July 31, 2008

Friday Flashcard: I Got Something Better For You

Artist - Runhild Gammelsaeter
Title - Amplicon (limited to 750 copies)
Hometown - Norway
Label - Utech
Street Date - Out now

RIYL - The dark part of your brain that has yet to be explored, The Exorcist, A kitten with a whip, Khlyst, James Plotkin, Thor's Hammer, Sunno))), things that go bump in the night, possessed children, Ulver (mixed by Tore Ylvisaker of Ulver), Diamanda Galas, cell studies

The Hits - None in the traditional sense

Richter Magnitude - Strong (I understand this won't be for everyone no less the traditional metal fan)

Just by placing the title of this record under the microscope you will learn that Amplicon is a piece of DNA that has been synthesized using amplification techniques (amplification = an increase in the number of copies of a specific DNA fragment IE cloning / in vitro). In case you were wondering females have only a single amplicon and as a reminder DNA is the genetic building block to all living organisms. I am not sure if there has ever been a recording to coincide with Molecular biology and the evolution of life but Runhild's Amplicon might be a good place to start. I think we have a new genre of music on our hands : moli-core. Genet-al? (there is a good dirty pun in there somewhere too)

The music found here is a battle between the light and dark, good and evil, right and wrong, woman and child, life and death. We find two separate elements being synthesized into one which ties directly into the theme of Amplicon. There are stories here told in a multitude of voices, some spoken at varying speeds (slowed down or reversed -v- normal), some spat with a growl buried deep within her throat (ala Thor's Hammer), and some sung as if a child's voice was a stone skipping playfully across the surface of a body of water. Terror teeters towards a playful side, something I have never heard before, ever. The cycle of life is complex, filled with mystery, and is a delicate balance of beauty and decay. Runhild has taken these elements and applied / channeled it through her voice and atmospheric rumbles.

I think most of my blog followers know Runhild is one of my best friends so this is a difficult review for me. It is a challenge to write about this record and pretend I know nothing of her, her recording process, or her influences. I tried to approach this in the spirit of the professional side of Runhild, a scientist of cell physiology, and just write a report strictly on what I have before me. Amplicon is a group of songs with titles reflecting a passion for science and the interest in amplifying the invisible and the abstract. The only catch with a record like this is I am not sure when and where to listen to it. It is clearly a truly personal piece of work and listening to it is parallel to opening up Runhild's head and taking a poke around. Its fair to say that experience won't be for everyone but I find it to be an immensely fascinating experiment and a hauntingly pleasurable one.


  1. Totally sweet the Runhild came out with an album. She seems like an amazing lady. I consider the problem of reviewing friends' music a generally pleasant conundrum, since I'm lucky enough to truly love most of my friends' musical efforts. :)

  2. I looked at the album credits and one of the instruments on it is a "digital stethoscope". Needless to say, I am now greatly intrigued.