Nordic Music Central Viking Hero

Introducing Cisser Mæhl (Denmark) – Menneskeaftryk (track from debut album Innemuseum [Indoor Museum])

Denmark in particular is noted for the haunting music used in the many Nordic Noir TV series, whether or not that music originates from Scandinavia or not. And this sample track, ‘Menneskeaftryk’, from Cisser Mæhl’s debut album ‘Innemuseum’ is decidedly evocative.

Innemuseum’ which translates as ‘Indoor Museum’, and a fictitious word she might have made up, will be released on 3rd March, on the Berlin based label Sonic Pieces, and contains 10 compositions that she’s composed, recorded and produced.

The back story to the album is that she now lives in Oslo and during 2019 was working in a mountain lodge in central Norway.

In her spare time she recorded animals, rivers, plants, stones and mountains. Now there’s a thing. Animals and rushing rivers I get, but mountains, plants and stones? That requires a deft touch, for sure!

Later, when she moved to Oslo, she met Norwegian artist Jenny Hval, who became an inspiration after she started taking solo classes with her. I’m beginning to see where this could be going. I’ve watched Jenny Hval perform a couple of times and, well let’s just say she works at the cutting edge…

And Ms Hval was the conduit for Cisser to meet producer Lasse Marhaug and for them to work together, putting the final touches on the album, which was complete by the time she returned to Oslo (she’s since gone back).

‘Innemuseum’ refers to both “the dark months in Oslo” (by which I think she means the time of year and weather, not how scary it is) and a “retraction towards the inner self.” An inner museum thus represents music from within, both as a person and as in physical places. So she’s Inne-innemuseum if you like.

That sounds a little heavy but, well, let’s put it this way. I don’t know much about the experimental music scene in Denmark but Norway is full of it and Oslo is an ideal place to be to release it. I’ve lost count of the number of Norwegian artists we’ve featured from that particular line.

It is a very personal album therefore that could be the musical embodiment of Cisser herself. She sings in Danish throughout, in a close-mic’d manner like she´s right there in the room.

A week ago she released a single from the album called ‘Banegård’ but we’re going to focus on an earlier release, ‘Menneskeaftryk’, (‘Human Imprint’), partly because there is a video for it, made by Pauline Merrildgaard and we like videos. Especially those attached to sonically expressive music. (And Cisser has studied film composition, too).

Titles like Indoor Museum and Human Imprint suggest something quite surreal, and together the music and video for ‘Menneskeaftryk’ add up to just that as visually almost every angle of her body is examined in subdued lighting; it isn’t only her voice that is up close and person during this ‘imprint.’

The light, airy, chamber composition hangs mainly on acoustic instruments for the most part and there are a lot of them. As a multi-instrumentalist I guess she played most, perhaps all of them, including what sounds like a plucked violin (there is a photo on her website showing her playing a violin like a guitar). Towards the end what could be a synthesised violin plays it out, adding an extra and slightly eerie dimension to it.

Vocally, I can’t readily find anyone to compare her with directly. Perhaps Finland’s Stina Koistinen in her ‘Stinako’ persona is the closest.

It’s music for quiet thinkers and daydreamers. For those inclined to explore their own consciousness via the star gate opened by hers.

The mix is by the Norwegian Lasse Marhaug and the Master Production by the German Stephan Mathieu.

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