Bjørn Hammershaug Christian Lysvåg of MIC Norway reports:
Norwegian folklore and traditional tunes have been given a new musical cloak: On the record "Grimen" fiddler Knut Buen joins forces with EMPEROR's Vegard Tveitan (a.k.a. Ihsahn) and Heidi Solberg Tveitan from STAROFASH under the name HARDINGROCK. The name refers to the "Devil's instrument" — the Harding (Hardanger) fiddle — and with its sonority as the locus, and eerie stories of otherworldly beings as the vantage point, the trio have found a spiritual and musical affinity between modern metal and the Norwegian "supernatural" folk music tradition.
Ihsahn on how contact was made between the musicians, apparently belonging to the opposite poles of the spectrum of musical genres:
"Hailing from the same area we knew of each other through the local press. But we probably had a somewhat stereotypical view of each others expressions before we met. When I first approached Knut, he claimed only disinterest in the 'crossover thing,' but when we met again a few years later he was keen on collaboration. His change of mind was due to artistic temperament. We exchanged some records and thus the whole thing was in motion. And we soon found out that we had a lot in common in virtue of belonging to the periphery of popular music, even though we were at opposite ends of the spectrum."
Buen's idea was to insert the traditional tunes into a rock setting, by for instance using parts of a traditional tune as the basis for a rock riff, write new lyrics and adapt the traditional material to a modern musical expression. The collaboration with the two black metal musicians has made his old dream come true, and he has nothing but praise for his new partners:
"They have a liking for many of the elements in the culture of traditional tales and natural mysticism that defines it. In addition they have diverse musical backgrounds. This is a combination I deemed well suited for the lyrical and dramatic content of this material. We have also become good friends in the course of the process, which is important in order to achieve a fruitful musical collaboration."
Read the entire interview at MIC Norway.