Exposé Online banner

Sorten Muld — Mark II
(NorthSide NSD6035, 1999, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2000-05-01

Mark II Cover art

Sorten Muld exist in the same milieu as Hedningarna, Garmarna, and Afro Celt Sound System, bringing modern sounds and techniques to traditional music, in this case that of Denmark. They are masters of the expansive sound of the modern studio, coupling samples, effects, and electronics with the earthy sounds of nyckelharpa, bodhran, and bagpipes, not to mention Ulla Bendixen’s extraordinary voice. She ranges from breathy whispers to soaring full-bodied tones, but never growly sounds or strange noises like Sanna Kurki-Suonio of Hedningarna (not that that’s a bad thing, it’s just not Ulla’s style). The music is full of catchy, hummable melodies (even if you don’t understand the words) and bouncy rhythms, and no matter how many times or how closely you listen, there always seem to be new details cropping up. Odd little echoes at the end of a phrase, a sound reminiscent of Tuvan throat singers, the click of the nyckelharpa keys – these sorts of details provide endless fascination. All of the music is based on melodies and text from the Nordic tradition, and that rich background serves it well. This is music that has been honed and tested over the centuries – no wonder it slips so easily into the head. The other two band members are Henrik Esben Munch (“sound designer”) and Martin Døssing Ottosen (credited as “architect”), who have roles somewhat less defined than the vocalist, but one way or another must encomapss keyboards, rhythm tracks (looped or programmed), and samples. Other musicians contribute live drums and percussion, guitar, contrabass, flutes, and other instruments, and there’s even scratching on one track. Moods range from calm and mysterious (“Mylardattar”) to energetic and driving (“The Raven”). Before I’d even finished one listen, I knew Sorten Muld had a solid place on my 1999 Top Ten list.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 19, 1999 releases

Related artist(s): Sorten Muld

Latest news

2020-02-18
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more

2020-01-21
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more

2020-01-15
Carlos Alvarado RIP – Carlos Alvarado, pioneering composer, multi-instrumentalist and pioneer of progressive rock and electronic experimental music in Mexico, passed away January 14th, 2020 at age 68 after a two year battle with cancer.  » Read more

2020-01-12
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more

2020-01-12
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Cherno - Missing Illusion, Trigonometric Reactor & Slight Trick All Around – At its core, Cherno is the duo of Shin Sugawara (sax, wind synth) and Junichi Kishimoto (guitar, guitar synths, drum programming), sometimes joined by other players, track and disc depending...  (2003) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues