Two more selections from Norway’s recent past, emphasising original and special music.
The White Birch Star is just a sun (Glitterhouse, 2002)
Wish I was small in sunny days/a summer light breeze could lead me further/someone would call from beyond the maze/of winter breeze and draw me to her. These are the evocative opening lyrics. The music is quiet, atmospheric, occasionally with an unexpected sense of impending drama, a slow dance to infinity. Simple, repetitive, keyboard and vocal melodies dominate, sometimes backgrounded by mysterious tapping and blowing sounds.
Maja Ratkje Voice (Rune Grammofon, 2002)
Apparently the source for every sound you hear on this, no matter how electronic, is Maja’s voice. Some might find this a difficult listen – electronic noise, a woman screaming – yet this is one of the most uplifting, liberating albums I have heard. She screams her head off, but then laughs. One particular word she sings out loud and clear: “joy”. One time I met her at a party, and asked her if I was hearing some text from Richard Brautigan amidst some speeded-up talk on the album. She answered by quoting from the recording, with the speeded up voice. This woman doesn’t need machines at all!
Other acts I’ve written about:
Portrait of David
Susanna and the Magical Orchestra