Jan 31, 2007

Stage 19, Denmark not to be..

Danmark is an extremely flat country, the highest point just 170m (570ft) above sealevel, Danmark belongs to the family of Scandinavian countries although not located on the Scandinavian Peninsula, its capital is Copenhagen. Denmark became a constitutional monarchy in 1849 after having been an absolutist state since 1660, Having existed for more than 1000 years, the Danish Monarchy is one of the oldest in the world. The Kingdom of Denmark also encompasses two off-shore territories, Greenland and the Faroe Islands, both of which enjoy wideranging home rule.

From the 8th to the 10th century, the Danes were known as Vikings. Together with Norwegians and Swedes, they colonised, raided and traded in all parts of Europe. Viking explorers first discovered Iceland by accident in the 9th century, on the way towards the Faroe Islands and eventually came across "Vinland" (Land of wine) also known today as Newfoundland, in Canada. The Danish Vikings were most active in England and France where they temporarily conquered parts of England, known as the Danelaw, Ireland and France, giving name to the French region of Normandy. More Anglo-Saxon coins from the Viking age have been found in Denmark than in England !

Famous Danes, well if Neils Bohr rings a bell than you probably have heard of quarks aswell, it is however more likely that you know H. C. Andersen's fairy tales. Or Karen "out of africa" Blixen or maybe babe Briggitte Nielsen xStallone is more your line of interest. Whatever, by far the most famous Dane is actually a fictional character, Hamlet, the title character of William Shakespeare's famous play, which was set in the real castle of Kronborg in Helsingør. The play was inspired by an old Danish myth of the Viking Prince Amled of Jutland, and his quest for vengeance against his father's killer. But Shakespeare' wouldnt be Shakespeare' if he hadn't added something more, the line, the curse of Hamlet, the curse of the Danes " TO BE or NOT TO BE " that's the question, or is it ? Well something is rotten in the state of Denmark, Murder most foul, ...There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.Though this be madness, yet there is method in 't....The cat will mew and dog will have his day....an old man is twice a child, Purpose is but the slave to memory,... The rest is silence.

Musically Danmark reflects this opposition TO BE a thoughtful introverted and generally unassuming attitude Not to BE, extraverted, simplistic if not banal, it stands to reason that the latter have commercially been more succesful, home but certainly abroad. There's the Roskilde Festival that these days attracts not only scandinavians, but from all over Europe, its one of the biggest in its sort but nevertheless manages, thanks to thousands of local voluteers, to maintain an open and communal atmosphere .

In this post 2 oldies, vinyl rips Kliche and Sort Sol, latter proves to be an interesting band right from the start, excellent cover art aswell...must consider the time here 1980, and Danmark was a bit of a backwater, these guys would have done very well in the UK in those days. I found a clip at YouTube from 94 , i searched out more clips of the bands i present here, so you can

get an idea as most groups aren't that well known globally. Efterklang and Kashmir are likely the best known and have several vids available aswell. Diefenbach, named after a character from the movie Fargo, has a hard to define instant appeal. My favourite here are Under Byen, a collective of men and women that create soundscapes dominated by piano, cello, violin, electrically distorted saw, organ, drums and percussion and voice. Make sure you check the awesome live vid of legesag.

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To Bleed Or Not To Bleed

Kliche - Supertanker ( ' 80)
Diefenbach - Set & drift ( ' 05)
Efterklang - Tripper ( ' 04)
Sort Sol (Black Sun) - Under en Sort Sol ( ' 80)
Under Byen - Det er mig der holder træerne sammen ( ' 02)
Kashmir - No Balance Palace ( ' 05)

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Kliche - Supertanker ( ' 80 * 54mb)

Kliché was a Danish new wave band found in 1977 by Lars Hug (Lars Haagensen), Jens Valo (Jens Danielsen) og Johnny Voss (Johannes E. Møller), short after the drummer Anders Brill (Anders Gilberg) joined the band. Kliché's first concert was the 5. May 1978 at Vestergade 58 in Aarhus. Kliché had, a distinct sound mainly due to lead singer Lars Hug's original voice. They would semi-ironically quote Mao and Buddha and perform in uniforms - often coloured overalls. In 1980 they released their fist album "Supertanker", known for the number "Militskvinder" that quotes Mao. The opening track igen og igen aswell as the last track the 10 min "Masselinjen" epos are mainly instrumental and i'm pretty convinced they reached Kiel and little Ullli Schnauss. In October 1982 they released the album "Okay Okay Boys".

