Phønix - Folk
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GO' Danish Folk Music (

Danish quartet Phønix manages to pull a surprisingly layered sound out of just a few basic materials - voice, accordion, clarinet, and percussion, with a few strings added in to fill out the texture. This frothy confection appeals with its unexpected little rhythmic and melodic twists and turns. The sprightly countermelodies set up by accordionist Jesper Vinther and clarinetist Anja Præst are quirky but never precious, bouncy but never too cute. Karen Mose's voice has a sultry maturity that keeps the whole thing from wafting off into fey-land. Jesper Falch's crisp touch on percussion shows a musician completely in tune with his mates.

Most of the tracks combine a traditional tune with a newly composed piece, cleverly building on and varying the tunes with each repetition. The whole thing is playful and just a little irreverent. The sneaky, circular "Gærdet" uses an angular bass clarinet line under the more serpentine main melody, winding the whole thing back on itself with wisps of vocal harmonies. Anja Præst's composition "Når Bjørne Danser" is a nimble instrumental with a witty "Hall of the Mountain King" quote in the main melody. The only real misstep is "Ost og Vest," a dorky waltz featuring guest vocalist Ivan Pedersen. It just sort of plods along with little of the inventiveness of everything else around it. But given how delightful the rest of Folk is, this little transgression can be forgiven. - Peggy Latkovich

CD available from cdRoots

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cd cover

"Når Bjørne Danser"


CD available from cdRoots
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