(Sköpun Songs from Elder Edda)
Neo folk, Nordic ritual folk
Splendor Solis, Death in June, Sonne Hagal
When it comes to the Neo-folk genre, we are just beginning to scratch the surface as there is so much out there to discover. The catalogue of Eastern European label Sulpher Flowers is the perfect place to begin your search. The folk label specializes in these types of unusual artists; just take a look at our review for Splendid Solis. Nytt Land, a neo-folk quartet from Russia is one of the newest bands to unleash their work through Sulphur Flowers. The album is Sköpun: Songs from Elder Edda and is rich with diverse folklore. The use of traditional folk instruments is top notch as this could be one of the finest Neo-folk albums we have heard in some time.
The title of the album refers to Poetic Edda, which is the modern day attribution for an unnamed assortment of old Norse poems. History tells us that old Norse-speaking poets have left many traces of their religious viewpoints; the collection of these poems today is referred as the “Poetic Edda” or “Elder Edda”. The authors of the poems are all anonymous and many historians have debated over the dates and locations of the poems’ origins. The poems seem to have been composed sometime between the tenth and thirteenth centuries. This album represents these poems and Nytt Land do a marvelous job at creating the aura necessary to replicate this era.
We feel it is important to provide you with a backdrop of the album, it will give you an appreciation for the type of well-crafted music you are about to embark on. There is a wealth of instruments to be found on this one; flutes, harps, some sample programming as a well. It’s very difficult to break this one down on a track by track basis, so we’ll just provide you with some of the highlights.
The first song is tremendous, really capturing a medieval aura. The dramatic female vocal performance of Natalya is downright inspiring. Turn this one up quite a few notches, it will devour you and command your attention. The album continues is haunting ways on the next track where the male vocals of Anatoly come into play. This song will also keep a hold of you, it’s hard to skip forward as the music is so rich and diverse. Track three is very peaceful with its poetry, minimal flutes and stormy weather in the background. The triumphant flute in track 4 “Spopun” is inspiring; we love the last half where it feels like a live jam session.
Tracks 5 and 6 “Völuspá (Áðr Burs synir)” and “Völuspá (Unz þrír kvámu)” continue the bands’ path of authentic ritual folk and are the two longest songs on the album. They are dramatic and full of diverse folk elements that will take your mind away from reality for a moment or two. The last two songs are atmospheric in nature, as the band explores the ambient side of Neo-folk, a very soothing way to close the album. We highly recommend this one if you’re in the mood to explore and go off the beaten path. - 5/20/2016
Standout Tracks: Völuspá (Ask veit ek standa), Sköpun
1. Völuspá (Ask veit ek standa) 05:31
2. Völuspá (Hljóðs bið ek allar) 05:25
3. Hrafnagaldr Óðins (Dugir meþ dvergum) 03:25
4. Sköpun 05:22
5. Völuspá (Áðr Burs synir) 07:13
6. Völuspá (Unz þrír kvámu) 07:50
7. Bifröst 04:07
8. Hávamál (Fimbulljóð níu) 05:52
Anatoly Pahalenko (tagelharpa, vocal, flute, horn, programming samples)
Natalya Pahalenko (vocal)
Vladimir Titkov (flutes, jew-harp)
Sergey Silitcky (jew-harp, flutes)