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FIRE! WITH JIM O’ROURKE: Unreleased? (Rune Grammofon)

themilkman on Jul 14th 2011 01:34 am

Fire! with Jim O'Rourke: Unreleased?

Rune Grammofon 2011
04 Tracks. 41mins24secs

Amazon UK: CD | LP | DLD US: CD | LP | DLD Boomkat: CD | LP

When three became four, at least the time of a couple of sessions. Swedish super power trio Fire!, which personnel comprises saxophonist extraordinaire Mats Gustafsson, bassist Johan Berthling and drummer Andreas Werliin, became a quartet when they were joined by Jim O’Rourke, who contributes electric guitar, synthesizer and harmonica here.

Released two years ago, Fire!’s first opus, You Liked Me Five Minutes Ago, was as incendiary as the trio’s chosen name led to think. Combining elements of avant-garde jazz and experimental psychedelic rock into a series of progressive improvisations, they somehow managed to transcend their respective work to create an extremely vibrant and invigorating soundtrack. With O’Rourke on board to broaden the scope of the band, they are even more fired up and eager to blast their own boundaries, however loose, into oblivion. Continue Reading »

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JENNY HVAL: Viscera (Rune Grammofon)

themilkman on Apr 20th 2011 01:01 am

Jenny Hval: Viscera

Rune Grammofon 2011
10 Tracks. 54mins26secs

Amazon UK: CD | LP | DLD US: CD | LP | DLD Boomkat: CD | LP iTunes: DLD

The body, this holiest of temples, is the subject of Jenny Hval’s new album, but it is its most visceral functions and primal organs that are the focus of her attention. Blood, piss, spit, sweat, erections, clitoris, eye sockets, tongues, finger nails, pores and skin, senses are all exposed in the cold light of day, used and abused in every song. Yet, if nothing is too crude or taboo for the Norwegian songstress, Viscera is actually a poetic journey like no other, carried by Hval’s deeply moving voice, part Liz Fraser, part Björk, part Mari Boine, yet totally and utterly unique.

Hval made a name for herself as Rockettothesky, under which banner she released two albums, To Sing You Apple Trees (2006) and Medusa (2008). Viscera is quite a different offering. Continue Reading »

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PHAEDRA: The Sea (Rune Grammofon)

themilkman on Mar 22nd 2011 01:34 am

Phaedra: The Sea

The Sea
Rune Grammofon 2011
08 Tracks. 38mins48secs

Amazon UK: CD | LP | DLD US: CD | LP | DLD Norman Records: CD | LP iTunes: DLD

Beside the challenging experimental work that they have been gathering for over ten years, Rune Grammofon have, on occasions, opened their doors to female songstresses, of which Susanna Wallumrød, with or without her Magical Orchestra, is undoubtedly the best known. Now joining Wallumrød and Hilde Marie Kjersem, who released her second album, A Killer For That Ache, on the label in 2008, is Phaedra, with a stunning debut album, The Sea, a collection of gentle aerial psychedelic folk-infused songs.

Phaedra is the solo project of Norwegian singer songwriter Ingvild Langgård. A former student at the Academy of Fine Arts in Oslo, Langgård has worked with a number of media over the years, from films and photography to art installations and vocal work. Continue Reading »

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JONO EL GRANDE: Phantom Stimulance (Rune Grammofon)

themilkman on Jan 13th 2011 01:04 am

Jono El Grande: Phantom Stimulance

Phantom Stimulance
Rune Grammofon 2010
11 Tracks. 38mins51secs

Amazon UK: CD | LP | DLD US: CD | LP | DLD Norman Records: CD | LP iTunes: DLD

Rune Grammofon have made a habit of pushing boundaries in various directions throughout their releases, but it is difficult to know even where or what the boundaries are when it comes to iconoclast prankster Jono El Grande. He sits at odds with the rest of the label’s catalogue. Born Jon Andreas Håtun somewhere in Norway in 1973, this self-taught musician’s first foray into the recording industry came in 1999 with his first album, Utopian Dances, recorded in his bedroom with nothing more than a workstation synth, but things went up a few notches with his Rune Grammofon debut, Fevergreens, published in 2003. Part Christmas Pantomime music, part seventies soft porn soundtrack, part jazz/rock experiment gone wrong, the album, recorded with a nine piece orchestra, managed to be at once cheesy and über cool. Continue Reading »

