This is my favorite LP of 2008. And not only because Runhild Gammelsæter has a PhD in Biology as I have, and is (was?) on topics not far from mine. And not only because she is one of the more charismatic and impressive female doomster, a sort of viking woman that came from her cold land (she's from Norway) to become the leading voice of Thorr's Hammer with Greg Anderson and Stephen O'Malley 13 years ago. No, but because her first (and last since there has been none since this one) solo album is one of the most powerful, strange, complex, biological and visceral musical piece never released in musical history. Honestly, this is not an LP to be listened to anytime anyplace, but this is an aural experience that will deeply move you if you are ready for extreme sensation and open to any unknown exploration of the dark nucleus of our most private fears. Yes, this is the album that seems to follow "Gog & Magog" from Peter Hammill's In Camera in 1974. Nothing here of the sometimes ridiculous doom folklore that I indulge to find interesting even if I am aware that it's quite naive and rudimentary. Runhild introduces us in the mud of the life cycle as painted it one century ago Gustave Moreau. Impossible to describe this music (especially when you're not a fluent English writer like me). All I can say is that I promise that you will find in this album things you are not used to find elsewhere. "Do you believe me?" would say Alex Harvey. Try it here.
Here's below a picture on stage I found on the net but I don't know if it was for a solo or a Khlyst concert, the group she forms with James Plotkin and Tim Wyskida.
Some female voices seem to talk to deep and untouched parts of our soul. These voices are not the sames for each of us. For me, only Billie Holiday, Melanie Safka and Mandy Morton have such a voice. But now, there is Lal Waterson. I wonder how I can have ignored her so long. It is true than when the 2 albums she released in the nineties were issued, I was not very curious of what happened in the folk area but I would have been touched by her grace even there. Then she died. Very soon after the second one. In 1998. God, what a waste. Thanks to the Unthanks for their cover of "At First She Starts" on their last LP (here). This made me listen to the original one, and my heart broke. Lal Waterson had a voice that shared some common points with the Melanie's one. But there is more despair and bitterness in it. Yes, she could be considered on a mid-point between Melanie and Billie Holiday. This fake single is only to provide an opportunity for the visitor of this blog to taste this voice and knows if his or her soul is touched as is mine. And you know I like to create virtual sleeves for fake records. So it allows me to satisfy my vice. But if you love it, you can find the album on several blogs such as the excellent "misha4music" here. And afterwards, do as I did: buy the album, I'm sure the money will be important for those who try to make her music lives since she died. One more thing. Lal Waterson composed her songs and here it must be said that she is a really great composer, with the same way to treat a melody than Robert Wyatt or Paddy McAlloon to my ears. Last, as Melanie, the wonderfully delicate guitar work behind her is from her own son, Oliver Knight. The mother & son love can provide really gorgeous records. (such was Crazy Love in 2002 for Melanie). The 2 songs I extracted from the LP to create this single are simply marvellous. I can't say there have been many as these in the past. Enjoy your soul here.
At First She Starts. First she starts and then she's startled.I see that light in her eyes. Didn't you realise you were a bird,At dawn when you woke with air in your throat. So far doe-ray-me. Sing to me loudly,Serenade me, Mess with the melody. Light and shade. All my eyes can see. Oh but you are the phrase at the end of the bar, a long and high refrain. Hanging around for the choir to strike sound, So's you can holler your joy and your pain
Flight Of The Pelican. We who dreamed young and were silent this autumn.In the last throws of an upstart old crow. Saw the flight of the pelican. Speak to me words don't give no fancy meanings, I never knew, I never knew, I never knew I was needing
We who dreamed young and were silent this autumn. I need the love peace brings. I need to feel easy in my need. I need to feel naturally greedy. I need the space for my feet. I need to feel safe while I sleep. I need the love peace brings and then I've no need. We who dreamed young and were silent this autumn. Your children's children's rights have gone.