Drongo (Norway) - ‘Hester’ (video / single from album ‘1’)
It’s not often I start a feature with the spoken opening words from a video, but this from Norwegian band Drongo left me scratching my head slightly, at least at first.
“Yesterday I braided my horses mane, and then she rolled around the dirt so it got stuck to the braids as lumps, and then the braid got messy, and when the lumps dried I crumbled them between my fingers, and I brushed her mane with a comb… afterwards we ate breakfast direct from the soil. And we probably ate worms from the dirt and got worms in our stomach.”
Huh? In fairness I was with them until they started eating breakfast from the soil. Although if you watch the whole video you’ll certainly get the point.
And maybe such a peculiar opening isn’t entirely surprising, as Drongo are an unusual band, an 8 piece ensemble that combine Krautrock, Super Disco and Afrobeat into their music - and I’d add classical minimalism, ambient influences and a psychedelic jazz something or other too.
They’ve released a number of tracks in last year in the run up to their new album which is efficiently entitled ‘1’. The single ‘Hester’ was released in 2020, but the video was only released in the last couple of days to coincide with the album release.
Don’t be fooled by the almost conventional opening in ‘Hester’, because within seconds complex competing rhythms are overlaid and for a while it seems like they’ve discovered the musical equivalent of a confused cat chasing their own tail. But somehow it slowly comes together, although I’m not sure if it’s the drumbeats and rhythms that have evolved, or whether my ears have somehow adjusted, and actually I like the fact that I don’t entirely know.
The track then somehow finds extra momentum, spiralling, interwoven sounds become totally absorbing, with a crescendo in the last 2 minutes to an almost post rock scale, creating fragments of blissful tunes in the process. It’s actually quite remarkable, as David Coleman would have said.
These guys must be a mesmerising outfit to see live, and the inspired video is definitely worth watching, even if the ending does have a Monty Python feel to it.