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Is this the greatest album ever recorded? Might just be.
McKay, Scotland's bitchin' babe of the harp, and Johansson, Vasen's mad scientist of the nyckelharpa, prove that the whole really CAN be greater than the sum of its parts, even when each part is a virtuoso and musical daredevil in their own right. There is a delight in the discovery of just how well, and how effortlessly, these two musicians find common ground.
McKay, having mastered the techniques of classical and traditional folk harp, incorporates elements of jazz piano and rock guitar into her accompaniment. Johannsson squeezes an astonishing range of sound from the sinuous gut-string whine of the nyckelharpa, from delicate whisper to bluesey growl.
The music? Well, it pretty much incorporates elements of every Western musical style from 1100 on. There's definitely an Early Music feel to the soundscape of plucked string and bowing without vibrato, but each tune touches base at a number of different stops. There is very little conventional song structure...they're more like min-suites and tone poems. The mood dances from jolly to melancholy to contemplative. And the sound is rich as chocolate decadence.
What it must have been like to be in the room when these tunes were recorded, and where this music was created for the first time, I can only imagine.
Buy it. Then just try and get tired of listening to it.
Top Albums and Songs By Olov Johansson
||The Foogy Set||Foogy||6:25||$0.99||View In iTunes|
||In the Castle||Foogy||3:52||$0.99||View In iTunes|
||1st Class to Glasgow||Foogy||4:14||$0.99||View In iTunes|
||Astrids Vals||Foogy||3:25||$0.99||View In iTunes|
||Toker / Korrö||Foogy||3:46||$0.99||View In iTunes|
||The Harper's Dismissal||Foogy||4:28||$0.99||View In iTunes|
||Stout's Trip / Olov's Polska||Foogy||5:12||$0.99||View In iTunes|
||Höök||Foogy||3:41||$0.99||View In iTunes|
||Rain / Ekoln||Foogy||7:50||$0.99||View In iTunes|
||Vandningen||The Auld Harp||3:53||$0.99||View In iTunes|