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Hagathorn – Björndansen Award winner

Hagathorn
Björndansen
by Ricardo Casagrande at 02 August 2022, 11:50 AM

HAGATHORN is the third project from the American musician Will Ott. Creative and multi-instrumental folk music with a darkened touch that is influenced by Nordic folk, it also delivers a modern and creative perspective of a very talented musician. He put together a collection of three Swedish folk songs in the 2019 release Dans i Hagen. In 2020 he released Hartwold, in which he uses traditional folk music with historical and poetic imagery to create songs that paint the image and stick in your mind. He emphasized on using traditional instruments to keep them from becoming forgotten pieces in musical history.

This album takes creative imagery to another level while using a simplicity to the music and beautiful arrangements of instruments that carry you away. Each instrument from drums to strings, to flutes, are like individual molecules of water, that when many are put together, a beautiful force can be created, and a wave of sound can be formed. The track “Metsän Kuningas” has a native drum beat set behind a smooth collaboration of instruments that are soothing and graceful. The titled track “Björndansen” opens you up to a waking moment with the relaxing chirps and puts you into a transfixed state of euphoria. This song is the moment your soul leaves the body in a moment when you can truly embrace peace.

Some tracks like “Skog Brudmarsch” are based heavily on melody but with a like slower pace and are outlined by the addition of cellos and mandolin. “Polska Från Hälleforsnäs” and “Hia Svärmon” have a more Celtic upbeat feeling that could, with more of a faster paced drumbeat, entice a Celtic dance. The flute is used well as it soars with the song and lifts it between moments with a heavy mellow bass that makes the song “Hia Hia Svärmon”, a well-structured piece. The song “Hvittenland” is based on a Norwegian fairy tale and starts out majestic and deep. The tale is set in which a man uses the elements of the earth on his journey and in this track, Will embraces these elements with the instruments to recreate the old tale. There is power within these songs that you don’t usually get to hear much anymore as it strays far away from mainstream music and has just tastes of it in the world of metal. It has become easier to find these from bands that arise from the Scandinavian countries, where these folklore tales live on through generations.

It is beautifully constructed work and is really impressive considering that Will is responsible for all of the instruments you hear. The recording sounds pure and natural without a need to be touched up or computerised. The music is meant to release feelings from within the listener and to open the imagination that was needed when the tales were constructed. Helping bring them to life. A well composed album that should be appreciated by more people than it probably will have the chance to reach, but also work that Will himself should be proud of.

Songwriting:9
Musicianship:10
Memorability:9
Production:10

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Metsän Kuningas
2. Björndansen
3. Skog Brudmarsch
4. Polska Från Hälleforsnäs
5. Angsälvar
6. Vänner Och Fränder
7. Hia Hia Svärmon
8. Stures Schottis
9. Hvittenland
Lineup:
Will Ott – All Instruments
Record Label: Nordvis Produktion
     


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