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Hagathorn – Hartwold

by Hari Narayanan at 20 November 2020, 5:44 PM

HAGATHORN is an atmospheric folk project by American musician Will Ott. He has released an EP titled “Dans I Hagen” before the release of the first studio album “Hartwold” via Nordvis. One cannot talk about technicalities in a folk album. One is forced to note emotions it has evoked and retell it, like an old folk tale. “Hartwold” is very somber in nature. We are welcomed into the magical, ancient fields with the song “Meadow Gale.” The soft picking of the strings builds a heavenly atmosphere that clings to corners of your heart that you knew never existed.

Next comes the title track “Hartwold.” This song builds up with a steady pace, and wrenches you in sorrow. Same is the case with songs like “Mistfall’, and “The Old Orchard.” These songs are filled with so much sorrow and pain, at certain moments, tears swell up from the corner of your eyes. But at the same time it nurses your pain. It cradles you and comforts you.

All but one song on this album are original works, and that being “Krummavísur”, which is an Icelandic traditional folk song that HAGATHORN has reproduced. His rendition of the song is nothing but perfect. The ethereal quality of the song startles you. It should shock any sensible music consumer that this album and the artist behind are not getting the attention that he deserves. “Hartwold” captures such emotional quality and character and gets better with each listen. Buy there are faults in this album too.

The fact that HAGATHORN’s voice only appears for brief few seconds is very disappointing. This sort of music does need a human voice to support it. Another not so enticing aspect of the album is the fact that after a while the songs start to sound a bit like one another. After long and difficult months of quarantine and loneliness that comes with it, an album like this can help to great extend.

Anyone can relate to this album and find meaning and solace in it, because pain is universal. The atmosphere and feeling the album evokes is like an ointment for the soul. The sound is unique enough that comparisons are difficult. The instrumentation on this album is peculiar and hauntingly beautiful and the compositions are masterful. It is a spiritual, calming, and meditative. This is an album that will nourish your soul, and bring you peace. A must listen for anyone even if you are not into folk music of any kind.

Songwriting:  8
Musicianship:  7
Memorability:  7
Production:  7

3 Star Rating

1. Meadow Gale
2. Hartwold
3. Krummavísur
4. Hrethmonath
5. Mistfall
6. The Old Orchard
7. Udröst
8. Birch Lore
Will Ott - Everything
Record Label: Nordvis


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