Lead singer, Lars Hug (later Lars H.U.G.), began his solo career in 1984 and has released several albums. After Hug left the band, the band was officially dissolved in april 1985. The remaining members released a single album titled Dobbelt Plus under the name Voss Torp Brill.

1 - Igen Og Igen (3:33)
2 - Havets Blå (3:14)
3 - Hetz (2:15)
4 - Militskvinder (2:50)
5 - Panorama (4:10)
6 - Aldrig Mere (3:57)
7 - Stjernerne I Deres Øjne (3:10)
8 - Bodyguards (2:31)
9 - Masselinjen (10:00)

Lars Hug @ Base

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Diefenbach - Set & drift (05 ^=upgr 99mb)

Diefenbach first official album, Run Trip Fall, which according to NME took in “everything good from the last 40 years of pop music”. With its undeniable charm, Diefenbach managed to win over the likes of The Guardian, Radio 1, XFM and even found praise in The Sun , Remarkable, considering their first record was purely instrumental and they clearly didn't not let their skills go to waste. "Set and Drift" is a hugely polished lesson in professional song writing that covers many styles and moods, as any good pop record should their sound partakes in everything from shoegaze to techno-pop to folk without ever sounding like anything but their own wholly natural style, and they write great songs.

It's pretty easy to try to be some tortured artiste in a rock and roll band, but it's much harder to just come across as nice—or even worse, comforting, which Diefenbach kind of is. And yet they avoid the plague of wussiness which has been sweeping rock .There’s a real Manchester influence echoing all the way through this album with its sublime guitars and lush melodies. The Stone Roses resonate through every track, there are beautiful Beach Boy harmonies and there’s also a psychedelic, trippy 60s thing going on.

01 - Mechanical (4:20)
02 - Glorious (3:41)
03 - The Police (2:35)
04 - Streetlights (3:53)
05 - Favourite Friend (3:47)
06 - It's Only Love (3:35)
07 - Bruising My Eyes (3:23)
08 - The Rocket (4:08)
09 - The Right One (4:24)
10 - On The Move (3:32)
11 - Skyline (2:37)
12 - Circular Motions (3:37)

Diefenbach @ Base
Diefenbach @ Amazon

Diefenbach-Glorious Vid @ YouTube

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Efterklang - Tripper ( ' 04 * 87mb)

Efterklang (the Danish word for reverberation) is a post-rock group formed on January 2001 in the Danish capital, Copenhagen. The group consists of five core members and a sixth member who makes films for their songs. When performing live, these six members are also joined by violinist Helianne Blais and trombonist Niklas Antonson. They have released albums on the British/American record label The Leaf Label, but also have their own record label called Rumraket (the Danish word for space rocket). Efterklang, an extended ensemble from Copenhagen, who have produced some of the most lush and exquisite music in recent years. Uniting electronics with acoustic instrumentation, anchoring them to a central pulse and weaving a delicately incomprehensible voice across the landscape, as a mournful choir and sympathetic strings illustrates and colours in a textual manner, is the principal shape to their sound.

Released in 2003 the Springer EP is a striking introduction, with patiently balanced male/female vocals against contemplative displays of tension and surface. Tripper, originally released in 2004, continues this symphonic approach with an intelligent and effective use of drama and silence, bridging the vast spaces with whispered voices and intricate flittering electronic glitches. There's nothing erroneous about creating such beautifully sensual work and Efterklang are unafraid to offer us moments of absolute bliss in a time of unrest. On record and live, they are a seductive and essential force. Close your eyes for an instant and breathe, and relish that moment.

