New Music

Valravn: ‘RE-COD3D’

GDC Music, 2011.

 

Scandinavia’s biggest and freshest electronic world music hit, Valravn continue their march on the road of their genius, this time with a remix album consisting of re-makes and adaptations of some renowned producers/bands, both from Scandinavia and the world, as well as some made by the band members’ own side projects, such as Euzen and Faun.

Valravn’s latest album is titled ‘Koder på snor’ (in English it goes something like Codes on strings), so the choice of title could suggest that Re-Cod3d is some sort of ‘sister album’ to the original production (as it was for example with Massive Attack’s ‘Protection’ and ‘No Protection’), this time however it is not the case. The debut release is represented by remixes of what I think were two really characteristic songs of that record as well as milestones in Valravn’s carreer, namely ‘Marsk’ and ‘Under bølgen blå’.

How is Re-Cod3d? Overall, very good. It satisfies those who think remix albums should turn deep and emotional music a little bit towards the dance floors and those who think remixes should only be made if and only if they add something to the original piece, or at least give another perspective concerning arrangement and content. We can find examples from both sides: ORKA do a fantastic job by turning Koder på snor into some sort of a ‘Nordic-Laibach’-styled manual techno (featuring kazoo-like intruments – possibly self-built, given their manner) emphasizing the killer bassline of the original even more. A perfect track 1. Then comes a playful dancefloor-oriented remix of ‘Kelling’ with a little chiptune addition concerning instrumentation. I do not intend to give a track-by-track analysis I just wanted to point out the aforementioned two main directions.

Valravn’s status is a little bit funny – as they gather more and more followers in their homelands, Denmark and the Faroese, they seem to have a huge fanbase in Poland, Belgium and Germany as well. How could they expand further? A good way to get your voice heard – especially in the electronic (dance) music scene – is if you collaborate or remix (or be remixed by) artists who are already out there. Our Nordic friends managed to get 3 well-known (and when it comes to quality, ‘trustworthy’) bands/producers to attack some songs off their sophomore effort, and these remixes surely deliver. Let it be Carmen Rizzo’s Middle-East-infused – almost ethereal – ambient, Transglobal Underground’s ‘Seersken’ with its blasting artistic aggression or The Kenneth Bager Experience’s solid house adaptation of ‘Kraka’.

All in all, this album is a great next step for Valravn. It does not have the smell of laziness to release new stuff, let alone a hunt for profit. This album stands on its own and shows us the power of Nordic electro (especially through the efforts by ORKA, Euzen and former Sorten Muld-captain Søren Bendixen – without whose influence we may not be here) and artistic submission and creativity (Omnia’s mind-blowing remake in English from ‘Kroppar’). As well as a lot of other things we can experience if we join Valravn on this journey into their own world. Where – this time – they’re tourists as well.

 

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