Slattar pa tunga = Norwegian Folk Songs – Berit Opheim Versto, soprano – 2L Multichannel SACD 46, 40:01 ***:
Berit Opheim Versto is a noted Norwegian folk singer of obvious vocal prowess. She improvises these 19 songs (ravishingly caught in pristine SACD sound) with the virtuosity of an instrumentalist, and much of the effort is indeed modeled after instrumental playing, using nonsense words as the texts. There is an abundant variety of vocal sounds here, and Versto knows how to manipulate the voice to cause a reasonable facsimile of instrumental coloring and imitation, including some multi-tracking with her own voice in harmony.
My problem with the disc is twofold: unfamiliarity with Norwegian folk music and a certain monotony that sets in after listening to so much of this. If it were offered as an intermediate break selection on a public radio station I might be intrigued, but one of these after another for 40 minutes (and here for once I will not complain about the short time) is a bit much for me. Sonic spectacular and all, I am afraid that this relegates the disc to very much a specialist’s realm. If this appeals you are in for a treat no doubt, and 2L provides incredibly clear surround sound.
— Steven Ritter