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Go to the Origami Arktika website  Origami Arktika - Vardøgr [Silber Records - 2002]

Vardøgr is an old Norse word, meaning a forewarning, almost an omen. When you hear the door opening some time before it does, when you know someone is going to call you before they do. This is made by a spirit, something which follows people around and projects their coming. It is a protective spirit, and a promise of things to come. - Rune Flaten, Origami Arktika

The brief introduction above is describing almost exactly what atmosphere Origami Arktika evokes and when it should be listened to; when you almost can feel the presence of the spirits, an eerie and strange sensation. Silber Records has just released the new album of this group, which is actually their first U.S. release.

For those who remember the immensely beautiful release on Jester Records by Origami Galaktika will be familiar with Origami Republika. This collective was formed in September 1990 to create a cultural network covering a wide range of themes, but each division focusing on just one specific cultural or musical style, genre, philosophy, format or method. During the years the Origami perspective has been expanded greatly, as there are no limitations whatsoever. People join and new projects are created, but some are disbanded too. Naturally, this results in an unbounded diversity within the "republic". Covering wide range of musical styles, such as ambient, noise, post-rock, folk, industrial and totally indescribable sounds, but also poetry, politics, romantics, and various other forms of art; the Origami family has already more than 180 agents - operating in 18 countries and on 4 continents – who in some form or another have been participating in a O.R. product. Origami Arktika is one of the many members of the Republika family, and perhaps my personal favourite.

Origami Arktika's music can best described as droning ambient sounds combined with traditional Scandinavian folk. Origami Galaktika's sound is not far away, but the use of acoustic instruments such as guitars and bells gives it a more organic and authentic feeling instead of a spacey and hypnotizing one. The seven tracks have been recorded live in various places, before they are processed and put together in the studio. Some of the songs contain actual vocals (sung in Norwegian of course), creating a definite old folk atmosphere. However, most tracks remain quite minimal musically speaking, and that is not something everyone can appreciate I assume.

As one of the most active projects in the Origami Republika family, Origami Arktika has again brought fourth a very beautiful release that fans of acoustic folk and ambient music should not let pass unnoticed, although live performances are probably even more impressive. It is said that the live shows call the psychedelic tribal gatherings of the late-1960's to mind, and have been known to include fire, incense, full nudity, body paint and visual effects, all in effort to break down the wall between performer and audience member. For those not able to see them live someday, Vardøgr will do just fine.

Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5

Justin Faase
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