Aug 5, 2009

Garmarna. Vittrad.

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During our Michigan years we got an early version of the fX Channel, which at the time played kitschy old syndicated shows interspersed between a sprawling, silly "Morning Show" that took place in a fake apartment. They interviewed guests in bathrooms, bands performed in the bedroom, there was a bit much like Antiques Roadshow where people brought in stuff to be appraised and you could call in and bid on it, pets were everywhere, and I believe one of the hosts may have been a puppet. One of the segments was Sound fX which covered a pretty eclectic range of music. They were playing Garmarna in the background one night and the reviewer described it as "medieval Pink Floyd", which really isn't true ("Fairport Convention for Cave Trolls" would have been more apt), but it does have an intricate, interlocking, grinding, wooden clockwork sound. Sort of like A Saucerful of Secrets with a puslating beat; something a gnome named Grimble Grumble would have danced to.

Essentially, it's ancient Swedish folk music played on violins, bag-pipes, violas, lutes, bowed harps, Jew's harps, bouzouki, electric guitars, and a hurdy-gurdy. Only, instead of folk music, it sounds more like the way Page and Plant were approaching their old Zeppelin tunes during their reunion tour. In fact, it's the sort of raw, windswept tundra, viking-metal that Zeppelin aspired to but never reached during their Hobbit-rock phase.

Klevabergselden is particularly apocolyptic. It's world music, but not the kind that gets played in free trade coffee shops. Think instead of something gothy, like Dead Can Dance or Miranda Sex Garden. This is probably Garmarna's most primal album. They got a lot more polished and industrial on later releases, but most of the fans seem to consider this to be their pinnacle.


Garmarna official site

Garmarna on myspace

1 Blurt:

asleep said...

Hello there. Found your blog today, while searching for Robyn Hitchcock's rarities. Thank you very much.
Browsing through the archive now.

If you haven't heard before, may I recommend Hedningarna, another band from Scandinavia. You could start with their second album: "Kaksi!" - 1992.

smiling and waving