Accordionist and composer Frode Haltli follows up last year's acclaimed Hubro release, 'Avant Folk', with a smaller-scale yet equally inspired album that is built once again on the combination of traditional Nordic folk forms with influences drawn from world music and contemporary composition/improvisation.
In some ways, 'Border Woods' is both folkier and more 'avant' than its predecessor. The reduction in the size of the ensemble, from a dectet to a quartet, creates a corresponding increase in intensity, while Haltli frequently divides the unit further, using the two matched pairs of performers separately for a number of duo sequences. As the band expands and contracts in response to the demands of each tune, the music veers from cool, meditative explorations at the outer reaches of sound, to full-on pentatonic grooves and folk-rocky, foot-tapping jams.
Alongside Frode Haltli on accordion, Emilia Amper on nyckelharpa (Sweden's national instrument, a centuries-old chordophone, or keyed fiddle) makes for a perfect partnership. Both instrumentalists are virtuosi who routinely work across different genres. Frode Haltli, who has recorded for ECM as well as Hubro, has been playing accordion since early childhood, while Emilia Amper, who comes from Torsas in South east Sweden, is another prodigy, who began the nyckelharpa at age ten. In 2011 she was voted "world champion" of her instrument. 'In Folk Style' (2L), the album she recorded with Trondheim Soloists and Gjermund Larsen in 2010, won the Norwegian Spellemannspris and was nominated for two Grammys.
Alongside the two-pronged, front-line attack of the traditional folk instruments played by Frode Haltli and Emilia Amper, Hakon Stene and Eirik Raude provide far more than the colour and 'flavouring' that a percussionist's role is sometimes reduced to. They are also significant leaders and musical personalities in their own right: Hakon Stene is a Hubro solo artist (with the highly praised 'Lush Laments for Lazy Mammal'), as well as with the influential percussion group asamisimasa, with whom he won a Spellemannspris; Eirik Raude has been a resident percussionist with the Oslo Philharmonic, and guest soloist with Berlin Philharmonic and Los Angeles Symphony Orchestra, as well as collaborating with leading improvisers including Arve Henriksen.
- Wind Through Aspen Leaves
- Mostamägg Polska
- Wood And Stone
- Tanelis Lament (Sorrow Comes To All)
- Valkola Schottis
- Quietly The Language Dies
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