WITH a rather gorgeous new record in cahoots with the Norwegian experimental folk collective Völvur just a little over a fortnight away now, our favourite Perthshire and formerly appendically removed songsmith Alasdair Robert has dropped one final teaser, in which he gives way front and centre to Völvur’s Marthe Lea for an absolutely beautiful Norwegian spiritual, “Nu Solen Går Ned” – it translates as ‘when the sun sets’.
“Nu Solen Går Ned” is the album closer; and with Marthe striding forward it’s a nugget of rousing, sombre out-folk, the second of two 17th-century Scandinavian lyrics on the album, the day closing in the words of the Norwegian Samuel Olsen Bruun.
It’s so atmospheric, so fragmentary as to be close to Talk Talk in places; every note, every woodwind scour, counting and transporting. It touches upon dissonance instrumentally as Marthe both holds and glories in the centre of the song. Beautiful, and beautifully weird.
As with the other singles that have dropped en route to the release of The Old Fabled River, what we get is not the album version, oh no, but rather an especially recorded, in-the-round, intimate as you like take. Embrace the atmos and the mystery below.
Oh – we should note that Völvur also record as the Marthe Lea Band,and that their own new album, Asura, has been out a few weeks now, too. As you can hear herein, they have an innate chemistry and all the chops you need to evoke a music that sings out of time and place and the earth.
Watch out for our full review of The Old Fabled River on the morning of July 19th; it’s thoughtful, textural, nuanced, a record of depth, and I for one hope Alasdair og Völvur is a collaboration that bears more earthy and earthly fruit.
Alasdair Roberts og Völvur’s The Old Fabled River will be released by Drag City on July 23rd digitally, on CD and on vinyl; and can be ordered in your preferred format, here.