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Boomkat Product Review:
The fourth album from one of Rune Grammofon's defining and longest-standing groups, Kantarell reunites Maja Ratkje, Hild Sophie Tafjord, Lene Grenager and Kristin Andersen as Spunk, this time for a step back towards the untreated, acoustic sounds that informed their earlier output, shedding some of the electroacoustic treatments you might encounter in Ratkje and Tafjord's solo work (or for that matter their combined output as Fe-Mail) in favour of a bedrock sound that's rooted in naturally observed free-improvisations.
'Quadralogue' in particular gives some insight into how it would sound to hear Spunk close-up and live, recorded with clarity but a certain roughness so as to convey the chaotic spontaneity of it all. As musicians the quartet are all highly skilled and classically trained, yet they seem so readily able to shed any notions of conventional form and structure. On 'Mosegrodd' the cello seems to transform itself into the squeak of new trainers on buffed wooden floors, while Ratkje's playfully demonic vocals reach new heights of strangeness on the visceral 'Eaten'; when electronics do intervene its often difficult to determine what's being obliterated by software patches and what's left untreated - so far removed is the Spunk sound from the conventional string/horn/vocal vocabularies. It's a great pleasure to have a new album from these noisy Norwegian ladies; along with the likes of Supersilent and Alog they helped shape that classic early Rune Grammofon roster, and they're still very much integral to the upkeep of the more experimental side of the label's profile. Highly recommended.