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ULTRALYD: Inertiadrome (Rune Grammofon)

themilkman on Dec 7th 2010 12:57 am

Ultralyd: Inertiadrome

Rune Grammofon 2010
05 Tracks. 40mins44secs

Amazon UK: CD | DLD US: CD | LP | DLD Boomkat: CD | LP iTunes: DLD

Even to Rune Grammofon’s standards, Ultralyd are a pretty odd offering. Taking elements of contemporary experimental jazz, abstract composition, rock and heavy metal and fusing them together into something quite unique. Formed in 2004 when bass player Kjertil D Brandsdal joined the trio of saxophonist Frode Gjerstad, guitarist Anders Hana and drummer and percussionist Morten J Olsen, Ultralyd released their first self-titled album, published on UK imprint FMR Records, that same year, then a second, Chromosome Gun, a few months later on Load Records. Gjerstad left in 2006, and was replaced with Kjetil Møster, just in time to record their Rune Grammofon debut, Conditions For A Piece Of Music. Inertiadrome follows the very limited, vinyl-only album Renditions which Ultralyd published last year on RG’s sister imprint The Last Record Company. Continue Reading »

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SCORCH TRIO: Melaza (Rune Grammofon)

Colin Buttimer on Nov 29th 2010 11:05 pm

Scorch Trio: Melaza

Rune Grammofon 2010
08 Tracks. 41mins52secs

Amazon UK: CD | LP | DLD US: CD | LP | DLD Boomkat: CD | LP iTunes DLD

Scorch Trio are frequently described as a power trio, a term originating with The Jimi Hendrix Experience. The description is accurate inasmuch as its members convey a feeling of concentrated energy, but the music’s also alive with a huge amount of filigree detail, each musician contributing an intense filigree to the group hive mind, interspersed with signature passages of blasted ambience. The group explore music that suggests Hendrix living alone on the frozen Russian steppes listening in to shortwave transmissions from the spirits of Derek Bailey and Sonny Sharrock. All the track titles are Puerto-Rican slang expressions – Melaza itself means “pure sugar cane juice, something sweet, fantastic.” Continue Reading »

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SUPERSILENT: 11 (Rune Grammofon)

themilkman on Oct 21st 2010 12:39 am

Supersilent: 11

Rune Grammofon 2010
06 Tracks. 37mins28secs

Amazon UK: LP US: LP Norman Records: LP

Recorded in 2005, when drummer Jarle Vespestad was still part of the band’s line up, and culled from the sessions that spawned 8, 11, the third Supersilent installment in twelve months, is quite a different affair from the formation’s more recent atmospheric explorations.

When the four members of Supersilent reconvened to work on a follow up to 6 and 7, over the course of five days in August 2005, they collected over five hours of recordings which were, for a time, considered for a second mastodon three-CD set. 8 was eventually reined in to a single CD, leaving a wealth of unreleased material, part of which is now surfacing on this vinyl-only release. Continue Reading »

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VARIOUS ARTISTS: Twenty Centuries Of Stony Sleep (Rune Grammofon)

themilkman on Oct 19th 2010 12:57 am

Various Artists: Twenty Centuries Of Stony Sleep

Twenty Centuries Of Stony Sleep
Rune Grammofon 2010
13 Tracks. 75mins24secs

Amazon UK: CD US: CD | LP Norman Records: CD | LP

Twelve years on from Supersilent’s monumental triple CD debut release, Rune Grammofon have reached a new milestone with this, their hundredth release. Twenty Centuries Of Stony Sleep collects thirteen tracks, twelve of which exclusive to this album, from quite a wide cross-section of the label’s roster, ranging from long-serving acts (Alog, Scorch Trio, Supersilent, Ultralyd, In The Country, Deathprod or Maja Ratjke) to more recent joiners (Espen Eriksen Trio, Puma, Bushman’s Revenge or new signing Jenny Hval).

