Lure - Prins I Puttalandet
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Prins I Puttalandet
Drone (

cd cover Back in 1997, Lure released one of my favorite recordings, Valramn, on the Swedish Tongang label. That recording was captivating in its densely woven music, and Lure was capable of kicking up a wall of sound that a band like Blowzabella would envy. I thought that Lure had vanished into the mists of obscurity, but years later Prins I Puttalandet beckons, a rusted, broken gate yawning wide on the CD cover. What lies beyond?

The personnel of Lure has remained unchanged and the sound of the band is still moored to the hurdy-gurdy playing of Harald Pettersson. As before, modern compositions sit comfortably alongside traditional tunes, but Lure's gift is that there is something about their arrangements that go beyond complementing their repertoire. Something indefinable is here that breaks your heart. What I have always admired about Swedish folk music is that it sounds more like magic to me than anything else; strings lift and swirl, like snowflakes. It's visceral and cinematic and Lure capture that sense better than most.

Lure do not have to rely on any electronic trickery to invest their songs with assured grace. They layer their sound very carefully so that the emotional impact of the music is all the greater. Take "Swarte Skolena" as an example, where fiddle player Jonas Akerlund and cittern player Esbjorn Hazelius sing in tandem. Pettersson's hurdy-gurdy swells, but never overtakes the song. Here, as elsewhere, Fredrik Bengtsson's double bass is handled with sensitivity, adding a rich dimension to Lure's sound. On "Vagen Hem," Bengtsson seems to coax the band into a waltz before the tune swirls off to follow its muse.

That Lure can hint at such fragility derives from the airy space that encompasses the drones at the core of their sound. Even pieces with as much power as "Finneman" or "Parlan" have a meditative vortex. Lure's music opens you up; you can feel the change of seasons in your heart, and the craft of these four superb players at the top of their game. - Lee Blackstone

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