Tirill: Um Himinjodur
As we transition from winter to spring it is often a great time to listen to some of the music which has comforted us during those cold winter months. Well few musicians can create that wonderful warm effect of prog from the past, played with mellotron, cellos, and flutes…mixed well with Norwegian folklore like former White Willow band member Tirill Mohn. Mohn released her fourth solo album Um himinjëður on November 30, 2013. I was immediately taken by the cover art on the new CD, which reminded me of 'The Squonk' from Genesis' legendary Trick of the Tail album. When I opened the cover and placed the disc in the CD player more mysteries unfolded.
This is warm, fireside music, played softly with real passion and musicianship. Tirill Mohn, not only sings, she plays acoustic guitar, violin, Mellotron, keyboards, and percussion. Joining her on this over 41minute journey through folklore and traditional sounds are: Sigrun Eng, on cello; Jan Tariq Rui-Rahman, on vocals, recorder, and Hammond organ; Nils Einar Vinjor, on electric guitars; Edvin Syren, on bass; Audun Kjus, on flute; Klearchos Korkovelos, on cimbalom; Kostas Stefanopoulos, Tonje Ettesvoll, Susanne Fuhr and Alexander Stenerud sing vocals on individual tracks.
This album asks many questions. It is an excellent album to appreciate, drinking in every note of the deep mystery and sound like a prized wine. From the opener 'Voluspa' to the closer 'Quiet Night", every song is an entrancing journey of sound set to both provoke and ponder our existence.
Tirill Mohn's vocals open "Voluspa" in Norwegian, with Jan Tariq Rui-Rahman accompanying her. The two singers perform this warm and comforting track set to flutes and acoustic guitar. Perfect for the fireside.
"Charoit" opens with excellent acoustic guitar and soft bass before a recorder welcomes Mohn's vocals like a soft morning light. Mohn's vocals continue to warm the soundscape as flutes; organ and cellos join in to help build the magic sound surrounding this sad story of regret.
"Fagrar Enn Sol" opens with Mohn singing "When caves are dark, dare! Be the light! And walk inside to reveal and render harmless. To know it. And reconcile yourself to it". All set to a warm soundscape created by acoustic guitar, bass and flute. The acoustic guitar solos on this track are worth the price of admission alone. One of the album's best tracks. If you haven't walked in a pitch black cave yet…try it. And take along this song for comfort.
"Serpent" is based on a poem by Fergus Gwynplaine MacIntyre, "The Beast in the Loch". And as Mohn sings you can almost feel the winds and waves from that eerie loch howl. The acoustic guitar and soft percussion are perfectly delivered as Mohn sings, "I am as old as the sea. Timeless, I drift while the centuries creep". One of the best tracks on the album.
"Muzzled" is full of soft Hammond organ, chimes, electric guitar, and bass. It opens like an old Doors song, but was written by Dagfinn Koch and Malin Kjelsrud. Dagfinn Koch even plays keyboards on the track. The lyrics are powerful and delivered well by Mohn and Alexander Stenerud. "I'm just a numbered piece. In your annoying puzzle. Nobody cares to hear. I have been muzzled. I cannot speak. Do you hear me? Do you know my name?" Powerful lyrics as classic as In the Court of the Crimson King and at the same time as recent as the indifference and melancholy often heard by the Cure.
"Moira" is sung by Mohn, with Dino Steffens supporting. The supporting instrumentation is enchanting and helps create the solitude necessary to ponder the lyrics, "I am between. I am like shadows. I am the shape of the clouds in the sky. I am as near. As the wind in your hair. As soft as the sand, as sharp as the breakers". The acoustic guitar solos are warm and welcoming.
"The Poet" is a deep and thought provoking story set to cello, violin, and acoustic guitar with Mohn singing lead and Jan Tariq Rui-Rahman accompanying her vocally. The Mellotron, flutes and soft acoustic took my mood back to "John Barleycorn" and other magical Traffic songs of the past.
"In Their Eyes" is the longest and best track on the album. The opening cimbalom must be experienced. Mohn sings warm and soft as acoustic and electric guitar mix well with flute and supporting orchestration. Mohn sings the powerful lyrics, "Wisdom whispering softly, echoing". Bird song and natural surroundings add to the soundscape as soft Mellotron and organ are added like perfect seasoning to the mix. They deliver some of the tracks' most powerful moments. Mohn sings the powerful closing lyrics, "And in their eyes. The universe preserved. For a reason. So don't hide. They reveal their hearts. So that you can reveal yours".
"Quiet Night" is full of soft acoustic guitar and Mohn's voice singing, "Quiet night. I am lying in your arms. As if. You were all there is", with deep bass supporting. Perfect closer.
Tirill Mohn is one of my favorite singers. I have been lucky to have received a number of her solo works and have enjoyed each one. She expresses power, imagination and wonder, all mixed well with intelligent lyrics with one of the warmest and softest voices you could imagine. This is excellent music any time of the year, but especially powerful in late autumn. But don't wait until then. Get it now and enjoy it all year long. Whenever you need a quiet moment of contemplation.
1. Voluspa (3:08)
2. Chariot (3:46)
3. Fagrar Enn Sol (2:56)
4. Serpent (4:40)
5. Muzzled (4:56)
6. Moira (4:46)
7. The Poet (5:04)
8. In Their Eye (9:25)
9. Quiet Night (3:07)
Added: March 26th 2014
Reviewer: Mark Johnson
Related Link: http://www.musearecords.com/ext_re_new_releasesele
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