A new 5-track mini-album, entitled 'Under Giant Trees', which will be released in spring 2007 in strictly limited quantities and in deluxe packaging. Efterklang's second full album is currently scheduled for autumn 2007.

01 - Foetus (3:10)
02 - Swarming (6:32)
03 - Step Aside (4:38)
04 - Prey And Predator (6:26)
05 - Collecting Shields (5:57)
06 - Doppelgänger (6:40)
07 - Tortuous Tracks (3:39)
08 - Monopolist (6:57)
09 - Chapter 6 (6:37)
10 - Step Aside (Tobias Hellkvist-Efterklanglabel)

Efterklang @ Base
Efterklang @ MySpace
Efterklang Mailorder
Efterklang's label

Efterklang Vids Page @ You Tube

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Sort Sol - Under en Sort Sol (Black Sun) ( ' 80 - 60mb)

Sort Sol was formed in Copenhagen, 1977. The original lineup consisted of: Steen Jørgensen (vocal), Peter Peter Schneidermann (guitar), Knud Odde (bass guitar), Thomas Ortved (drums). They released their first record Minutes to go February 1979 and it is considered the first Danish punk album. They went on to release Under En Sort Sol in 1980, a more experimental album, influenced in part by Joy Division, Wire, Pere Ubu and Television.

In 1981 the group released their first single under the name Sort Sol, "Marble Station" (b/w Misguided) was only released in England on the record label 4AD. In March. 1983 saw the release of the album Dagger & Guitar, featuring punk idol Lydia Lunch. In 1985 Lars Top-Galia(guitar) joined the group, and the line-up was not to change again until 1996, when Peter Peter left due to arguments within the band, partly owing to artistic differences. In 1988 they made the album "Everything that rises must converge" which has been described as the their artistic breakthrough. The album consists of 10 slowpaced tracks that rely heavily on the talented deep voice of Steen Jørgensen. In 1991 " Flow my Firetear" , was the first of their records reaching a broad audience. Sort Sol reached their peak popularity three years later with Glamourpuss which sold 100.000 records in Denmark. Internationally famous artists who have performed and/or recorded with the group include William S. Burroughs, Lydia Lunch, Link Wray and The Jordanaires.

01 - Repeature (3.10)
02 - Ice-Age For A While (3.25)
03 - Walking On Red (4.25)
04 - Conflict (2.15)
05 - Roller Ball (4.30)
06 - Marble Station (4.40)
07 - Misguided (4.15)
08 - Eveningsong (9.10)

Sort Sol @ Base
Sort Sol - Let your fingers do the walking Hultsfred @ YouTube 1994

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Under Byen - Det er mig der holder træerne sammen (02 ^ 92 mb)
Under Byen is an eight piece band that mix the gentle with the raw. Reigning from Denmark's second-largest city, Århus, they produce their own unorthodox interpretation of rock music.Their qualities especially become evident at their spellbinding live shows where they create a symbiosis between elven fairytale fragility and massive rock energy. Sometimes soft as the wind, other times sharp as a rock. The intimate versus the extrovert. It is in this space that their musical magic emerges. Under Byen seem most at ease walking on thin ice - believing that their talent will keep them above water. And it does.

Under Byen (which is Danish for "Below The City") don't use guitars. Instead their soundscape is dominated by piano, cello, violin, electrically distorted saw, organ, drums and percussion - to great effect. A somewhat different vein of rock (or pop) spiced up with jazzy, folky and classical elements. This is a band to be heard, simply because they defy satisfactory explanation. Music speaks , awesome performance Under Byen- Legesag, live if that doesn't convince than no words of mine will.

