Rise over the snow-covered plains and cross the sky’s boundaries of ice mountains and pearly polar clouds and welcome to my home of howling winds and nordic musical soil in its pure and delicate essence. Today I walk in immaculate territory known for the grandeur of its folk music and traditions to talk about MYRKUR and the mesmerizing “Folkesange” that will be released on March 20, 2020 through Relapse Records.
As much as the name of the album, Amalie Bruun gave her heart to her own roots to bring the surface something beyond the immensity of music to the ears, but rather, a deep emotional delivery and a refined evocation experience about folklore invoking the spiritual connection with the nature. It is nothing new for anyone that this beautiful danish lady has balanced the values between the two strongest sides of scandinavian music, a fact that has been verified since her debut EP in 2014 and the two full-lenghts, ‘M‘ of 2015 and ‘Mareridt‘ of 2017 that I have listened to many times in the last year. It must be admitted that regardless of the harshness of black metal and its audience, folk music runs through the veins of all scandinavian strands, it is even nordic black metal that has bent its own traditions many times, you can have as an example the band Uburen or Borknagar, it doesn’t take much to find its roots in the music, so if you ask me about the prejudice around it I’ll be forced to say it would be silly.
For some, distinguishing Amalie’s links may not be an easy task, especially if we keep in mind the term “scaring black metal shitless” assigned to her by Metal Hammer, but having become a mother in 2019 the new experience weighed favorably on this musician’s own culture and the inevitable would soon happen with her reviving her roots. Contrary to what many people imagine, traditions are so embedded in everyone here in scandinavian territory that even if you don’t want to, if you are here, it comes back to you, either through heredity or osmosis. I myself have been immersed in all of this without realizing it for the past few years, so I must say that crying babies in the dark can pull their own hair as long as they want, this lady is doing much more than being an insinuating and blackened sexy figure or a beautiful face in the crowd, she is bringing history and culture to an admirable level supported by many, so look more closely, some of the big names in black metal run on the sides of the MYRKUR field, so tell me, how long will it take you to understand that everything here in Scandinavia is interconnected?
We put away the dark details of MYRKUR now as I sip my cup of tea and look through a window at the time of nyckelharpa and mandolas invading the air as Amalie pulls the tones of “Ella” forward opening the ritual. The heartbeat defines the first moments while the voice intonation elevates the spirit, outlining each melody like a river in its course. Voices discovered in intoned chants as in the past resonate with all the instruments that Amalie herself performs, and as equivalent as another big name in the sector, Heilung, MYRKUR multiplies sonorously proving all the plurality and magnitude that female voices dominate so well and that they very much deserved their place.
We follow through ‘Folkesange‘ surrounded by a certain transcendent magic to “Fager som en Ros” and at this point your feet may want to have a life of their own while drumming and other traditional instruments pull you into a dance, but don’t be intimidated, allow yourself to enter the rhythm around the flames at night and feel the call of the earth while the “spirits” sing happily. I can practically see their smiles as much as the colorful lines of the lovingly embroidered bunads that cover their bodies. A sonorous glimpse of feelings and sounds as emotional as the successor “Leaves of Yggdrasil” has all the mysticism.
Icelandic scaldic poetry Edda also gains its place in this context alongside tales, romance and fabulous enchanted beings from Norse mythology on a stroll through the atmosphere of “Tor i Helheim“, and I can’t help feeling the depth that Amalie was capable of induce here, transforming this album into a piece of pure balance between the present and the past without it sounding outdated. It certainly could never be beyond time and “Svea” will be able to take you beyond the fjords to the sea breeze in its sonorous expanse of charming femininity.
From the serenity of the strings and floating sound souls of “Harpens Kraft” to the flapping of the birds’ wings among the centuries-old trees on the hills of “Gammelkäring“, ‘Folkesange‘ will make you travel in thoughts and sensations so penetrating that they took your breath away abruptly as a climb to the top of the mountains.
Another fact that deserves credit is the use of lyrics in local languages, I have always expressed my satisfaction about musicians who have their ancestral culture within music, for me this works as a type of perpetuation far beyond the pages of history but a dissemination of cultures and traditions that bring equilibrium and that should never be forgotten.
“House Carpenter” continues to refine the sweetness that MYRKUR is also capable of achieving and that is absolutely fantastic about the artistic soul, that limitless ability going from the ground to the sky, from aggressiveness to emotionality, Amalie proved to be able to shock and impress, proving how comprehensive and compassionate her musical empire can be, where even innocence takes its place.
Continue this tour while we open the door to “Reiar” and its cozy feeling of home, a kind of sanctuary of peace in the middle of the storm. But don’t get used to the moments of melodious turquoise sky, at this moment the winds of the North begin to blow stronger in “Gudernes Vilje” and the will of the gods are fulfilled once more as life begins to fade in shades of yellow, red and autumn brown and Amalie thirst for a few moments hinted at her once malevolent voice. Perhaps the snow queen has never left her castle in the dark, but winter is approaching in “Vinter” and everything will be dyed white while the piano and choral voices took you back home while the snow falls outside.
Of course, there would be no other way to narrate an album like this and we certainly all hope that MYRKUR will continue to impress us between darkness and light, but we hope that the northern lights will cross Amalie’s paths more often.
1 – Ella
2 – Fager som en Ros
3 – Leaves of Yggdrasil
4 – Ramund
5 – Tor i Helheim
6 – Svea
7 – Harpens Kraft
8 – Gammelkäring
9 – House Carpenter
10 – Reiar
11 – Gudernes Vilje
12 – Vinter