NOR-CD (home.solo.no/~norcd)

It doesn't get more visceral than Utla, a trio from Norway that bends (well... shatters) the definition of both folk and jazz and creates a noise that will rattle your bones and surprise your ears. What's all the more amazing is that this is simple trio: Håkon Høkemo (hardangar fiddle), Terje Isungset (a remarkable percussionist who also plays with Groupa), and Karl Seglem (saxophone and ram's horn). The album opens with a droning jew's harp, a pounding of drums and an electrified and incredibly raw hardangar, and a chanting horn that rises and descends through a wall of harmonic chaos. It is a warning clarion for what is to come. The recording travels through a lot of moods and sound styles, from in-your-face experiments to almost romantic fiddle tunes (beware, they will lull you and then attack!) This is not for the faint of heart. The "folk" aspects are primitive and whimsical, clear but untamed. Utla's music is closer to a hard, improvisational jazz, although it is jazz played around an open fire high in some unnamed hills where demons lurk at the edge of the light. This trio is like little else in the Nordic musical scene (Groupa being their only likely comparison). They generate their power by sheer will and human force, eschewing studio trickery for simple, raw energy. - CF

Available at cdRoots

Song sample is titled "Dans" by Utla, published by NOR-CD
used by express permission
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