We've been asked to drop some knowledge on Danish 'underground' acts, so here are some outtakes of what’s happening right now within the borders of tiny little Denmark. Of course we could go on with many more, but there had to be some sort of limit, which leaves out a lot of other truly good groups.
Hope you will take your time to listen to some of these extraordinary bands.
You can visit Pinkunoizu by heading to pinkunoizu.com
Selvhenter is a most unique Danish band playing a delicate sort of primal noise music with loose connotations to free jazz and old school heavy metal. They sound like a liberation army of cosmic war machines zooming in and out of macro and micro dimensions, charging the land you stand on. Armed with amplified violin, saxophone and trombone + 2 drum sets, the quintet is one of the absolute most blasting live bands in Denmark. Our very own Jaleh Negari plays one of the two drum sets. They have a record coming out on their own label Eget Vaerelse later this spring.
Unfolding like cubistic flowers Valby Vokalgruppe’s choir music is highly pulsating and strangely captivating. Composer Anja Jacobsen, who plays the other drum set in Selvhenter, has written amazing stuff for the 4 singers of the group. Sometimes it sounds like pygmy singing, sometimes like woodwinds, sometimes just like a ghostly wind blowing. Recently they have added 4 keyboards to their setup, which adds complex layers of sinus like voices and grimy hand held beats. Valby Vokalgruppe has a ritualistic core in their music that really does it for me.
Frisk Frugt is a solo project by Danish musician and composer Anders Lauge Meldgaard of the collective Yoyooyoy. In my opinion this is by far some of the most intriguing music to have come out of Denmark in a long time. Moving effortlessly from post-minimalism, to West African blues and dance music, to Danish schlager to, dissonant drone music, to Coleman/Coltrane-like mutant jazz (and what have you (not)) this guy has an open-minded take on music that’s rare to find in Denmark.
Jeppe of Pinkunoizu also plays in this ever-groovy rock duo with Silas Tinglef on the drums. If you like psychedelic, blatant, catchy, and yet strange sloppy funk garage like rock music, you should buy their records. Latest is the 2nd of 3 EPs, ‘Mountain Of Pounding Pop’. Most certainly the best rock band in Denmark.
Brand new Danish band Hanuman 5 is bringing out sounds from the crucible of front man Kristian Haarloev’s inventive fantasy. On the wings of the wide reaches of Hanuman 5, you will find an indefinable logic not unlike the one Akron/Family, Frank Zappa and other montage orientated groups nurture. The folklore of the American and African continents is running as an undercurrent though the lyrical complexity of Haarloev’s McCartney-like songwriting. Hanuman 5 have just released their debut ‘Ethero’ on London based label Safety First Records.
I just heard this record not long ago in a bar in Copenhagen, and I was quite drawn to it. Papir is like a swarming locust bashing its wings endlessly. They pretty much lean on the repetitive methods of German kraut band Neu!, but also have minor hints at the math- and post rock of the 90s cobbled with a more chaotic and mind expanding energy.
Sad Lovers has a beautiful elusive sound. Highly fragile with lyrics dealing with the most intimate elements of the love life of the actual 2x2 lovers of the group. In a way this band is another example of Danish conglomerate-music, with nods to Julie Cruise, Robert Wyatt, Scott Walker, Yoko Ono etc. But there is a very distinctive beauty in the tension between the lo-fi drum machines and keys and the lush arrangements with highly progressive chord sequences, that makes Sad Lovers inhabit a space of their own. I am mixing the forth-coming record with Oliver Hoiness of the band right now, and we can expect their second release later on in 2012.
Rolf Hansen is the man behind this gorgeously uplifting folk-project Ill Tempo Gigante. Rolf has played a great deal of concerts alone with a looper and his jazz master, but is now playing with Jakob of Pinkunoizu in a trio constellation. The elegancy of Rolfs songwriting and guitar playing reminds me of the finer Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy moments, of Tim Buckley and of Nick Drake.
Also out on Safety First Records is the Danish/British band Klak Tik, centered around songwriter Soren Bonke (living in London). Klak Tik holds some of the same melodic beauty as Ill Tempo, but has a more grand expression counting strings, brass and woodwinds, most of it actually recorded by the multi-instrumentalist main man. The textural arrangements of the music are really appealing and with great melancholic depth. Check them out, and beware, because they are to unleash their second album some time during summer this year.
Thulebasen might be well known to some, as they are rapidly touring the world. Here we have a more established experimental rock band from Denmark. Thulebasen has a Residents-like surrealism to their tunes with a really inventive way of putting together hard rock riffs, sounding as if they have been roaming some interstellar sonic world for eons.
Progressive producer and rapper Jake Juke constantly sheds essential light on the political downfall of the western world, evading conventional systems of any kind. Being a former member of the most important Danish hip hop collective in recent years, Sort Stue (R.I.P.), Jake Juke is one of the absolute greatest forces of Danish rap. Be sure to check out the brilliant music of Sort Stue as well. It’s all there on the website.
Like Jake Juke, Andreas Führer is equally driven by revolutionary intentions. As an active figure in musical “situationist” happenings, Führer embraces the constant movement as a crucial condition for progressive music as a social changeable tool. He recently released his album ‘Obligatorisk Undervisning’ which is a magnificent rhizomatic album, incorporating the political philosophy of Gilles Deleuze in various forms. For me a very inspirational LP.
Albertslund Terrorkorps is a more extreme provocative music/art project from the Copenhagen underground. Displaying the horrors of the right wing propaganda, Albertslund Terrorkorps mashes up the mass media, creating hyperactive digital terror music (and videos).
Gohst is Kasper Vang’s solo ambient project. Gohst produces a sort of icy generative computer music with Vang as a wizard conducter of the machines. The music is light and scenic in all its dissonant spatial mystification. Micro-tonality is one Gohst’s foremost realms of experimentation.
This project is all about ambiguous lyrics in a field of ironic priceless tragedy, coining the weird failed beings of the modern world, with an almost Hitchcock-like take on Freudian psychology. Cobble that with kitsch keyboards and stumbling beats, you’ll have Skammens Vogn.
We regularly play with Nils Gröndahl when playing live with Pinkunoizu. He is an absolute genius at creating alien sonic textures with his amplified violin and bowed saw. This is a link to his old release, but I know that he is working on his next one, and the few bits I’ve heard sound absolutely breathtaking. Nils is btw. a longtime member of the acclaimed Danish band Under Byen.Mellemblond
This band is an invigorating sort of dark folk rock within a Danish tradition. Kristoffer Muncks lyrics are cool and graceful and he is formidable guitarist as well.
60s inspired pop music comprising Beatles, Damon Albarn and Scot Walker in a nice horizontal flow with flavours of the German ‘kosmiche musik’ from the 70s. Jeppe also works his guitar magic for the 4 guys for the time being.
Woody groovy poppy funky music with the same staff playing in 4 Guys From The Future. OYFH is elastic and makes your body all wobbly and warm inside.
Another project from the hands of Frisk Frugt’s Anders Lauge Meldgaard. The name (almost) says it all. The electric guitar is being examined in varying constellations of six guitarists. I have been playing with this group a couple of times and I am now mixing the first release with Anders.