Kenneth Lien & Center of the Universe – “Snu hver stein”
Album release: June 2. 2023
Why are there so few combinations between Norwegian folk music and electronic music? Is it because the traditional music is too obscured in Norwegian culture or because the scenes are too different? The last years something new has happened; folk music has taken new previously unknown forms. Maybe the road is short from traditional dance to a night out clubbing? But how can this be done without ending up as a parody of both genres?
On this album Lien and Center tries to answer this question by digging deep into the material. The title means “turn each stone”, and the duo does just that in the search for something common between the two genres. That was not as difficult as expected! The hypnotic pulse, mysterious vibes and a tempo you can dance to is common, also both musics often drones along without any changes of key.
The duo also quickly found that their combination set fire to dancefloors, with people going crazy at their live gigs.
For this album Kenneth played and producer Jørgen harvested the samples of the over and understrings of the traditional hardanger-fiddle, they sampled mouth harps, and they made drum machines play “springar” (a Norwegian traditional asynchronous rhythm and dance). It would be easy to water out traditions using electronic instruments since the technology tends to decide. Lien and Center refuse to do this, instead they go for amplifying the traditions to hopefully lay the ground for something new. Following this logic, the synths are tuned to natural scales, leaving the drum machines tumbling away to follow the steps of old folk dances.
All the tunes and rhythms are traditional, but can we say this about the
808 drums and 303 basslines of house and techno? Maybe club music is just a more recent type of folk music after all?
Kenneth Lien is a multiinstrumentalist with his roots in black metal and improvised rock. He plays a variety of traditional instruments such as fiddle, Hardanger fiddle, willows flute and last but not least mouth harp. He is most known from the trio Ævestaden, but has also put his mark on the Norwegian Kappleik (a traditional music contest) with a number of victories in the mouth harp category.
Jørgen Skjulstad is a musician and DJ, also known as Center of the Universe or DJ Sissyfus. Jørgen has released around 20 records under his own name and contributed on maybe around a hundred as a remixer and producer and also started the collective and studio Metronomicon Audio.
Kenneth Lien: Hardanger fiddle, fiddle, mouth harp, willow flute
Jørgen Skjulstad: drum machine, synth, sampler, recording and mixing
All tunes trad, except Kivlemøyan by Eivind Groven
Recorded at Metronomicon Audio
Mastered by Christian Obermayer, Strype Audio
Cover art and graphic design by Julia Stenberg