As usual my deadline was last Tuesday. The only problem was that I had to do last year's tax report today, and I really needed to procrastinate before I started going through all last year's invoices and receipts. So, here I am, it's late, and I'm listening to the new Center of the Universe album at home. It's called «Apokryfa».
I wrote some stuff on the A Hawk And A Hacksaw album some days ago. Let' see what I wrote:
A Hawk And A Hacksaw
2009. The Leaf Label
Ofte når jeg hører såkalt eksotiske lands folkemusikk framført av vestlige musikere, og når jeg samtidig registrerer hvor mye lettere det er å få oppmerksomhet for den musikken man lager om man spiller såkalt eksotiske lands folkemusikk som vestlig musiker enn som musiker fra det såkalt eksotiske landet hvor musikken kommer fra, tenker jeg som følger: Det er lettere å integrere musikk enn folk.
Men om man ser bort fra alle sånne ting: Det er uansett ikke til å komme unna at pekusjonist Jeremy Barnes, fiolinist Heather Trost og de andre musikerne spiller fordømt godt på dette albumet. A Hawk And A Hacksaw ga ut sitt første album i 2002 og Délivrance er deres femte album.
Ok, so that's what I wrote. Don't really know if that makes sense. It seems I also pasted some text into that same document: « Taraf de Haïdouks The band's self-titled first album provided the soundtrack for the documentary Zizek!, which features Slovenian cultural theorist Slavoj Zizek.
Albuquerque duo Jeremy Barnes and Heather Trost have followed their Balkan hearts to Hungary on this latest album as A Hawk And A Hacksaw, relocating for several months to Budapest, where they recorded with folk group The Hun Hangár Ensemble and other local musicians, most notably Kálmán Balogh, whose cimbalom (a sort of hammer dulcimer) brings a sparkling character to tracks such as “Hummingbirds” and “Kertész”, alongside the duo’s accordion and gipsy fiddle stylings.
Drawing on various Balkan strains – courtly Greek dance rhythms for “Foni tu Argile”, and Romanian café music for the offbeat two-step of “Kertész”, for instance – the results blend klezmer, polka, gipsy folk music and various other forms into a dizzy whirlwind of dance music, with touches of Mexican mariachi creeping in occasionally, particularly in the horns accompanying “Foni tu Argile”, which bears a striking resemblance to Beirut’s recent March Of The Zapotec album.»
OK, now I'm still listening to the Center of the Universe album, and it does sound a lot like folk music from an exotic country. But yet it is obvious when you hear this that the instruments are played by skinny white guys. And this music is decidedly made by a skinny white guy. I happen to know for a fact that Jørgen «Sissyfus» Skjulstad is male, white and at least not overweight. He's been a very active force in the Norwegian underground, especially through the Metronomicon record label, even though there is really no reason his music should remain underground; it's neither too niché nor too unaccessible. But as can be read on their web page:
Metronomicon Audio is a little CD-R and CD label based in Oslo (Norway) that has chosen to go straight against the massive commercialism, double standards, vanity and unserious behaviour of the music industry.
Metronomicon Audio has focused on the freedom to make the music we like, and our never-resting design and typography crew Yokoland has done the very same in visual terms.
Metronomicon Audio is a community, with a flat structure where the artists have full control of their own music and artwork. We arrange concerts and happenings nearly all the the time, and every year we arrange the event By;Alarm, which is a mockery of all the grammy’s and awards that are to be won in the dirty, terrible, ridiculous and malicious business of music.
How social democratic! I like social democrats. If you're not a social democrat, you should go fuck yourself.
So, now the Center of the Universe album is over, and I'm listening to A Hawk And A Hacksaw. It sounds a lot less as if it's been recorded by skinny white Norwegian guys. If someone told me this was a Rumanian or Bulgarian folk band, I would believe it. But hey! There are a lot of Hungarian musicians here. That's why it sounds more authentic. Kinda reminds me of Taraf de Haïdouks.
Anyway, I like both these records better than the last western people doing exotic country folk music record I heard: «Surfin USSR» by the Norwegian band Farmer's Market. But I guess that's because Farmer's Market had a certain too dull not to be at school feeling to their music. the two albums I am supposed to review tonight both sound filthier than school. Which is obviously a good thing.