Sometimes musicians experiment and twist with musical material that it sounds brand new. The Norwegian duo Naaljos Ljom – guitarist Anders S. Hana and synthesizer player Morten Joh, both are known from the noisy outfits MoHa! and Ultralyd, came out with a new concept: traditional Norwegian microtonal electronic dance music, ar acid folk. This album is the third one in a series of projects initiated by Motvind Records, Perspektiv på norsk folkemusikk, aiming to offer a broad selection of expressions of the rich legacy of Norwegian folk music, that hopefully will inspire further listening and reflections.
Naaljos Ljom’s transformations of the tones and the rhythms of Norwegian folk music are largely the same as the original ones and inspired by the work of Norwegian composer and music theorist Eivind Groven and his way of constructing equal-tempered instruments. But the sonic outcome is spun into a sci-fi, futurist atmosphere and welcomes new listeners into the warmth of the Norwegian folk music tradition.
Hana and Joh have screwed together six traditional pieces – five tunes and one song. Hana Hana has made a great effort in learning both langeleik, the droned zither, and mouth harp, and plays modified electric guitar with micro frets. Joh plays the melodies and grooves on his vintage analog synths, and he also seeks to express the magic, that is everything in between the beats, the tones and the phrases. Naaljos Ljom host Hardnger fiddler Olav Christer «Laffen» Rossebø and vocalist Kenneth Lien. The album was recorded in Stavanger in 2021.
Naaljos Ljom’s fresh conception of Norwegian folk music offers a trip in imaginary valleys and fjords, many are not the typical Norwegian ones. The opening piece «Gorrlaus» and «Uppstaden» invite the listener into an exotic, atmospheric-hallucinogenic dancescape with hypnotic pulses played by mouth harps. These pieces bring to mind fond memories of the colorful pothead pixies from early Gong albums. «Langeleikslått» and «Galne Visten» match the chilly Nordic melodies with sensual and steamy Middle-Eastern dances while the langeleik explores the quartet-tones of the qanun. Rossebø’s fiddle anchors «Homslien» in the tradition but Naaljos Ljom transforms these familiar sounds with lush layers of atmospheric synths. The last, dramatic song «En venn jeg havde meg en tid» crisscrosses between a Norwegian mourning hymn and a mysterious, Middle-Eastern dervish ritual.
Naaljos Ljom finds surprising magic in the living tradition of Norwegian folk music.
Anders S. Hana (el.g, langeleik, mouth harps), Morten Joh (synth, computer, Trautonium Manual / Ribbon Controller), Olav Christer Rossebø (vio), Kenneth Lien (v)