Hedningarna is a group of three Swedish men and two Finnish women who perform a techno-gothic version of traditional Scandinavian music. On this outing, the three Swedes play without the two Finns. Since the Finns normally do the singing, six of the 11 tracks are instrumental, with the usual assortment of key fiddle, jaw harp, bagpipes, dulcimer, tambourine, and other instruments all noticeably distorted in the studio (although less so than on older albums). The instrumentals are good, and somewhat gothic with steady energy and odd flashes, as in the way the accordion at the beginning and end of "Dolkaren" imitates the harmonium used by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. Despite the carnival of buzzes, drones, plucks, and wheezes, however, the instrumental numbers cannot rival the vocals. Three of the tracks feature Wimme Saari who is a jojker from Samiland (Lappland). "Jojking" or "joiking" is an old, quasi-musical ritual chant. On "Návdi/Fasa" Saari jojks the wolf, building up to a shout in his passion. The best song on the album may be "Vals i Fel Dur (Waltz in the Wrong Key)" which starts with Arabic-sounding washes of sound and becomes a quiet, Nirvana-like nightmare of alienation. Although Hippjokk is not Hedningarna's best album, it is probably their most playful; it is less shrilly intense than their earlier works, and is a good choice for old fans as well as new.
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AllMusic Review by Kurt Keefner