Trallskogen is a project founded by Swedish-German singer Annika Jonsson with the fundamental vision to cross Scandinavian folklore with jazz music. The lyrical concept follows the old tradition of Swedish trall singers to create a unique atmosphere of natural experience and mythology.
Musically, the vocal performance is emphasized by the nature of this whole endeavor, and it is certainly impressive in its own right. Annika Jonsson, a studied professional jazz vocalist, doesn′t use the spotlight to aimlessly show off her skill, but always works for each individual song, at times leading with simply beautiful, enchanting melodies that will stay with you from the first listen, and at times finding a niche within the instrumental frame to accentuate the music and giving it space to create a particular mood the piece might call for.
Speaking of instrumentation: the „backing band“ is much more than what the word implies. The line-up consists of drums, double bass, (clean) electric guitar and piano, which all add crucial contributions to this avantgardistic mix of styles and sounds. There are solo parts all over the place and there′s hardly a dull moment in any of the musician′s backing parts, without stooping to an exercise in technical proficiency. They successfully tread the fine line of comprehensible musicianship that is enjoyable for laymen and music nerd alike.
One alleged drawback to some in the songwriting, a deliberate lack of obvious stylistic and structural coherence, is arguably one of the album′s biggest strengths. You never know what will happen next, and it′s never just unpredictability for the hell of it, but each composition builds its own little universe and makes perfect sense therein. Some songs only unfold when you′re in sync with their special vibe, until the whole thing solowly reveals itself once you let go of whatever expectations you had coming in.
In metal genre terms, „Trollskogen“ is definitely worth a listen for fans of STORM and Kari Rueslåtten, or folksy early Ulver, and might in some sense even be relatable to Myrkur – if Myrkur had any musical substance to speak of. In any case, this comes with the highest recommendations to all truly open-minded fans of independent and progressive, original music in general.