Based upon Ratkje’s music created for the ballet Sult (Hunger) by profiled director Jo Strømgren for the Norwegian National Ballet, this is a departure from records and live settings normally associated with Maja S. K. Ratkje as a solo performer, as we find her placed behind a modified, wiggly and out of tune pump organ, singing songs and improvising. Metal tubes, PVC tubes and a wind machine were built onto the organ; guitar strings, a bass string, a resin thread, metal and other percussion and a bow are also utilized. She had to learn to play the thing live, using both hands and feet at the same time as singing. Maja played live on stage during every performance, but later modified and recorded the music especially for this record. It’s a freestanding document, an entity of its own, but the atmosphere is very much the same as in the play: the dusty city of Kristiania in the 19th century, the street noises and the sounds. ”Hunger” is Norwegian author Knut Hamsun’s breakthrough novel from 1890. Partly autobiographical, it describes a starving young man’s struggle to make it as a writer in Kristiania (now Oslo). It has been said that the whole modern school of fiction starts with “Hunger”, with it´s themes around mental states and the irrationality of the human mind.
The titles are quotes from the novel, found with the kind help of Maja’s friend Anette Wahlstrøm, and these are Rune Grammofon’s attemps at translating.
1. [Introduksjon] – This wondrous city
2. [Sjå, Åmioda] – And not a sound left my throat
3. The bouncing movement my foot makes every time my pulse strikes
4. [Sayago] – A gliding sound such as this
5. A woodchip to chew on
6. Eyes like raw silk, arms of amber
7. A white lighthouse in a muddy sea of humans where wrecks floated about
8. I sense my shoes as a slowly whizzing tone towards me
Link to album reviews
Link to the ballet performance Sult