Blog Archive

Posts, photos, podcasts and videos (2005-2020)

Ane Brun “Duets” Review

Published in Blog Archive, Culture Bully. Tags: , .

A tremendous thing happened to me while listening to this album. The realization of just how dense I truly am popped out at me as it finally occurred to me that Ane Brun is a folk singer. I hadn’t really considered this too much as I usually tend to think of Guthrie, Seeger and Baez when I think of folk. However something changed that; in reference to Brun’s US debut, A Temporary Dive, “The US debut by this winsome, warbling Norwegian suggests the oddball folk movement of US acts like Banhart and Joanna Newsom is resonating.” This suggestion from the May 4, 2006 edition of Rolling Stone changed my entire view of Brun and her music (but not really). Instead of my previous thoughts that “this album (A Temporary Dive) is a beautifully expressive warp of emotion, stressing not merely abstract love but the despair and all that follows,” I can now see that she’s a mere neo-folkie. Again – maybe, maybe not.

Duets takes a look at a year’s worth of collaboration between Brun and a vast list of her compadres. This is a perfect outlet for such a body of work as I see Brun as a collaborative artist in the truest form of the term. After studying her songs she comes across as something of a sponge, not simply regurgitating others’ influences, but rather her music has a unique quality which sensibly reflects those influences in its own way. With that, her voice has a tendency of finding a home in a variety of differing sounds and in a wide variety of relationships.

The depth of the collaborations on this album is outstanding. The Tiny’s Ellekari Larsson’s “Across The Bridge” is a slow, simple, harmony driven undertaking that lends itself as evidence that Brun does some of her best work with others. Brun adds light overtones to Madrugada’s Sivert Høyem’s overwhelmingly powerful voice in “Lift Me,” another key example of her expansive capabilities. A Temporary Dive’s “Rubber Soul” and “Song No. 6” offer key insights into Brun’s songwriting style, which again (without sounding ultra-repetitive) lends itself greatly to collaboration. Duets serves as a snapshot of what’s possible when Brun lends herself to mesh with the abilities of others, but for a more complete look at her work I would highly suggest turning to A Temporary Dive.