be deafened and go insane (Merzbow)—you choose your music accordingly. Origami Arktika has released Absolut Gehör as an exercise in discretion, subtlety, and broad atmospherics, thus following on the Morph tradition, so, should Merz come hotrodding down your country lane, I advise you bar the door, retreat to the back of the house with a bottle of absinthe, light a few candles, and settle in for an immersive experience instead. Let him caterwaul out in the cold and dark, he likes it like that, while you submerge into a spooky realm of tintinnablua, coruscations, echoes, buzzlines, ghosting presences, and arcane whatnots smiling uneasily out at you from pagan alcoves.
Gehör is mostly spare and eerie, belying the presence of eight musicians, but the degree of restraint in the instrumentation is masterful, creating huge ringing spaces misted, befogged, and flowing. At first, the intrusion of vocalist Rune Flaten is a bit jarring, somewhat distimbrally sitting atop everything, transposing the forbidding instrumental scenario into a sonic version of an old Bergman flick meditating upon medievality and ritualistics. The ensemble's Norwegian origins have much to do with this, not to mention that the progressive musics of upper Europe are oft achingly austere, and the juxtaposition first of the spacey with the terrene, next interposing what stands between them (man), flattens out the foreground sonic field, forcing attention to verite vocal that are at first stark, later subtle, while layering up the music behind.
Swatches of quiet Klaus Schulze, wickerman Third Ear Band, Pink Floyd's softened and arabesqued organ sections, chloroformed Godspeed You Black Emperor, and other influences coil about the inky recesses, harking back in certain ways to Eno's seminal On Land but with a much more sinister—manneredly so!—environment. Though modulations rise and fall throughout, everything builds up to the sixth cut, Det Syng for Storegut, commencing in a disarming rock format before the guazy quagmire rises again to meet it. If seems a sopored-out Dario Argento had slipped into the back of the studio to mingle with Bergman, taking his Goblin norms down several notches. Apparitions appear, brimstone wafts through, and the vocals integrate, offering the suspicion that what seems to have been a farmer-priest may not been all that holy after all, and Skonde Deg du Jente - Lurlokk denouements the process, locking out the forbidding externalities, concentrating on Flaten as the environment collapses into the grave.
~ Mark S. Tucker, Fame
Silber Media has worked with Norwegian artist collective Origami Republika since 1995 and they’re one of Norway’s best-kept secrets as their sound has been described as a mutated folk music, comprised of drone, electronica and other hard to define elements, mixing the modern with the ancient — especially as their sound draws a bit from old Norwegian folk songs.
"Det Syng for Storegut," the first single off the Norwegian collective’s latest album, Absolut Gehor manages to fuse elements of drone, industrial noise, folk and jazz in a heady, surreal mix that evokes the sound of the post-apocaylpyse; in other words, melancholy, anxious, unsettled and yet possessing a hushed beauty.
~ William Ruben Helms, The Joy of Violent Movement
I loved this band's Vardøgr album from a few years back, so was excited to receive the latest album from this experimental folk band from Norway. Norwegian folk music is among my very favourite music genres, and I also appreciate the work of artists who are musically innovative and add creative new ideas to existing styles of music. The music of Origami Arktika is therefore especially appealing to me due to its combination of traditional Norwegian folk and artistic musical exploration. Ro og Hamle is one of their own compositions, more experimental than folk, combining subtle, repetitive melodies with found sounds and improvisations. The drones and percussion make for a mood-altering, hypnotic listening experience. Bryggja te Jol sets a traditional folk song to a combination of drones and squalling feedback. Háttalykill comprises skaldic poetry attributed to Earl Rögnvaldr and Hallr Þórarinsson, performed in a chanted style over a collection of rumbling, buzzing and clonking sound effects. Folkestadvisa sets a traditional folk song to minimalistic droning. Tora Liti is excellent psych-folk with an experimental edge. Det Syng for Storegut is an epic piece 11 minutes long, combining jazz, psych-rock, bleak and harsh ambient droning, chanted poetry, and found sounds in an effective and creative manner. Whilst I'm reviewing a CD version, I believe this format is only available for promotional purposes. The actual release is a download from Silber Records or LP on Killer Records.
~ Kim Harten, Bliss/Aquamarine
Earlier this year, Norwegian folk droners Origami Arktika released their latest album, Absolut Gehör. Part of the artists’ collective Origami Republika, they recast traditional Norwegian folk songs and folklore into experimental and drone renditions, as the press release describes.
“The music on this new album is dim, dark, & melancholic. Some tracks bear witness to a sacral droning organ. The associations leap towards damp ecstasy in small chapels, deep in narrow valleys where meaningless rituals & prayers tempt weary souls with promises of a better afterlife. Folk beliefs, Pagan beliefs, Christian beliefs – the unintelligible has led a life in close proximity to the shallow waters of reason & perception permeating our times, breeding models of understanding for an unfamiliar & seemingly meaningless existence.”
Absolut Gehör is available on vinyl via Killer Records and digitally via Silber Records. To give you a taster of what they’re throwing at you, listen to the grand and hypnotic ‘Det syng for Storegut’ below.
