Codes on a String

Koder På Snor - Valravn

Codes on a String
Photo by Spencer Imbrock on Unsplash

I honestly have no idea how Danish folk group, Valravn got into my music library, but I'm glad they did. Valravn's name is taken from Danish Folklore. The band themselves started off as an ensemble who specialised in medieval music but have since then expanded their audience and becoming a nice little folk band that makes some grand music. I enjoyed their album, Koder på snor and one of the highlights of that album for me is Kroppar.

Kroppar is track seven from the album, which was released in 2009. It picks up the intense build-up and medieval, artistic and experimental vibes from the other songs from the album, but this song is great to listen to on repeat and as a stand-alone. The song has an interesting fusion of folk, electronica and traditional music. The song includes traditional music mixed in with electronic music to make the song sound more intense.

It's probably a good song to meditate too and perform yoga on as I think it's the sort of song that can help you get lost into another world. The chorus chants make it sound really uplifting. The panpipes and string arrangement give the impression that I'm going through a trip through time.

The vocals on this track are also enchanting. Leading vocalist, Anna Katrin Egilstrøð has very charming vocals with a lot of quirky characteristics. Her vocals are quite similar to Björk, so their music could be easily compared to her work. The vocal styles and arrangements of Valravn, in general, are actually quite similar to some of Björk's work.

Kroppar would remind me of Björk's masterpiece, I Play Dead because of how energetic both choruses are and how brilliant they build up into something epic. Of course, the whole album is not as orchestral as Björk's song, I play dead, but if you take a listen to the song and the album, you will see those similarities between Björk and Anna's vocals. Some would probably call that a bad thing, but I think there should be more vocalists out there like Björk and Anna: they're both pretty fantastic and to be in the same league as Björk is a massive compliment from me.

As the song is not in English, it's pretty hard for me to give my thoughts on the lyrics. Fortunately, I managed to find the lyrics with English translation. I assumed the song was Danish, but Google translates detected Icelandic and the Lyrics Wiki where I found the translation and lyrics didn't say which language it was in. The lyrics could have also been Nordic. From the translations, it confirmed that the song was implying freedom, fallen bodies and rising again. I had a feeling that the folklore. Some things lost in translation there, but I don't think you need to understand the lyrics to be able to enjoy it.

I think the song is a masterpiece, but I guess as it's worlds away from the music that's considered radio-friendly and suitable for charts that it might not be everyone's sort of music. But on the other hand, it's lack of commercial value can be seen as a gift for those who are looking for something out of the ordinary or something that spells out freedom a lot like Björk. It's a really busy song and will be really hard to pull it off live.

My favourite thing about the song is how wonderfully everything compliments each other and works together. I was really pulled in the mixture of instruments and how artistic it all sounded together. They were some really successful experiments. I really love this song because it sounds so fresh and organic. I hoped that Valravn continue to make more outstanding songs and get a huger audience because I think they all deserve it. Sadly the band broke up in 2013, but I still think this is a fantastic track.

album reviews
Chloe Gilholy
Chloe Gilholy
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Chloe Gilholy

Chloe is a healthcare worker from Oxfordshire. She is the author of ten books including Drinking Poetry and Game of Mass Destruction.

See all posts by Chloe Gilholy