After a string of EPs, Norwegian musician Moddi releases his debut Floriography, a nine-track recording produced by Iceland's Bedroom Community composer Valgeir Sigurdsson (Bjork, CocoRosie). To those familiar with such production and compositions you'll know to expect a certain hybridity between traditional folk and experimental interjections.
Hailing from the small island of Senja, Moddi's ambient folk shuffles between tame poetic laments and proclamations wrought with emotion, coupled with an array of instruments from accordion and piano, to musical saw and cello. Opener 'Rubbles' highlights this style beautifully, with a weary accordion (borrowed from his mother, alongside a mandolin and guitar, when he first began his musical ventures) that echoes similar pains of the vocals, though in a politer manner, while Moddi yelps and rasps as if his voice might crack forever as he gasps "this air is too heavy to breathe".
It's a voice that isn't entirely easy to listen to, and yet becomes intriguing for this fact alone, harbouring an honesty in its haunting androgyny which at times, due to pronunciation finds infinitesimal inflections of Joanna Newsom, at others Conor Oberst. Too his observations are often suffocating in their emotional depth, at times you feel like taking a step back from the swell of instrumentation which correlates with the intensity of vocals. But again this is a beguiling darkness we become cloaked in, wanting to discover, submerge ourselves within.
In contrast there is something charmingly endearing about our Norwegian, who at only 23 has shown great capacity as a songsmith, singer and orchestrator of progressive folk balladry. The string compositions that run through Floriography are spellbinding, dancing intricately between the piano and brushed drums cocooning these stories, while tripping, static beats pitter patter in the background of 'Ardennes', juxtaposed a few tracks later against by the stilted accordion of 'Poetry'.
Moddi takes us to quaint lands in rickety boats, throws us down wells of despair and pulls us out again with redemptive, introspective songs, and a sound and voice impossible to ignore.