December 5, 2021 — This week’s roundup is absolutely jam-packed with great music from fantastic artists. Featuring singles from Faun and Bjarla, a three-track sampler for the upcoming album by Sun and Moon Dance, and the new albums released by Erdling and Gåte. Whether you prefer metal or folk, there’s more than enough to whet your appetite.
As always the best tracks from the roundup have been added to the Kurgan Compass™ Spotify playlist.
Faun Teams with Lindy-Fay Hella for ‘Galdra’
The German pagan folk band Faun recently collaborated with Lindy-Fay Hella for their new single ‘Galdra’. For a song with a title that translates to “Magic”, the result is nothing short of spectacular.
Faun is notorious for its use of “older” instruments in its music. The six-member band has each individual contribute to the sound with instruments like Celtic harp, nyckelharpa, hurdy-gurdy, and bagpipes among others. When it comes to the vocal department, Faun often relegates those duties to Oliver s. Tyr or Stephan Groth. However, with the recent inclusion of new members into the mix (Laura Fella in 2017 and Adaya in 2020) Faun has managed to retain a balance between male and female vocals.
As for this new collab track, Lindy-Fay Hella does an excellent job adapting to Faun’s more traditional style. Her vocals, while noticeable, blend seamlessly with everything else. If someone wasn’t aware that she was featured on the track they’d have a hard time recognizing it through sound alone. It makes you wonder when she had the time to feature on this song, considering just last week she released her own album, Hildring. Nonetheless, if you happen to be a fan of either artist ‘Galdra’ is worth checking out. You can find it on Faun’s Spotify page.
Bjarla Takes on “The Wild Hunt” with new single
Russian folk band Bjarla is a project made up of five people, including founding members Anton Marchuk and Poison Ivy. Based in Russia, the band’s name Bjarla was invented by the members themselves, combining the Icelandic words “björt” (bright), and “bjarmi” (shine). They have released a new track ‘Battle’, taking inspiration from the folklore of the Wild Hunt. Now if you’re familiar with northern-European folklore (or perhaps played Witcher III), you’d recognize the significance behind those words.
The Wild Hunt was a myth common in the Middle Ages but goes further back in time and has a Germano-Nordic origin. It said that if someone caught the eye of a ghost rider they would soon die. The vision of a Wild Hunt foreshadowed not only the death of the beholder but also a catastrophe. The leaders of the Wild Hunt procession were considered to be different personalities and mythological creatures. In Scandinavia, it was Odin who came to Earth to collect the souls of people.
Featuring a traditional sound, ‘Battle’ incorporates a variety of stringed instruments along with a strong percussive backbone. The song also contains vocals by the group’s sole female member Poison Ivy. She also wrote the lyrics, with music being composed by Anton Marchuk. While the lyrics aren’t in English, they do a splendid job of setting the tone in numerous parts throughout the song. While you won’t have to worry about a spectral rider coming to take your soul, ‘Battle’ will steal your attention until the song comes to a close. This track is available on both Apple Music and Spotify. Additionally, Bjarla’s Bandcamp page for the song features an English description and title.
Sun and Moon Dance Release Three Tracks from Their Upcoming Album ‘Re:member’
Sun and Moon Dance is composed of a single solitary member, based out of North Carolina. To quote the artist himself: “Sun and Moon Dance is my journey, my magic, my purpose. Everything is done by myself”. The concept of the balance between light and darkness is a central component of Sun and Moon Dance since the beginning. The name takes inspiration from Hati and Skoll, two wolves from the Northern-European mythos that chase the sun and moon respectively.
As a teaser for Re:member, Sun and Moon Dance has already released three songs from the album. These include ‘An Eagle’s Blessing’, ‘Shapeshifter’, and ‘Healing the Mother’ (which features Swedish singer/songwriter Bobby Sant). Each of these tracks may start in similar ways, but each has its own distinct identity. Containing ample percussion and traditional stringed instruments, each song uses these instruments to the fullest. While vocals are present, Sun and Moon Dance knows when to let the music speak for itself.
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Commenting on the album as a whole, they described the album as such: “Re:member is designed to peer into the 3rd eye where all of our ancient memories lie. Memories of creation back to the very beginning. Memories that have been passed down through eons of time. The spirit longs to reconnect to the roots of that old tree. The tree that sustains us. The tree that IS all of us. It is designed to help heal wounds past and present.”.
Furthermore, they explain that while we currently reside in a dark and uncertain time there exists hope amongst the chaos. There is a longing to find what has been forgotten, we need only remember. If these three songs excite you for what is yet to come, keep an eye on Sun and Moon Dance’s Bandcamp and Spotify for the full release in the coming week(s).
Erdling Visits the Underworld With Metal Album
Coming one year after their previous album Yggdrasil (which set new records for the band), German metal band Erdling just released their newest album Helheim on December 3. Featuring over a half-hour of music split across eleven different tracks, Helheim will take listeners through the bleak, eternal existence one could expect from the land of forgotten souls.
Erdling is currently composed of four members: Neill Freiwald on guitar and vocals, Neno Knuckle on backing guitar, Christian Schäfer on drums, and Robin Sem Vedrfölnir with bass guitar. The group has commented on the new album, explaining that “Helheim is probably the roundest album we’ve ever made. It contains all the ingredients that the fans have always appreciated about the band.”
As for the music, Kurgan Compass has chosen the track “Götterdämmerung” (meaning Ragnarök in German) to add to our Spotify list. However, this isn’t to say that the other songs are unworthy by any means. “Götterdämmerung” simply makes itself known and stands out amongst its peers. Containing driving energy coupled with a catchy melody, this song is a prime example of the metal sound Erdling can produce. If any of this sounds intriguing, you can find Helheim on Erdling’s Spotify or Bandcamp.
Gåte Releases New Album ‘Nord’
The Norwegian band Gåte has been a part of the folk scene since the early 2000s and has been steadily producing music for the past two decades. Their newest album Nord serves as both a departure and celebration of their previous work. The album features acoustic versions of some of their most memorable songs, such as ‘Horpa’, ‘Rideboll og Gullborg’, and ‘Kjærleik’ from their past albums and EPs. Here is the second track from the album, ‘Svik’ which translated to “betrayal”.
Gåte has mentioned how creating this album came with its own unique set of challenges. From their production to live performances, the band is known for making everything as big as it can be. When it came time to make Nord they “had to figure out how to find strength in the small things”, choosing to focus on simple details with an acoustic take. Additionally, they mention that producing this album has helped them to learn about their process when it comes to music as a band. For this album, they have taken a step back in order to examine and explore their full potential.