Fróði, Yggdrasil and Arnold Ludvig Sextet

Fróði «Ultramarine» (2016)

Fróði «Creeping Storm» (2009)
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Guðrið Hansdóttir’s brother, Fróði Hansen, doesn’t appear on the Faroese musical stage as often as his sister does, but each his performance is like a bright flash. After the release of a powerful album in collaboration with The Pink Slips, he remained silent for three years. Having created a new band, Fróði recorded a soft and gentle album featuring Guðrið – she charms the ear in penetrating «I Remember You Well» and ethereal «Sunset Surf». Among the well-known to us musicians, in Fróði’s project we can find Bartal Augustinussen, Mikael Blak and Per Petersen. There’re only 6 songs in the «Ultramarine», but all of them are right on the mark. Their precision can’t be grasped from first seconds, but after several run-throughs one just can’t stop listening to the records. You want to put on replay the bold «Mickey Mouse», which is very similar to the previous releases of the Faroese musician: «Creeping Storm» (2009) and «The Mouse» (2012), want to meditate with «Ghost Of A Smile», and tune in to the touchy and vibrant voice of Fróði in the «Ultramarine».

As for the Fróði Hansen’s first longplay «Creeping Storm», it’s not so reserved as «Ultramarine», but, unlike the same «The Mouse», musician can’t pretend playing too long with a threadbare alternative music. In attempts to tell us something new, Fróði creates a masterpiece: «Moment Of Clarity» strikes with its depth. Seems, like Hansen turned into Pink Floyd for some moments. Besides, in the abovementioned song, and also in «1, 2, 3, 4» and «Sugar Rush», one can hear the masterly guitar playing by Hans Carl Hansen – a very famous Faroese musician and, in addition, Guðrið and Fróði’s father. These compositions, as well the melancholic «What Will Become Of You» and the title «Creeping Storm», I want to listen over and over again.

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Yggdrasil «Lipet Ei (Seven Brothers)» (2016)

Personally I deny the providence, but take the turn of events rather seriously. Very often, these very events shape the future of a person. The release of the LP «Lipet Ei» is clear example of the realization of the ideas that one couldn’t even have thought of.

In October 2015, the Khanty singer, Vera Kondratieva, performed several songs together with Kristian Blak and band Yggdrasil at the art-festival “The Faroe Islands are closer than you think”, which took place in Surgut. This became possible due to the combination of the idea and its realization by two people, and resulted not simply in to a wonderful concert, but a creative collaboration. Kristian invited Vera to visit the Faroes (I’ve already told about it), they recorded a joint album of the Khanty (and many of other) songs, gave nine concerts, and even presented the album at some Estonian festival of ethnic music.

I can’t suggest, what will be the next step. I’m just glad to realize, that this album has appeared due to the spectacular combination of circumstances, and I was one of the originators of it. In view of this fact, I simply can’t evaluate the «Lipet Ei» objectively. The only thing I want to say is that Kristian Blak proved once again: he isn’t afraid to experiment with mixing music genres, which may seem to most people incompatible. The Khanty ethnic music, run through the prism of jazz, sounds very gaudily. Even «Addeq» (1989), with the Eskimo, singing and playing the Inuit drum, isn’t that exotic as «Lipet Ei» is.

The only composition, recorded without Vera Kondratieva, is «Grind Í Karry», released in the separate single. It possesses the spirit of «Dímun» (2014), and the self-citation from the fifth minute is like а warming drink on a clammy evening. In all, I recommend everybody to get acquainted with this Faroese-Khanty album. To ignore it (especially if you live in Ugra) is forbidden.

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Besides, Tutl released the album «Handi Hullus» of the band «Ro:Toro» in 2008, which, as if redefining the Khanty folklore, enriched it with the song «Ljamini Naise Lugu». It’s performed (you simply won’t believe me!) by Vera and her mother Tatyana Semenovna (you can even see their photos in the release booklet). And how, after all, one won’t be stunned by this magic turn of events? Of course, the record is recommended to listening.

Arnold Ludvig Sextet «Iceland» (2016)

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We continue studying new Faroese music records.  Arnold Ludvig Sextet released its second album at the beginning of 2016. The first Arnold Ludvig and «Voyages»’ LP seemed to me too gooey. In «Iceland» “the recipe” is much the same, but the musicians decided not to make the album sugary, and neutralized its sounding by the bitter guitar composition «Tough Goin'" and 2 free-jazz “pinches”: «Miles Beyond» and «Iceland». Strangely, how these slight changes bettered the flavor of the whole album.  Insomuch, that after listening to «Iceland», I wanted to run through «Voyages» again. And what if I was just out of my head? If the sextet, named after composer and bass-guitarist, shows us more other experiments in the next album, we’ll be able to recognize, that one more unique jazz band has appeared in the Faroe Islands, and it’s not satisfied by copying the standards.

Reviewer by Anton Kovalsky.

Translated by Irina Boiko.

Russian version reviewer.