Image by Kobie Nel
When you first encounter the meditative notes of a wooden recorder singing through the buzzing electronics on Vilde Tuv’s latest album Melting Songs, you’ll likely experience a moment of bewilderment followed quickly by stunning clarity. And while the flute and woodwind instrumentation is not entirely unfamiliar to electronic music (think the tropical house explosion), it is the way the Norwegian composer, songwriter and producer uses them here that gives Melting Songs its unique aura of fantasy. Tuv takes direct inspiration from the wooden recorder, crafting her music around its sound and “once upon a time” sentiment. Across an intriguing collection of songs, she blends the sound of her muse with sounds from vastly different musical spectrums, concocting a whimsical and at times enlightening experience.
Aesthetically, the album pulls synth lines and patterns from 00’s trance and rave but forgoes setting these familiar rushes against any sort of typical percussion. Instead, it’s set against tranquil compositions of nature sounds and meditative melodies sung by the wooden recorder. Little Crack opens the album with a sunny, epiphanic statement that swells into the ruminative, cascading synth chords of the title track. Here, the recorder emerges as a melodic guide into Tuv’s enchanted pastiche. It’s a juxtaposition that should be perplexing, but proves deeply mesmerising and entirely sound in its theory.
The result of Tuv’s application of recognisable dance motifs is a recontextualisation of these in astonishing new ways. On Tenk At Det Fins, the naughty yowl of a hoover synth is placed over a piano recital that recalls the kind of deep relaxation music you might encounter at a wellness spa. On the spellbinding Change The Weather, stabs and a high riff taken from the iconic refrains of eurotrance and DJ Alice transform into a scattered shower of rain when the roar of a thunderstorm crashes in beneath. Percussion is scarce, though a stomping beat shows up on the darker sounding Grotten, a necessary shift in tone further into the album.
Mostly Melting Songs is full of organic atmospherics, hinting towards an inspiration from the natural peculiarities of Tuv’s native landscape and the fairy creatures of its subsequently rich lore. These roots of Scandinavian mythicism twisting at its core gives Melting Songs a folky undertone. The tone of the album calls to mind storybook quests and fairytale journeys except, instead of enchanted forests and magic brooks, the setting here is a Y2K dance floor somewhere in cyberspace.
This aesthetic quality coupled with Tuv’s fusion of influences gives her music the youthful abandon of childhood make-believe, a playfulness that makes Melting Songs charming and refreshingly imaginative. Ultimately Melting Songs makes its oddness work in its favour, and proves itself as a unique and utterly captivating body of work for Tuv.
Melting Songs is released via Tuv’s label Posey and is available to download here. Listen to the title track below.