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Rebekka Karijord – “Mother Tongue” Review

Rebekka Karijord

Rebekka’s music has often been quite sparse and minimalist but her powerful voice and ability to create a sombre and intimate atmosphere has always made her music feel bigger than the sum of its parts. Never has that been more true than with her new album “Mother Tongue” which focuses of the most primal of instruments – the human voice.

The groundwork for the album is laid with opener “Morula” where gentle piano and dramatic percussion cradle a collage of voices being used in place of keyboard synths, bass guitars and melodic accents. Over it, Karijord will still use relatively simple keyboard sounds and other instruments but it’s always to support the voice and elevate her main vocal’s message to the fore. It’s quite daring because she is busy displaying all kinds of vocal talents and as its so central to the album, it gives the entire thing a femininity and a sense of vulnerability too. “Waimanalo” also showcases the cold nature of the album. There is a Nordic charm to everything here with dramatic flurries, carefully constructed melodies than ebb and flow and the instrumentation always directs me towards the snow. I love Rebekka’s voice too. She has such a powerful boom and here she is calling home in an organic and natural way. Natural is something that reappears without the album as traditional primal vocals lead the way with “I Will Follow You Into the Wild”.

If there was a proper single on the album, it would be “The Orbit” which harks back to her previous albums’ style and is cinematic organic pop which is steeped in vocal layers behind melodies a plenty. Whilst the album is feminine, it’s still a dark one as “Your Name” broods in its jazzy understated tingles. It absolutely explodes into a space odyssey in the final sections though as organ, keyboard and voice take flight. Many of the themes of her music revolve around age and generational things and this track sonically feels like the transition between one plain and the next. “Six Careful Hands” is a gorgeous track that is so quiet and is written definitely by a new mother as she experiences the birth of her child. It’s understated touch of class and beauty is one to melt the heart. Paired with the equally beautiful “Home” they make the heart piece of the album.

“Stones” has a real groove to it as the bass, percussion and voice all bounce off each other to perfection. The track uses interesting percussion and noises over a singular bass riff but it never gets hold as Rebekka becomes more freeform vocally. It fits the album’s theme perfectly. “Statistics” returns to the quiet folk tinged organic music of the quiet night before title track “Mother Tongue” cradles us to sleep with a piano and vocal ballad. it grows from hushed voices to a religious climax union of instrument and voice. It’s such a huge climax you’d be forgiven that’s the end of the album but curiously “Mausoleum” ends the album. It’s a disparate collection of different female vocalists initially singing in their own styles and then joining together in a beautiful siren-like call to recall times gone by and the things yet to happen. It’s lovely but with a hint of creepiness to it too as they all collectively sing “Their mothers, and their mothers and their mother’s – I salute thee” before breaking off into their own tongues again. It’s a profound statement of motherhood, generational respect and individuality without compromising being an amazing song – and album.

Undoubtedly an album that requires attention and multiple listens, this is my first must buy album of 2017. Lovely to listen to, superb for those whom want to explore the world within it – this is a true singer songwriters album.

Recommended Track : Six Careful Hands

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