Hanne Hukkelberg – Blood From a Stone

January 01, 1970





Blood? Stone? Hanne Hukkelberg’s third album begins and ends
with air and water, as the Norwegian’s breathy, multi-tracked soprano flitters
through a soundscape of chimes, drones and whistles. The opening “Midnight
Sun Dream” and the final “Bygd Til By,” the longest song and the
only one sung in Hukkelberg’s native language, are quite lovely, but they make
the Cocteau Twins sound earthy by comparison. A whole album of such stuff would
risk musical anemia.


Similar vocal timbres appear in the other songs, but
tethered by almost-classic melodies and arrangements. Hukkelberg is known for
using sampled everyday percussive sounds rather than conventional drums, and these
tunes clatter and clank in pleasingly unusual ways. What gives Blood from a Stone its grooves are
mostly bass and guitar, which are spare but often urgent. The riff-driven
“Bandy Riddles” recalls Young Marble Giants’ less fragmentary
numbers, and includes a refrain that’s utterly, if briefly, pop. The album’s
title track, built on a girl-group bassline, is even more outgoing, with a
chorus that could heard all the way to the mainstream.


Nothing else on the album is that direct, but even the
quieter songs have forceful elements. The mostly wispy “Salt of the
Earth” includes thumping passages, “No Mascara Tears” pits
delicate vocals against prickly guitar and “No One Hear But Yourself”
is part fairy tune, part surf instrumental. Vocally, Hukkelberg may be just
another ethereal Nordic warbler, but Blood
from a Stone
‘s unexpected use of guitar and percussion shows that she’s a
canny rock deconstructionist.


Standout Tracks: “Blood from a Stone,” “No Mascara Tears” MARK JENKINS




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