There are few record labels who have developed such a strong and consistent aesthetic as Rune Grammofon, not only visually, there is not one release which hasn’t had the Kim Hiorthøy treatment, but also through its catalogue, which, in the case of Rune Grammofon stretches from abstract jazz, traditional Scandinavian folk to ambient electronic music and from ethereal pop to avant-garde classical to heavy metal, always with a strong exploratory angle at its core. Continue Reading »

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SUPERSILENT: 10 (Rune Grammofon)

themilkman on Sep 30th 2010 12:17 am

Supersilent: 10

Rune Grammofon 2010
12 Tracks. 41mins46secs

Amazon UK: CD | LP US: CD | LP Norman Records: CD | LP

For the last couple of years, Supersilent have been operating as a trio following the departure of drummer Jale Vespestad, but, far from hindering their progress, this seems to have opened an entirely new field of experimentation for Arve Henriksen, Ståle Storløkken and Helge Sten. Following the beautifully introspective 9, released just over a year ago in Scandinavia, 10 denotes another foray into deeply atmospheric grounds, but unlike its predecessor, for which the trio used only sounds sourced from Hammond organs, this latest offering is surprisingly acoustic and delicate. Storløkken on piano for the first time in Supersilent, and Henriksen on trumpet dominate this album, with Sten weaving discreet electronic textures in the backdrop. Most of the tracks were recorded early last year shortly after Vespestad announced he was leaving the formation, with additional recordings sourced from the fructuous 2005 sessions for 8, the remainder of which are due to be released on vinyl as 11 imminently.

This move toward predominantly acoustic instrumentation shows Supersilent under radically different lights to anything they have served up until now. Continue Reading »

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PHONOPHANI: Kreken (Rune Grammofon)

themilkman on Jul 20th 2010 01:04 am

Phonophani: Kreken

Rune Grammofon 2010
12 Tracks. 55mins55secs

Amazon UK: CD | DLD Norman Records: CD iTunes: DLD

Phonophani, the project of multi-instrumentist and digital artist Espen Sommer Eide, is back with a fourth serving of expressionist electro-acoustic experimentations, and this time, Sommer Eide has turned his attention to Norwegian folklore, using traditional instruments as sound sources and building them into the fabric of his record.

Sommer Eide is, amongst other things, one half of the excellent Alog, a project he founded with Dag-Are Haugan in 1997 and with who he has released five albums, four of which published on Rune Grammofon, and a number of EPs. Running in parallel, Phonophani has had for main objective to bring together acoustic and electronic instrumentation and explore the strange world that is brought to life as they meet. This has led to three radically different records, from the hypnotic orchestral textures of his self-titled debut, originally released in 1998 on Geir Jenssen’s Biophon imprint and re-released on Rune Grammofon four years ago, to the much more fragmented abstraction of Genetic Engineering (2001) and the often abrasive and angular Oak Or Rock (2004). Continue Reading »

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STIAN WESTERHUS: Pitch Black Star Spangled (Rune Grammofon)

Colin Buttimer on Jul 1st 2010 10:01 pm

Stian Westerhus: Pitch Black Star Spangled

Pitch Black Star Spangled
Rune Grammofon 2010
09 Tracks. 46mins56secs

Amazon UK: CD | LP | DLD US: CD | LP | DLD Boomkat: CD | LP iTunes: DLD

Pitch Black Star Spangled is a darker, lonelier experience than its bastard sibling, Puma’s Half Nelson Courtship and it’s all the more impressive for it. Where Half Nelson Courtship‘s group context locates the music in a slightly more familiar dynamic, Westerhus solo tiptoes out on a long, narrow outcrop and leans over the edge, peering intently into the abyss.

The album begins with Don’t Tell Me This Is Home, a hushed prologue whose titular alienation hints at what’s to come. Thy Gospel ups the ante. It’s clearly addressed to Lucifer rather than the bearded, cloud-girt one. (Westerhus does, after all, hark from Norway, the home of Black Metal). Continue Reading »

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PUMA: Half Nelson Courtship (Rune Grammofon)

Colin Buttimer on Jun 21st 2010 12:40 am

Puma: Half-Nelson Courtship

Half Nelson Courtship
Rune Grammofon 2010
09 Tracks. 42mins29secs

Amazon UK: CD | DLD US: CD | DLD Boomkat: CD | LP iTunes: DLD

Half Nelson Courtship is a strange beast, an uneasy creature that seems happiest cleaving to the shadows. Some of the time it’s half there, half not – like a trick of the light spied only by looking obliquely away from the subject. Puma is Øystein Moen (synthesizers and electronics), Stian Westerhus (guitar and electronics) and Gard Nilssen (drums). Half Nelson Courtship is their third album and first for Rune Grammofon.

Opening track Bison Woven is tremendously febrile, Westerhus’ guitar tracing out a wavering threnody against Moen’s subdued murmur and Nilssen’s distant cymbal plash. Continue Reading »

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