Nordic Giants are not so much a band as a multimedia performance art experience. Like a post-rock Daft Punk, they hide their individuality so that the concept of Nordic Giants is untainted by the banalities of the real world, creating cinematic soundscapes which seem to tell stories of monsters and men in grand, impossible landscapes.
Which is not to say that their music is not grounded in reality. The song Mechanical Minds - from their 2014 mini album Build Seas, Dismantle Suns - is a call for pacifism and unity which makes unambiguous use of one of the most famous speeches in 20th Century cinema, by one of its most charismatic performers.
The true Nordic Giants experience takes place live in concert, in which the duo emerge like barbarian chieftains from the Dark Ages equipped with a drum kit and a set of keyboards, dressed in leathers and black feather headdresses, and perform almost in darkness, lit principally by the backdrop of short films that accompany each of their largely instrumental pieces.
Mechanical Minds gives you a flavour of the full Nordic Giants live experience because it contains samples from the most oft-quoted scene in the Oscar-nominated 1940 comedy The Great Dictator, Charlie Chaplin's scything satire of fascist ideology and practice.
In Chaplin's first talkie and most successful film, the silent movie tramp plays both Adenoid Hynkel, ruthless, anti-semitic leader of Tomainia, and an amnesiac Jewish barber who just happens to resemble him. And in a classic farce of mistaken identity, the barber assumes the leader's identity (whilst Hynkel, elsewhere, is being mistaken for the barber and arrested by his own soldiers) and the barber reluctantly gets up to make a rousing speech declaring Tomainia a democracy.
Few men could have undermined Hitler's credibility around the world as successfully as Charlie Chaplin - in 1940 he was one of the world's most beloved and respected comedians. And here he was, portraying a very thinly disguised Hitler as a buffoon to be mocked rather than feared, whilst at the same time confronting the evil of racism. Chaplin's popularity undoubtedly suffered as a direct result of this boldly political film, but no one understood better than him that Hollywood was a soap box from which he could address the whole world.
"You the people have the power to make this life free and beautiful," says the barber, as his speech shifts gear from timid and unassertive to confident and powerful, "to make this life a wonderful adventure. Then in the name of democracy let us use that power. Let us all unite."
You can learn more about Nordic Giants here
About the curator: Jon Ewing
After graduating from the University of Keele in England with a degree in Politics and American Studies, Jon worked as editor of a music and entertainment magazine before spending several years as a freelance writer and, with the advent of the internet, a website designer, developer and consultant. He lives in Reading, home to one of the world's most famous and long-running music festivals, which he has attended every year since 1992.