Garmarna — Hildegard von Bingen
(NorthSide NSD6063, 2001, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2002-04-01When I first heard that Garmarna’s next album was going to consist entirely of music by 12th Century composer Hildegard von Bingen, I was a bit concerned. But I was assured they weren’t going New Age, setting medieval chants to insipid beats. Von Bingen would be Garmarnified, not vice versa. After all, their last album’s “Euchari” was a von Bingen adaptation, and it was a great tune. I got a little preview of what this CD would sound like when the band played a few tunes live on their brief US tour of 2000. Even that could not prepare me for this magnificent album. The stately modal melodies are not far removed from the traditional tunes Garmarna has dealt with in the past, only now the lyrics are in Latin instead of Swedish (which is not much difference to a listener who understands neither). The one major change from previous outings is the style of the rhythm parts. It was thunderous drumming which first attracted me to this band, and while I have to admit a slight disappointment that thunder is nowhere in the forecast, the skittering beats of this set are immensely appealing, blending programmed and live sounds seamlessly. The stop-start edits and thirty-second note fills have more than a passing resemblance to current trends in electronic music and hip-hop, but combined with hurdy-gurdy, fiddle, acoustic guitar, and Emma Härdelin’s ever-serene voice, no one will ever mistake this for Missy Elliott or Aphex Twin. A truly stunning album, full of amazing sounds.
Related artist(s): Garmarna
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more
Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santan, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more
Shindig Festival Goes Lock-Down – Here's what they're saying: It's A Happening Thing! The Shindig! Magazine Lockdown Festival. In our days of no large gatherings of people, maybe it's still possible to have a music festival. Shindig! Magazine is giving it a go with a multi-artist streaming extravaganza on Saturday April 25. » Read more