Maja S. K. Ratkje — Sult (31 March 2019)

NORWAY FLAG main                                                                                          Maja S. K. Ratkje — Sult (31 March 2019)   Maja S. K. Ratkje — Sult (31 March 2019)•⇔•  Oceněná norská avantgardní zpěvačka, skladatelka, improvizátorka a experimentální elektronická hudebnice. Maja S. K. Ratkje a Stian Westerhus se kdysi v létě setkali ve své hudbě Hunger a v textech, volně vypůjčených od Williama Shakespeara — pro skvělý koncertní zážitek. Možná to byl vrchol festivalu Moldejazz. Limited edition white vinyl LP. Includes CD version of the album. Edition of 600.
Location: Svartskog ~ Oslo, Norway
Recording date: May, 2018
Recording Location: Norwegian National Opera and Ballet
Album release: 31 March 2019
Record Label: Rune Grammofon
Duration:     41:13
1. Introduksjon — Denne forundelige (Intro)   5:30
2. Sjå, Åmioda (Og ikke en lyd kom mig fra Strupen)   4:27
3. Den sprættende bevægelse min fot gjør hver gang pulsen slår   7:34
4. Sayago (En sådan glidende lyd)   3:15
5. En træflis å tygge på   3:17
6. Øine som råsilke, armer av rav   5:47
7. Et hvitt fyrtarn midt i et grumset menneskehav hvor vrak flot om   4:12
8. Jeg fornemmer mine sko som en sagte susende tone imot mig   3:32
9. Kristiania   3:39
⇔  Frode Haltli   Producer
⇔  Kim Hiorthøy   Sleeve Notes
⇔  Maja Ratkje   Composer, Mixing, Producer
⇔  Morgan Nicolaysen   Mastering
⇔  Hogen Rormark       EngineerPicture: Maja S. K. Ratkje og Stian Westerhus møtes i hennes musikk fra Sult og i tekster fritt lånt fra William Shakespeare — til en stor konsertopplevelse. Dette kan godt ha vært festivalens høydepunkt.
John Lewis ⌊Fri 1 Mar 2019 08.30 GMT⌋ Score: ★★★★ Contemporary album of the month. 
Sult review — compelling steampunk synthesis.
•⇔•  Ratkje’s upcycled pump organ, with added tubes, strings and percussion — is a fascinating instrument to decipher her literary inspiration.
•⇔•  Norwegian composer Maja SK Ratkje has immersed herself in various eccentric projects over the years — free improv outfits, performance art installations, a concerto for electric guitar, and even a 2002 album entirely comprised of breaths, gasps, squeaks, grunts, growls and tongue clicks that had been digitally manipulated. Her latest project Sult (Norwegian for “hunger”) was inspired by Knut Hamsun’s 1890 novel of the same name and uses music that she initially composed for a Norwegian National Ballet production. To add a further layer of complexity, the entire album is performed on an instrument that she built herself: Ratkje has taken an old~fashioned pump organ, powered by foot pedals, and added PVC tubes, wind machines, bass strings, resin threads and glass percussion — to the point that it now resembles some crazed Heath Robinson contraption.
•⇔•  But the results are quietly compelling. Using her homemade steampunk synthesiser, she’s able to sound like a Bontempi organ, a wheezy accordion, a zither and the percussion section of an orchestra. Her aim was to conjure up the sound of 19th~century Oslo, but the tracks on Sult sometimes nod towards Steve Reich~style organ minimalism (Den spraettende), Ennio Morricone soundtracks (En traflis a tygge pa), folksy ballads (Sja, Amioda) and breathy, effects~laden folktronica (Et hvitt fyrtarn). Crucially, Ratkje can also write strong, vocal~led songs, such as Sayago and Oine Som Rasilke, that transform this collection from background music into something that stands alone as a compelling album in its own right.
Boomkat Product Review:
•⇔•  Maja S.K. Ratkje’s spellbinding ‘Sult’ is based on her soundtrack for the ballet suite by Jo Stromgren for the Norwegian national ballet. Leading on from her previous solo LP ‘Crepuscular Hour’, Ratkje is here accompanied by a wildly modified, out~of~tune pump organ in 9 wonderous songs that attest to her non pareil, improvisational brilliance.
•⇔•  Stemming from the ballet adaptation of ‘Sult’, Knut Hamsen’s classic novel about a starving writer in late 19th century Kristiania (now Oslo), Maja’s treatment closely follows its themes in the lyrics and music, but works as a distinctive document in its own right. Under song titles taken from the novel, Maja unfurls surreal, anachronistic scenes akin to a steampunk echo of olde Oslo.
•⇔•  Using an era~appropriate pump organ rigged with metal and PVC tubes, and a wind machine built in, along with resin threads, metal and glass percussion and bow — which she had to learn to play before recording — Maja regales the narration with a fine but beautifully loose grasp of her instrument’s chaotic analog nature, skilfully harmonising with her own, incredible vocal abilities.
•⇔•  Despite having never read the book or visited Oslo, Maja’s music and singing takes us right there, to the same cold cobbled streets where Hamsen wrote his semi~autobiographical account of a starving artist trying to make it, and where you might encounter images that gave rise to Edvard Munch’s ’Skrik’ [1893]. Through the resilience of her voice and the queasy, off~kilter shanty feel of the pump organ, Maja most romantically and acutely connotes that atmosphere with the timeless charm of a bard, troubadour or dramaturgist, or quite simply the ambiguous, dreamy nature of the most potent art.
•⇔•  An artistic interpretation of professor Signe Kjelstrup’s work on energy conversion, corresponding to an article including the same wording which was published in Chemical Engineering Science 60 (2005) by the authors Eivind Johannessen and Signe Kjelstrup.
•⇔•  A live version is optionally accompanied by videos edited by Ratkje based upon footage from the scientific work of Kjelstrup’s collegues Bjornar Sandnes, David James, Clovis Sauzaret, Knut Jorgen Maloy and Grunde Lovoll.
•⇔•  ... Costume designer Bregje van Balen. Lighting designer Stephen Rolfe. Dancers Silas Henriksen, Julie Gard.
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John Fordham ⌊Thu 31 Aug 2017 19.20 BST⌋ Score: ★★★
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