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Havnatt : Havdøgn

The debut EP by Havnatt, a project consisting of Omit members, is a very promising and beautiful Dark Folk / Neofolk release.

Havnatt is a new Neofolk band from Norway, and it is of interest for us because both members are also part of the Doom band Omit whose debut album made a huge impression on the scene last year. Tom Simonsen creates the backbone of the songs with his delicate acoustic guitar arrangements, while Cecilie Langlie (also known from Skumring, among others) contributes her ethereal voice. These two elements are all they need to create an EP’s worth of magnificent, enchanting music. Neither violins nor sampled wind and rain are needed, neither Eddic quotations nor Tolkien references – the two Norwegians avoid any such genre stereotypes. Instead, they resort to minimalism and thereby take the genre back to its very essence – authentic and intimate.

There is a good reason why I described Langlie’s voice as ethereal: The vocals are very dominant in the mix and so laden with reverb that bands from the Ethereal movement come to mind – think of Autumn’s Grey Solace without the Shoegaze-like guitar soundscapes. This particular sound makes for a highly enjoyable atmosphere and also marks a difference from most other Dark Folk / Neofolk acts. On the other hand, the guitars are very typical of the genre, but arranged with care in order to get the best effect out of the stylistic approach which is limited by nature. Most of the time, two different guitar lines complement each other, cleverly assigned to the left and right stereo channels to add depth to the sound. Simonsen uses fingerpicking exclusively, which goes well with the calm and relaxed feel of the music. All in all, every detail seems well thought out on Havdøgn.

It is worth noting that all texts are sung in Norwegian. Havnatt are using works by the author Tormod Skagestad who – in true Norwegian fashion – wrote in his native dialect, as far as I can tell. Everyone will agree that the choice of language always affects the atmosphere of a piece of music. In this case, it definitely would not have been the same if the lyrics had been in English – I’d even claim that it would not have worked.

If you enjoy acts such as Empyrium, Vàli or Orplid, you cannot go wrong with this EP (as long as you do not mind the vocal style, of course). Lovers of Ethereal, Dreampop and related styles might also find this enjoyable. Judging from the quality of their debut output, Havnatt certainly are a band to keep an eye on!

Reviewer's rating: 9/10


Tracklist :
1. Myrulla
2. Havnatt
3. Prammen
4. Han som skyggar meg
5. Jernbaneskinnur søv gjennom landet

Duration : Approx. 29 minutes

Visit the Havnatt bandpage.

Reviewed on 2012-02-28 by Dominik Sonders
A Dream Of Poe - The Wraith Uncrowned
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