Since 1999 the Norwegian group Hornorkesteret has existed. They recently released Jehovas vinter which is one of the more original albums I have heard in recent years. The group consists of five people playing custom made stringed reindeer antler instruments and a percussionist.
The music is a little hard to describe. I’m inclined to make comparisons to early Animal Collective and the album The Trial of St. Orange by Shalabi Effect. I felt like these were sounds I would hear in a dark enchanted forest. These sounds seemed to be approximations of nature. The symbiotic relationship between the instruments is incredible. It was hard to tell where one instrument ended and the other began. The phrase “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts” seems like an appropriate phrase here.
The band starts with “Slumpelukko.” It does sound a bit like a Tom Waits inspired waltz. There is this anti-energy quality to the music. It reminded me of air coming out of a balloon little by little as the song progressed.
“Den sorgfulle sjaman” is where the dark enchanted forest of Wizard of Oz comes to mind. It’s ominous but fused with strains of folk. The vocals are chant like and you start to feel like you are in a ceremony.
Next up is “Maries vals” which again almost feels like a deflated waltz. The energy is so uniquely odd but intriguing. It sounds a bit like a kazoo is playing and the actual melody feels like it could be in a marching band.
They get really experimental and ambient on “Skogstur.” Composers like Jon Cage, Steve Reich and Brian Eno come to mind. It’s a beautifully haunting soundscape where the strings feel like they are being stretched. Somewhat incredibly, defined melodies find their way into the mix. “Jehovas vinter” feels like a treat. There is a spiritual sense of enlightenment on this song. It’s tribal and robust with Eastern inspired melodies. I felt like meditating to this song.
The prominent melodies continue on “Spekulasi” which also seems to feel a little more influenced by Eastern tones and textures. They close with a march of sorts called “Fossegrimen” which slowly transitions into minimalism and harmony making for a beautiful ending that fades into white noise.
This album blew me away. I don’t say that often but this album deserves that sort of praise. It’s original, cohesive and singular. Highly recommended.
We are dedicated to informing the public about the different types of independent music that is available for your listening pleasure as well as giving the artist a professional critique from a seasoned music geek. We critique a wide variety of niche genres like experimental, IDM, electronic, ambient, shoegaze and much more.
Are you one of our faithful visitors who enjoys our website? Like us on Facebook