Top Bar
Musique Machine Logo Home ButtonReviews ButtonArticles ButtonBand Specials ButtonAbout Us Button
SearchGo Down
Search for  
With search mode in section(s)
And sort the results by
show articles written by  
 Review archive:  # a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Maja S.K. Ratkje - Sult [Rune Grammofon - 2019]

Sult is the latest release from the highly talented Maja S.K. Ratkje- Norwegian composer, singer, genre blender & noise maker. The nine-track album sees her taking Norse folk music as a starting point- to create a work that moves from low-key & awkward harmonic grandeur, powerful & stirring vocalisations, and moody-to-playful subtle noise making.

Sult is the Norwegian word for hunger- it’s also the title of the 1890 novel by Knut Hamsun, for which quotes are used from here for all but one of the track titles here. The nine-track album is based on the music Rakje wrote for a 2018 production of Ballet, also called Sult by Jo Strøgren- though the music does sound in any way traditionally scored ballet music.


For the album Ratkje users a fairly pared back, and seemingly fairly organic blend of pump organ – which had a wind machine built into. Metal & PVC tubes, guitar & bass strings, resin thread, metal & glass percussion, and a bow.  And of course, Ratkje voice which goes from rich & soaring, to melodic & grand, onto jittering & slightly deranged.

The album has a runtime of forty-one minutes, with each of the tracks lasting between three & nearing eight minutes.  The album opens with the instrumental & slowly plodding awkwardness & stop/ start melodic forlornness of “Introduksjon – Denne Forunderlige By”.  With the third track “Den Sprættende Bevægelse Min Fot Gjør Hver Gang Pulsen Slår”, the pipe organ has picked up a pace, and is added to by scraping & spiralling textures. Fairly soon Ratkje’s almost jazzy spluttering-to- rising powerful voice appears, along with the very effective  addition of dragging & scaping chains, and tinkling glass- all creating a wonderful otherworldly blend of wonky beauty.

Track six “Øine Som Råsilke, Armer Av Rav” is a spaced-out tapestry of twanging guitar, hovering pipe organ, and Ratkje's rich & emotive vocalising- that sail around the track like a warming 'n' haunting wind. The second to last track "Jeg Fornemmer Mine Sko Som En Sagte Susende Tone Imot Meg"- starts in a slightly sourly jaunting-meets- off-kilter cabaret way feel, as we get the churning loops of slightly wavering pipe-organ & Ratkje smoky wails. Before turning quite manic & unpredictable with clip-clop percussion, springing fairground horn bellows, bounding noir like bass, and sudden-though- fleeting pained vocal billowing. The album dips out in wonderful forlornly harmonic simplicity with "Kristiania"- with it’s rising curls of pipe organ drone & spiral.

As an album Sult feels both intimate & felt, yet playful & powerful- blending instrumental honesty, with creative & quirky sound making. It’s an album that creeps up & slowly charms you- certainly something a little different from  Ms Ratkje.

Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5

Roger Batty
Latest Reviews

Maja S.K. Ratkje - Sult
Sult is the latest release from the highly talented Maja S.K. Ratkje- Norwegian composer, singer, genre blender & noise maker. The nine-track album sees ...
130820   Primal Scream - Primal Scream...
120820   The Woman In Black - The Woma...
120820   Incantation - Sect of Vile Di...
110820   Various Artists - Records, Re...
110820   Convocation - Ashes Coalesce
110820   Various Artists - No Belief
110820   Brigitte Barbu - Muzak pour ...
080820   Mossy Kilcher - Northwind Cal...
070820   Morton Feldman - For John Cage
070820   The Naughty Victorians - The...
Latest Articles

The Residents - Old Dog’s Still S...
Many bands/projects in their later years ease back on the sonic gas- be it slow down, mellow-out, or water down their sound. But that’s certainly not the cas...
220720   The Residents - Old Dog’s Sti...
200720   Jimmy McDonough - The Milliga...
300620   Perpetual Abjection & Unsign...
150620   William Fowler & Vic Pratt - ...
280520   Melaine Dalibert - Quietly cr...
150520   Barry "Schwump" Schwam - Frog...
300420   Nico Mastorakis - The Greek s...
070420   Paul Dever/ Blood Eagle - Yea...
290320   Bütcher - A Bestial Fukkin Wa...
260320   The Rita,Black Leather Jesus,...
Go Up
(c) Musique Machine 2001 -2017. Celebrating 16 years of true independence!! Mail Us at questions=at=musiquemachine=dot=comBottom