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Maja SK Ratkje: Sult review | John Lewis's contemporary CD of the month

(Rune Grammofon)
Ratkje’s upcycled pump organ, with added tubes, strings and percussion – is a fascinating instrument to decipher her literary inspiration

Norwegian composer Maja SK Ratkje has immersed herself in various eccentric projects over the years – free improv outfits, performance art installations, a concerto for electric guitar, and even a 2002 album entirely comprised of breaths, gasps, squeaks, grunts, growls and tongue clicks that had been digitally manipulated. Her latest project Sult (Norwegian for “hunger”) was inspired by Knut Hamsun’s 1890 novel of the same name and uses music that she initially composed for a Norwegian National Ballet production. To add a further layer of complexity, the entire album is performed on an instrument that she built herself: Ratkje has taken an old-fashioned pump organ, powered by foot pedals, and added PVC tubes, wind machines, bass strings, resin threads and glass percussion – to the point that it now resembles some crazed Heath Robinson contraption.

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Source: The Guardian – Maja SK Ratkje: Sult review | John Lewis's contemporary CD of the month

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