Boot — Virvla
(NorthSide NSD6039, 1999, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2000-10-01
One of the things that’s often struck me is how “ancient” much of the folk music from Sweden, Norway, and Finland sounds. Melodies have a modal sound to them much like Medieval and Renaissance music from the European mainland. I’ve always found this “ancient” music fascinating: it’s so primal and energetic compared to the compositions of later centuries. Outside the folk traditions of the Celtic and Nordic peoples, this kind of musical power disappeared for a long time, only to resurface in twentieth century in rock music. (OK, so this is not a strictly accurate take on music history, but I’m referring to the feelings the music provokes in me, so I’ll stand by my word.) Boot is a Swedish trio that takes this folk/medieval connection quite literally, playing Nordic tunes on mostly ancient instruments. Hållbus Totte Mattsson contributes madora, lutes, and hummel (a kind of dulcimer); Ola Bäckström plays viola d’amore, bouzouki, and 12-string guitar; and percussionist Björn Tollin adds power with tambourine, bass drum, and other rhythmic devices (not including a conventional kit). Mattsson and Tollin are part of the electro-folk pioneering band Hedningarna, but here they stick to not just acoustic, but very old-style instrumentation. Many of the pieces remind me of the music of John Dowland and others with their Renaissance dances. I could picture this music being played by a group of minstrels in a torch-lit castle while lords and ladies and servants and dogs indulge in a drunken feast. Tollin’s percussion really gets things going on some tunes, and the diners would jump up and dance wildly, with much stomping and hand-slapping. My only complaint is that at 39 minutes, the CD is way too short; another 30 minutes could hold my interest easily.
Related artist(s): Boot
Simeon Coxe RIP – Simeon Coxe, best known for his experimental electronics in the band Silver Apples, has died at the age of 82. The band's 1968 debut album set the stage for both German electronic music and experimental punk music a decade later. Coxe died on September 8 from pulmonary fibrosis. » Read more
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more