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TRACK LIST: 1. Tre Som Bor i et Tre 1:37 2. Trefar 3:21 3. Mellomspill 1:53 4. Rottekongen 5:31 5. Paa Biblioteket 2:43 6. Vi Er Eid 4:28 7. Dyrene i Byen 2:33 8. Elvene i Oslo 3:49 9. Signekjerringa 3:28 10. Tenkeren 3:51 11. Trollmannen 3:32 12. Laer de Fattige aa Trylle 2:29 13. Dyrene Bor Ute 3:11 14. Underboerne 3:01 15. Katabasis 2:27 LINEUP: Benediktator - vocals, bass, guitars, Glockenspiel, harp, percussion Krizla - vocals, flute, electronics HlewagastiR - drums, percussion Marxo Solina - keyboards With: Dauinghorn - guitars Annette Stav Johanssen - vocals
Prolusion. Norwegian band TUSMORKE was formed back in the middle of the 1990's, but didn't actually become recording artists until 2012. Since then the band have grown considerably in status and stature, with half a dozen albums to their name at this point. "Bydyra" is their fifth studio album, and was released by Norwegian label Karisma Records towards the end if 2017.
Analysis. While this is an album released under the Tusmorke moniker, this isn't really a band production as such. Rather it is a children's musical divided in two parts, made by one of the member's for his place of work, which I understand is a children's elementary school. This is a description that in itself will hit a big disinterest button among many music fans, especially those who live outside of Scandinavia, as music made for children tends to be rather bland, simplistic material these days. Tusmorke proves that this doesn't have to be the case with this production though, and I find that this album is a solid proof of just how good an album made for children can be. Certain aspects of this album will obviously reveal rather starkly that this isn't music made with adult listeners in mind. One exception aside the songs are all short affair for starters. Most songs contains passages with a high singalong factor, and the structures aren't as advanced as many fans of music in general and progressive rock in particular are sued to. The piano and flute are often the dominant instruments in the vocal parts, and the moods and atmospheres generally range from mildly melancholic to light and positive. The traces of darkness that find their way into these landscapes are mainly reserved for the very end, a dark, cosmic and dramatic electronic excursion that is a strikingly odd one off on this production. But it is in the arrangements, especially the sequences in between the vocal passages, that Tusmorke reveals what this is all about. Primarily using aspects of a progressive rock style rooted in the folkier parts of the spectrum we are treated to elegant flute details, layers of keyboards and sounds and many instances of classic era progressive folk rock, and one that often strikes me as closer to Black Widow than Jethro Tull at that. Often mysterious and slightly exotic, but with the roots firmly attached to Mother Earth and a vintage general expression. But while transitions and instrument sections can be rather alluring, many of the vocal parts will be more divisive. Not everyone will find the enthusiastic albeit not quite harmony oriented children's choir vocals appealing. That is an acquired taste after all. The band does a good job of incorporating them though, and while there are some instances here that will alienate many, other compositions have managed to masterfully incorporate those without any detrimental effect as well. The end result here is an appealing example of progressive folk rock meeting up with a children's musical, as well as a good example of how to go about it when making music for children. It is also worth taking note of this album being in Norwegian. As such, I do imagine that it's appeal as mere entertainment will be limited beyond the borders of Norway. But as an example of how to create intelligent music for children, it's reach is a more far reaching one in my opinion.
Conclusion. Music made for children are one of those details of life that can give some people headaches merely by mentioning it. Car vacations with the same album of simplistic, limited musical dandruff repeated over and over again a real life nightmare I imagine a few are still familiar with, even if this is mainly an experience from a bygone age by now. Tusmorke proves quite nicely that music of this kind doesn't have to be as limited as certain international corporations wants us to believe, and that music of this kind can be an interesting listen also for adults. Primarily one for the children this one, but also an album that prog loving parents can safely play in their car or at home without being in danger of getting a migraine. As far as style is concerned, this is progressive folk rock blended with a children's musical. A blend that is rather more appealing than what you would expect.
Progmessor: June 27th, 2018
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