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Forndom is the pseudonym of Swedish multi-instrumentalist and Nordic folk musician Ludwig Sward, who last year returned with his third album, ‘Fapir’, which translates to ‘Father’. The album cover, in many ways tell you all you need to know about this release, as it is mysterious, epic, atmospheric, and shrouded in mystery. It is the aural equivalent of the black and white photo of a fog-drenched forest, full of beauty yet always with that hint of something spooky, something which unsettles the mind. Looking at Bandcamp we see genres listed such as “folk”, “ambient”, “Nordic folk”, “Ritual folk” and “Scandinavian folk” yet for some reason not the title I feel most accurate, namely “Progressive Folk”. There are plenty of strings, haunting percussion, drones, plenty of atmospheric vocals, and it all combines together to create a world that is far darker and less jaunty than most of the folk music I listen to. This is music which in many ways has far more in common with atmospheric black metal than it does with the likes of folk metal or even plain folk music. It brings together different instruments in a way that is strangely compelling, and totally dramatic. All the lyrics are in Swedish so I have no idea what Ludwig is singing about in his rich and deep baritone, and it becomes part of the overall sound, but to those who can speak Swedish it will add an additional element as his annunciation and vocal style is very clear indeed. This really is music to be lost inside and designed far more for a winter’s day than a New Zealand summer, but I can imagine being out on the Desert Road at dusk in July, and this creating an almost primeval and foreboding atmosphere. The drums are almost native American in the way they keep driving the sound yet adding to the atmospheric feeling of the music and never detracting from it. There is a place for everything, with cellos providing sweeping soundscapes, and the result is an album fully worthy of investigation for those looking for music with depth and meaning.
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