Baltinget,
Classic
(GO' Danish, 2004)

Baltinget is a more traditionally based band than fellow Danes Instinkt (reviewed recently here on Rambles.NET) and will be particularly enjoyed by folk purists. Both Jesper Vinther Peterson's accordion and Tove de Fries's fiddle are at the heart of the band's orthodox sound, whereas Klaus Ravnsborg's guitar, Peter Marquard Sejerson's double bass and Jesper Falch's percussion offer a more contemporary feel at times.

The tension between these two aspects of the band's music tends to be a creative one although, ultimately, it is the more conformist wing that wins out, which is not always advantageous to the overall sound.

All but one number are adaptations of traditional tunes. "Reventlow Jigs" opens the album with characteristically jaunty and folky accordion, but with guitar and percussion offering more of an edge. Several numbers are slower-paced formal dances, which are less exciting than other tunes with more variation. Fiddle and guitar combine particularly well throughout the album -- for example on numbers like "Perrevals/Reel i D" and "Mazurka efter A. Andersen." These two instruments create a more pleasing effect overall than the sometimes over-dominant accordion. Having said that, "Den store tur" is one tune in which accordion and fiddle work very well together, especially when the double bass is added, too.

One of the highlights is "Berggren reels," in which a second half really packs a punch with its upbeat rhythm. In the closing number, "Taprisor," there is a sense through the guitar and percussion that a more modern sound is straining to be set free. I would have liked to hear more in the vein of "Falken," an original composition by Ravnsborg, with its beautiful guitar and percussion opening combined with lyrical accordion playing and a plaintive double bass creating a serene ambience. Ultimately, it is this type of serenity that characterizes what is best about this album.

- Rambles
written by Andy Jurgis
published 22 January 2005

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