Etterlatte by Havnatt (Secret Quarters)
Havnatt is the exceptional neofolk collaboration of vocalist Cecilie Langlie and guitarist Tom Simonsen, whose other heavier projects include the likes of Omit and Vagrant God. Last year, Havnatt’s superb debut Havdøgn was released through the Secret Quarters label, receiving a good deal of worldwide acclaim. Starting out as a work commissioned by the family of the late Norwegian author Tormod Skagestad, Havnatt has risen into a thriving entity well worth seeking out. Etterlatte is the name of their brand new full length, an astounding masterwork of sheer artistry once again featuring the vibrant writings of the noted Skagestad.
Once the gorgeously melancholic strains of the first track Sovande Gard (Tolkning 1) commence, the listener is whisked away into the world of Tormod Skagestad as lushly interpreted by the Norwegian duo known as Havnatt. Even if the lyrics are a mystery because they are presented in a different language, the intrigue and mysticism to be found in the stunning vocals and wistful instrumentals will leave you breathless. The exploration through idyllic darkness continues with tracks such as the haunting Et Blinkfyr Våker I Vest, the gorgeous title cut Etterlatte, and the sweeping single Var Je Solblesten leaving a lingering impression. Another highlight is the grand finale Folkevise, clocking in at over seven euphoric minutes, showing Havnatt at the very height of their creative invention.
Cecilie Langlie delivers a wondrously expressive performance, and remains a vastly underrated vocalist who transcends time and genres. Tom Simonsen guitar work is subtle yet rapturous, with an imagination that is beyond compare. Other instruments weaving throughout the lush soundscapes include piano, clarinets, violins and cellos, among others. Etterlatte is epic and ambitious, while retaining an intimacy that will sweep even the most cynical music critic off their feet and into an extraordinary state of tranquility.
The CD version of the album comes with a beautifully crafted 28 page booklet with hand drawn illustrations for each of the tracks. Tormod Skagestad’s original lyrics have also been reprinted in the booklet with permission from the Skagestad family. Also available on ITunes and CD Baby, Etterlatte is required listening for all seeking a splendid respite from the mundane. Highly recommended!
(Review by Kenneth Morton)
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