Reviews RCD2085

You might expect beady-eyed alertness and fierce discipline, and so it is - no drooling freak folkery from Spunk, in spite of their mushroom-styled album title. Their specialty is a kind of car-chase excitement combining acoustic instruments, most noticeably Grenager's foot-to-the-floor cello, with confidently acrobatic electronics. "Bipolarity" is a well sustained example: a buid-up where the cello sounds like running shoes hitting the pavement, then into a hectic race. "Eaten" has a funfair quality, tearing along in a ghost train, or maybe that squelching sound indicates we are tunneling through an intestine. Tafjord´s held notes on French horn open up orchestral vistas. The tension between sustained tones and racing impulse is very fine, creating an epic feel also found on the opener "Tremble" ... "
The Wire (UK)

This provovatively monikered, allfemale improvising quartet have been working together for over 12 years, but on this, their fourth studio album, they show they´re bang up to date with the further reaches of electro-acoustic, non-idiomatic improvisation. The sounds emanating here sound uncannily in tune with the UK psych-noise underground such as one might hear wafting out of a hipster dungeon in Brighton or Leeds. All the participants are highly educated musicians, choosing to throw off their training and approach their instruments with the playful experimentation of inquisitive children, rejecting any notion of virtuosity in favor of exploring sound as a physical phenomenon. Maja Ratkje´s Dadaist sound poetry adds a further layer of mischief, as she trills and scats and mutters in a pre-Babel language of her own making and the whole thing is wrapped up in subtle electronic throbs and soothing theremin moans. Taken as a whole, this sometimes silly-sounding session is actually worthy of some serious close listening.
Jazzwise (UK)

Spunk samtalar, men de är också expert på att lura öronen. Ofta är det omöjligt att identifiera ljudkällorna. På "Kantarell" - tror jag - går det lättare. Framför allt framträder Lene Grenagers cello starkare, klarare, mer i centrum av de musikiska linjerna. Inledande ”Tremble” är en vanvettigt spännande, pirrande öppning som byggs upp av statiska ljud av blåsinstrument och cello med inkilade, stötvisa detaljer som ger dynamisk contrast. “Mosegrudd” later bitvis som en acoustisk variant av norsk drone metal, men istället för att malande banka skiten ur musiken spritter det av stenhård, uncompromising samspelsglädje. Avslutande ”Eaten” är min favorit på skivan. Ett vibrerande Spunkmonster som rör sig lågmält och intensifies medan elektroniken ges mer utrymme att sprinkla stråk / blås / röst-salladen. Andersen's trumpet suckar Milestoner, Grenagers stråke hackar en spastisk rytm, Ratkje spökar med roasting, kanske rattar Tafjord live electronics. Det är i vart fall levande, experimental, fri musik av yppersta norska klass. Precis det album Rune Grammofon ska släppa.
Soundofmusic (SE)

När den norska kvartetten Spunk nu ger ut sitt fjärde album närmar sig gruppen det helt akustiska uttrycket. Lene Grenagers cello, Maja Ratkjes röst, Kristin Andersens trumpet / flöjt och Hild Sofie Tafjords valthorn får (nästan) klara sig utan elektronikens hjälp, och de gör det med bravur. Fenomenalt fångar kvartetten upp musikiska fragment och leder in the i stämningsfulla collection; de bygger på longden i Mosegrodd, styckar upp i Antisolar Point, nuddar i The Lake, smeker i Quadralogue. The bökar, puttrar, gnager, viskar, rör om. You will hear uttrycksfullt och koncentrerat men ändå så okonstlat. 6/6.
Svenska Dagbladet (SE)

To my own surprise, Cantarell (RCD 2085) is my first date with SPUNK. I knew Maja Ratkje and her electrified vocalization from the Ballads with John Hegre and the cellist Lene Grenager together with Hild Sofie Tafjord and her french horn from her now music quartet Lemur. But regarding Kristin Andersen's trumpet playing and the love of experimentation of this woman as such, my ears have so far been virgin, although this is her fourth studio album since its beginnings 12 years ago. Their chamber music sounds more like a laboratory than a good room, the instruments are exhausted to the last nuance with extended techniques, and there is also a lot of etcetera at play. The voice is just a noisy ingredient, a mostly intangible fourth, yes fifth element in the midst of strong electricity and radiation. If 'quadralogue' unexpectedly unplugged plinkplonkt, it is immediately out of the ordinary. All four have absorbed the horizon-breaking innovations of new music, Ratkje studied with Gubaidulina, Andriessen, K. Huber and Saariaho, Grenager with Xenakis and Ferneyhough. This was reflected in the courage for bruitistic sound painting, which clears up with tonality, well-groomed playing style and classic forms in favor of an unpredictable, over-complex sensuality that starts with all flat parameters, all rhythm, but is maximalist to the point of deafening trills at 'antisolar point' . As if inaudible forms of radiation could be heard, the perceptual apparatus is bombarded with showers of waves and particles, so much that in the end one calls it 'eaten', the angel hears singing. That you have to endure a few fog banks in between, trusting in the attraction of the eternally feminine and in lustful anticipation of rod blows, which are administered with the cello bow, should not be concealed. Loyalty is rewarded with 'mosegrodd' and 'eaten' sounds almost like Eden.
Bad Alchemy (DE)

This long-term quartet is in perfect balance at the interface of electronic and acoustic soundscapes on its fourth album. As a result, the origins of the sounds are incomprehensible and remain in the balance with all heavyweights .... Result: a bulky, offensive album that is lusty in its bulk.
Freestyle (AT)    (german)    (german)    (french)    (dutch)