Boomkat Product Review:
It's always cause for excitement when a new Rune Grammofon disc drops, and Svalastog's haunting 'Woodwork' is certainly no exception to that rule. His second album (but first for Rune) sees the Norwegian musician furthering his exploration into the re-working of traditional Scandinavian folk music as performed on the Norwegian Zither (Harpeleik), Rams horn (Bukkehorn) and Cows horn (Kuhorn). Per Henrik Svalastog stumbled across a Harpeleik in his grandfather's barn, somewhere deep in the Norwegian mountains. On finding this instrument,Svalastog began to rethink his musical ideals and decided it was time for him to turn his back on electronic music and explore this traditional instrument, tracing his own cultural heritage in the process. The results are astounding and go some way towards combining the ancient sounds of zither-based folk music with modern electronic experimentation as Svalastog expertly processes the plucked, hit or scraped strings of his Harpeleik. Reminiscent of the careful, considered chopping and harmonic abstraction of Opiate or The Boats, Svalastog has created something both deeply experimental and highly listenable. On 'Snow Tracer' the ethereal strums are chopped to act as a backbone for strange ancient melodies and stuttering beats - a good point of comparison might be Alva Noto and Opiate's 'Opto' collaborations, which also fused found sounds with masterful digital production techniques, however there is something rather more steeped in tradition on display here which gives it resonances far beyond those of many of his contemporaries. 'Woodwork' is yet another Rune title that tries its best to defy easy classification, and should serve to satisfy anyone with a desire to be lulled into Norwegian folklore with a magical touch. Recommended.