Origami Arktika


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Origami Arktika's seventh album is a classic example of living up to its billing fully -- Trollebotn is a physical and mythological place in Norway, as the extensive liner notes explain, along with brief English synopsis of the subjects of the songs and their origins. Even without such a handy guide, the album is a lovely experience on its own, as the various psych/folk inclined members of the group create another excellent, mysterious album that is both perfectly of the moment and centuries old. Given how Norwegian folk songs have gripped the imagination of the country for decades, from Edvard Grieg to any number of post-black metal experimenters, Trollebotn is a traditional album in more ways than one, but the understated arrangements supporting Rune Flaten's lilting singing could just as easily be experiments from Pink Floyd in 1970 or any recent Terrastock Festival, a continuing exploration of the psychedelic flow. Living up to the dark cover art and illustrations, everything feels appropriately shadowy, with soft room ambience and echoes adding an element of near-eavesdropping to the listening, as if one is a silent observer or participant to something not quite understandable. The buried drones and percussion fills on "Fanteguten," not to mention the sudden rings and chimes, isn't quite the soundtrack to a horror movie, but still calls to mind sudden jumps (all this while the song is about how to trick a pretentious woman!). Some of the lyrics suit the generally contemplative if not always downbeat mood, but others provide amusing contrasts -- "Min Pipe," for instance, is a classic "eat, drink and be merry" song, yet it's given possibly the murkiest of all the arrangements, with drums sunk low in the mix.

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