Maggie Bjorklund – Shaken

Maggie Bjorklund
Bloodshot Records

Soundtrack to an imaginary Western

I’m a big fan of Chicago-based label Bloodshot Records and work on the theory that they can do no wrong in my book — apart from one or two misdemeanors that I swore never to talk about. So, I was understandably excited when I received this disc by noted Danish musician/composer Maggie Bjorkland.

Oh dear, how naive was I? When I first played it in my office, I actually turned it off halfway through. Obviously, this meta-modern aural landscape was far too clever for my uncultured ears. Then, as happens with these things, on a whim I slid it into my car stereo on a long journey. And, eureka! I got it.

Imagine, if you will, Ansel Adams being the cinematographer on David Lynch’s re-make of Annie Get Your Gun. This could and should be the soundtrack.

To some degree, this is what the cool kids call a conceptual piece. It certainly won’t appeal to the casual listener. Apart from the track “Fro Fro Heart” — a duet with Kurt Wagner — it’s highly unlikely you would ever hear a track from this album played on public radio. But, those who like these things will love Shaken more than life itself.

When reviewing albums, I try to imagine who they will appeal to and when you will play them. In this case, I think it will be smart music fans who are afraid to delve too deeply into jazz or classical music. I can think of a couple of really hip coffee shops where this would make a perfect backdrop to reading your broadsheet newspaper or chic paperback.

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