String ensemble WHO KILLED BAMBI add depth to Danish pop on new LP

photo by Thomas Dahl Jepsen

WHO KILLED BAMBI have made their name for breathtaking string arrangements and collaborations with music industry giants like Father John Misty, Rod Stewart, Turboweekend, and many more. Now, the Danish string sextet is ready with their new album “12”. This is a compilation of twelve songs, each a joint work with different Nordic artists to reimagine their original material.

Though classically trained in an old-fashioned way, the group of violists, violinists, and cellists have no fear of branching out into pop culture. You will hear songs rooted in pop, electropop, folk, and rock — all transformed into touching string arrangements by Mette Dahl Kristensen, who composes, arranges, and plays the viola in WHO KILLED BAMBI. The ensemble collaborated with Eivør, Peter Wangel, Kaspar Kaae (Cody), Sandra Kolstad, Lydmor, Asbjørn, Ida Wenøe, Kellermensch, Therese Aune, Julie Maria, Jonas H. Petersen and Bjørn Fjæstad.

WHO KILLED BAMBI surround bariton voices such as Wangel’s in “My Father 061053” just as effortlessly as a soprano, like the Faroese singer Eivør in her “Falling Free”. All of the twelve songs have their own ambience and appeal. However, a few moved us personally in particular. 

Asbjørn – Be Human

Asbjørn‘s song “Be Human” is one of the purest and most honest confessions of a desire we all share: to be treated with kindness, to be accepted. The string arrangement introduced by WHO KILLED BAMBI underlines this purity and adds a note of vulnerability. Asbjørn appears in front of the listener without any shields, armed only with hope and faith in humanity. “Can I just be me?” he pleads, and the strings in the background echo that question.

Wangel – “My Father 061053”

Peter Wangel‘s deep, vibrant vocals fall on the strings in “My Father” as if they are touching grass after the rain. The synergy between the music and Wangel’s voice makes the song resonate even stronger, as the minimalistic arrangement leaves plenty of room for the lyrics to sink in. There is no rush. Both the singer and the string ensemble sound peaceful and certain of their performance. Though you can hear the strings, they melt together with the vocals in a way that “My Father” sounds almost like an acapella song at times. How amazing it is that music can create a feeling of silence!

Ida Wenøe – “Til Jeg Har Dig”

Most of Ida Wenøe‘s recent songs have been English, but “Til Jeg Har Dig”, written a couple years ago, is in Danish. Even though my Danish is very limited, and German is my mother tongue, I am so explicitly touched by this language when it’s sung. It feels unwieldy; the words don’t come out as smoothly as they would in English, and somehow, this makes them feel especially raw and honest. Such words hit me more directly. WHO KILLED BAMBI and their delicate strings accentuate this effect and add a much-welcomed layer of drama to it. 

Kellermensch – “Lost At Sea”

Kellermensch have been rocking since 2006. And they rock hard. So hard, you might call them metal. Singer Sebastian Wolff embodies the raspy voice you would expect from that genre but adds a pinch of blues into his interpretations. Picking up on this pinch of blues is “Lost At Sea” in the version with WHO KILLED BAMBI. Filled with drums and electric guitars in its original form, the all-string arrangement turns this grand song delicate, tragic even. Now it is the perfect soundtrack for a Nordic Noir drama.

Lydmor – “Shanghai Roar”

We know Lydmor as an eccentric electropop artist. The song “Shanghai Roar” from her 2018 album “I Told You I’d Tell Them Our Story”, inspired by a trip to China, is already epic in its original form. But let me tell you, WHO KILLED BAMBI take this up a whole new level. Lydmor’s beaming vocals are nuanced by the delightful strings and bring to mind a vast metropolis skyline. You can almost feel the morning sun rays glistening through the streets.

 

Explore WHO KILLED BAMBI’s universe on “12” and find the compositions that resonate the most with you.


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