Dokkemand – Hons!

I had never heard of the genre “folktronica” until encountering Dokkemand, and am not convinced that there is a whole lot of folk on the band’s Hons! release. Beck springs to mind when I hear this term. But sure, music communities need new names for the multiplicity of substrata present within a genre so we can all go along with it. But really Dokkemand (really a solo effort by Marius Grøtterud Egenes) goes in for the kind of bedroom/laptop electronica as much as anything else.

Hons! goes for the glitch on “Stempel” and “Hest,” which have the characteristically unsettling beats you’d expect from the tag. The dyspeptic beats of “Hest” benefit from the salve of sustained high notes overlaid on top, while “Stempel” does the same but supplements the formula with recurring distorted, deep bass patterns as well. “Lupe” has a minimalist dance aspect to it, made sweeter by the presence of well-known Kate Havnevik’s vocals. 

The more ambient tracks like “Knapp,” “Elke,” and “Klokka Er 76” provide a break from the random cut-and-paste beats and smooth things out for a while. They’re spacey enough that they feel relaxed even though there’s still a good bit of peripheral noise/tone layering going on. “Kanaria” reveals that Dokkemand can get beyond facile programming long enough to compose a richer song, in this case using acoustic guitar even. Its progression even has a narrative arc (musically) that isn’t in keeping with some of the other selections here. 

As far as the odd track names, it’s because Dokkemand is from Norway (as is collaborator Kate Havnevik, as you may already know). Dokkemand doesn’t break any new ground on Hons!, where inorganic sounds and chop-shop electronica prevail. There’s a lot of competition and history in this space, so of course it would be harder to break out of it than break into it.