~ Cast the Dice
Something a little different for today’s Daily Dose. Origami Arktika are an offshoot of Norwegian artistic collective Origami Republika who produce experimental folk music. The song featured today is from their recent album Absolut Gehör and was written by Aa. O. Vinje in 1866. The song is about Storegut, a character loosely based on Sterke-Nils. This is a love song, from a girl of the Huldre folk, the people living beyond the doors of the mountains. If you would like to know more about this, have a look at the Sterke-Nils Wikipedia page (in Norwegian, but translates quite well into English).
~ Stuart Morrison, The Insomnia Radio Network
This already arrived some time ago, and I played it already quite a lot. That could be an indication that this is really good, but in this case it's more doubt and an uncertainity to make up my mind. Origami Arktika is a band that includes Rune Flaten on vocals, and Tore Honore Boe, Kai Koloi Mikalsen and others; no instruments are specified here, but it's quite heavy on percussion and string instruments (guitars no doubt, a bass but also a zither). Not this keep a steady beat per se, as the drumming is done in a more ritualistic form. It owes more to the world of free psychedelic music than say dance music, more jazz than rock. These shamans do a slow dance. Perhaps this is all rooted in the world of ancient folk music, but then updated to the current day? I am not sure, but it sounds like it. At times quite drone like, but unmistakably a 'musical' record. This is a band playing. Maybe these are things I find hard to get in to. Maybe it's because I don't understand Norwegian, providing this is not sung in another language I don't know. Maybe I am slightly allergic to all things ritualistik as such spelling dictates. But then, and here comes my uncertainty, I am playing this and find myself tapping my feet along and getting into their somewhat krautrock inspired rhythms. If you like the Nordic mysticism of say Sigur Ros and want something as moody but no doubt a lot weirder, than this is the place to visit. It's in a dark Norwegian Wood.
~ Frans de Waard, Vital Weekly
One of Norway’s best kept secrets, Origami Arktika, moves along the axis of time by using old Norwegian folk songs and folklore combined with modern inspiration and technology. The music on the new album, Absolut Gehör, is dim and melancholic. Led by vocalist Rune Flaten, there are seven other accomplished musicians whom, in this case, make deceptively little music. But, the sum of all the smaller or larger elements result in a unique musical landscape.
Origami Arktika is part of the Origami Republika (a Norwegian artists collective). A previous album was recorded at Einstürzende Neubauten’s studio (German industrial band from West Berlin) and one of the members has a Norwegian Grammy from another project. Thus, they have a pretty impressive pedigree.
~ Jenn Broadwell, Painting the Silence
L’ensemble norvegese Origami Arktika, parte del collettivo Origami Republik attivo da quasi vent’anni, è guidato dal cantante Rune Flaten, voce calda e profonda proprio come quella che ci si aspetterebbe da un erede dei navigatori vichinghi che durante le loro lunghe traversate cantavano il ricordo e la nostalgia per le terre appena abbandonate. Ad accompagnarlo altri sette musicisti impegnati in diversi strumenti, compresi aggeggi elettronici atti a creare i più vari rumori. Se i drones sono la prima cosa che salta all’orecchio, subito dopo ci si meraviglia di come da un piccolo, apparente caos sonoro fatto, oltre che dai drones, da piccoli rumori, percussioni ispirate a riti tribali, accordi spesso appena accennati, nasca una melodia così avvolgente e ipnotica, evocativa e magica. Ci si sente trasportati lungo lande deserte fra ghiacci e foreste, laghi e fiordi, in una natura selvaggia e incontaminata che induce introspezione e meditazione. Come nei finlandesi Paavoharju, la band a cui ci sentiamo di accostarli maggiormente, domina un’aura fortemente misticheggiante che sa di spirito panico e sciamanesimo. Sette le canzoni contenute in questo disco, in parte registrato addirittura nel 2010 negli studi berlinesi degli Einsturzende Neubaten.
Solo la prima, Ro Og Hamie, è una composizione originale ed è l’unica interamente strumentale, dominata da un drone di organo e da percussioni e rumori affini alla musica concreta e al jazz sperimentale, le altre sono composizioni tradizionali del folk norvegese, riproposte con arrangiamenti che ne attualizzano il sound fra drone music, psichedelia, elettronica minimale, folk acustico, jazz. Briggya Te Ol sottolinea con gli archi e le percussioni il senso di smarrimento e timore di una coppia che deve lasciare la propria terra per vivere il suo amore, si rifà alle antiche saghe nordiche Hàttalykill, in cui il canto intenso e drammatico che sembra provenire da lande lontane è accompagnato da piccoleOrigami+Arktika+6 percussioni e il suono di un violino simile al ronzio di zanzara. Bellissima e commovente Folkestadvisa in cui le note profonde e lontane dell’organo accompagnano un dolente canto per un amore perduto. La musica si fa sempre più sommessa in Tora Liti per narrare la storia della giovane e bella Tora, promessa sposa di un principe inglese a cui un angelo sotto forma di colomba annuncia che i suoi giorni su questa terra volgono al termine, il suono plumbeo dei tamburi accompagna il rito d’addio. Det Syng For Storegut, un canto d’amore di una fanciulla del popolo che vive oltre le porte Origami+Arktika+9della montagna per il giovane Storegut, qui un basso funkeggiante scandisce un arrangiamento molto ritmato in cui sonorità jazz ed elettronica vintage creano atmosfere sognanti e spaziali non lontane dai Sigur Ros. Davvero una splendida sorpresa da quello che qualcuno ha definito uno dei tesori meglio nascosti della Norvegia.