Instinkt / Hur!
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Go Danish Music

cd cover The name Instinkt turns out to be appropriate for this Danish band. The group draws upon elements of various styles of music that intellectually seem incongruous, but these players intuit - rightly, it turns out - that they will work together.

The album opens with a funky trap drum accompanied by a breathy flute, which hands things off to two gritty folk fiddles playing variations on a main theme. Going back and forth with the fiddles, the lone flautist holds her own, bringing to mind the rocked-up playing of Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull.

"Vilde Hvide"
On "Vilde Hvide," the group explores the use of drone sounds, making the album feel both ancient and prog rock-ish. After the first few barn-burners, the group shows its gentler side. "Lulus Mood" begins with a mournful solo flute, resonating a second time around with the understated chords from the strings, then eventually transforming into a gentle waltz that moves with the soft patter of cymbals.

The band plays its original tunes and updates one traditional tune with creative and sometimes playful arrangements. On "Chutney," the group plays with the seemingly lock-step rhythm of the song, elsewhere they grunt and make barnyard noises to lighten things up.

Instinkt is firmly in the ranks of rocked-up folk groups such as Hedningarna and Hoven Droven, but it does not really make use of such things as electric instruments and synthesizers, save for an occasional electric bass. The trap drums and bass provide the group with its rhythmic intensity, while its woodwinds can have the grittiness of brass instruments. The few vocals there are are mostly wordless. "Ode til Dollerup Bakker" even uses a haunting style that sounds like Swedish kulning, which was used by shepherdesses to communicate across long distances.

Instinkt formed in 2000 to play at the Frederiksund Folk Festival, but have only now released its debut studio recording. Composed of players from several Danish contemporary folk bands such as Sorten Muld, Instinkt jumps to the top rung of the Nordic folk scene with this fun, but meticulously crafted album. While rooted in traditional music, the group can bring to mind anything from Pink Floyd to the Turtle Island String Quartet to one of the up-and-coming U.S. "newgrass" bands. Instinkt has already created some buzz in Nordic traditional-music circles; this debut should generate some excitement in other parts of the world. - Marty Lipp

Available from cdRoots

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