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Asgard - L'Hirondelle CD (album) cover

L'HIRONDELLE

Asgard

 

Prog Folk

2.48 | 8 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
3 stars Asgard's first album in no doubt harder to find than its successor, having never found (to my knowledge, anyway) a Cd re-issue. Asgard was still a trio when they recorded this almost trad-folk album, where the majority of tracks belong to the public domain and are part of the traditional repertoire of many folk artistes. But Asgard does actualise all this tracks while remaining fairly faithful to the original spirit of the songs. Not only is there a rock drums (when necessary), but the bass play is often enhancing the enthralling medieval ambiances, and the odd use of synths (which will much more present on their next album) layers bringing a well needed modern touch. A naïve pastoral artwork and the recording sessions in Paris are more contrasting evidence giving you this cool mix of influences. On the English front, Asgard would be more of much proggier version of Steeleye Span, avoiding the permanent jigs trap.

If you ever wondered what French trad folk might sound like without veering in the horrendous Bal Musette with accordions or the endless waltz of jigs and other tacky clichés, Malicorne, La Bamboche and Asgard are your winning trio, with Asgard being the more modern aesthetically speaking. From the first side, I will point out one of my all-time fave Automne with the superb Colchique Dans Les Prés air. Asgard did take care to hava continuity by placing two different versions of La Dame Des Landes on each side of the vinyl even if the narration on the first side's version is close to being cheesy, but nothing appalling, sounding much like but much better and less corny than Magna Carta's Lord Of The Ages.

The second side is more personal to Asgard, as some of the traditional tracks are extended by their own compositions (this is more than arranging or adapting, IMHO), showing a more confident approach, but none of the tracks go beyond the 4'30" mark.

While L'Hirondelle is only Asgard's first step to Tradition & Renouveau (their second and last), it is obviously more naïve, more even, but clearly less accomplished as they played it safe here. If you are into semi-medieval folk but not looking for a purist approach, this type of album is for you.

Sean Trane | 3/5 |

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