The Danish lyrics are an important part of Under Byen, but the sound of the vocals alone will give the listener at hint of their poetic universe. When senior editor at Rolling Stone, David Fricke, experienced the band live in Denmark in 2002 he said: "Under Byen were fantastic. Of course I didn't understand a word of the lyrics - but that didn't matter at all. Luckily there's this page that offers Under Byen lyrics in english .

The 1999 debut album "Kyst" immediately impressed the music critics, who applauded the band for creating their own style and tone. The second album "Det er mig der holder træerne sammen" (2002) was equally praised and has grown to become a hallmark for the band and helped reach a wider audience in Denmark and elsewhere. In 2004 it was re-released outside Denmark. In 2006 Under Byen released their third album "Samme Stof Som Stof " ( Same Fabric As Fabric)

Far from being a mainstream act Under Byen has nevertheless attracted a growing devoted fanbase following the release of their albums extensive touring and intense live shows. The first 3 weeks of march they will tour US and Canada, check for dates and places at their website.

1 - Det Er Mig Der Holder Træerne Sammen (3:33)
     (It is me who keeps the trees together)
2 - Plantage (4:14)
3 - Mission (5:07)
4 - Ride (2:46)
5 - Byen Driver (The City Is Floating)(4:11)
6 - Batteri Generator (4:31)
7 - Legesag (Plaything / Toy) (6:13)
8 - Lenin (2:29)
9 - Om Vinteren ( In the winter) (12:08)

Under Byen @ Base
Under Byen @ Amazon.de

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Kashmir - No Balance Palace ( ' 05 * 71mb)

In 1991 Kasper, Mads & Asger met each other on Kastanievejens Efterskole. Here they founded the band Nirvana, where they played heavy blues. As the other Nirvana grew in popularity, the band was aware that they had to change name - they changed it to Kashmir, named after a song by one of their favourite bands, Led Zeppelin. In 1994 Kashmir got their first record deal, on the new-formed record label Start, where their first album, Travelogue, was released. Later on, Kashmir signed a contract with Sony Denmark. Cruzential, album -- 1996, The Good Life, (1999) Zitilites (2003 ), Rocket Brothers, a doc. DVD (2004), The Aftermath a live concert DVD/CD ( 2005) fall 2005 saw the release of No Balance Palace.

Upon the release of Zitilites (city lights) the band was lauded with Danish Grammies. The rest of Europe, Australia, Japan and other territories embraced Kashmir as a band who could play an uncompromising form of cerebral rock music: The Music is nothing short of brilliant ... (Sunday Herald Sun, Melbourne) . Kasmir – Mads Tunebjerg (bass), Asger Techau (drums), Henrik Lindstrand (keyboards, guitar) and Kasper Eistrup (vocals, guitar) – have always sought a sound that didn’t match the material they’d recorded previously; the result has been five very different albums. As for No Balance Palace "We wanted to get the wild energy out of our systems. We became inspired after observing how 20- and 30-somethings pull out all the stops when they’re out at night. The hedonistic night life is a kind of No Balance Palace. So, the album was made with very aggressive energy, on a kind of self-destructive note,” Kasper says, and concludes: “It’s all about debauchery, turpitude, depravity, hedonism.”

01 - Kalifornia (5:26)
02 - Jewel Drop (4:20)
03 - The Cynic Voc.David Bowie (4:23)
04 - Ophelia (3:56)
05 - Diana Ross (0:31)
06 - The Curse Of Being A Girl (3:39)
07 - She's Made Of Chalk (5:06)
08 - Ether (5:21)
09 - Snowman (3:14)
10 - Black Building (Voice Lou Reed (1:58)
11 - No Balance Palace (8:03)

Kashmir @ Base
Kasmir @ Amazon

The Cynic vid @ YouTube
She's Made of Chalk @ YouTube

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* All downloads are in * ogg-7 (224k) or ^ ogg-9(320k), artwork is included , if in need get the nifty ogg encoder/decoder here !

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