V/A, “Twenty Centuries of Stony Sleep”

March 3, 2011
By Bryon Hayes

For their one hundredth release, everyone’s favourite Norwegian record label has produced a compilation that includes both well-established artists from its roster (Alog, Supersilent, et al) and newer inductees, such as Puma and Jenny Hval. Rune Grammofon has long been known for investigating a number of different genres – jazz, folk, pop – tinged with a hint of Norwegian chilliness and an experimental edge. “Twenty Centuries of Stony Sleep” peers into each of these pigeonholes, focusing mainly on a palette filled with gentle tones. Notable exceptions are the more effervescent and noisy contributions from Alog, Stian Westerhus and Maja Ratke.

The somewhat humorous cover art, which depicts a textual recounting of sole Rune Grammofon designer Kim Hiorthøy’s creative thought process, is as stark as I imagine the Norwegian countryside to be. Musically, this compilation is far less austere – the subdued grace rendered by artists such as Supersilent and Puma may quite frankly be described as beauty incarnate. “Twenty Centuries of Stony Sleep” captures this beauty, putting it on display for all to hear.

Rune Grammofon

8/10

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