It is a 4th Scene of The Møster band under that squad , hard to be precise about order if taking on the account all acts from the past , as Kjetil Traavik Møster might be not that old all together, but his output is already massive and seriously impressive, given all inspirations.
I was awaiting this record to come for two years now. To make a long story short once I heard the Trio on the stage with guest appearance of Andy Sheppard I knew that they got no other choice than to record it. If it was so clear to me it must had been even more to them. Simples 😉 And there it is. Rune wouldn’t let it go either.
The lyrical, woolly and embracing feeling that EET creates makes one falling in love with it immediately and it doesn’t surprise me at all that their popularity rises fast and shows sell full. Andy fits into this world like a hand into the glove. His own language is equally lyrical and fragile and it belongs to the trio in the same natural way.
It becomes clear when you listen to the previous recordings and starting to asking yourself when the sax is going to join? An open character of Espen’s compositions would kind of allow that any time, with slight twist to the tempo maybe, when it comes to the faster ones.
Title ballad is one of my favourite here. It possesses all the quality I value so high with that band but in the same time brings a lot of space to accommodate saxophonist. It happens by listening of course and by gentle re-arrangements. Rhythm slowing down here and there to keep on time with Andy’s smooth breath. That again shows the high skills of the drummer as he makes it so natural that it almost takes all the trouble out of the bassist.
The fragility of the Above the Horizon, almost makes you fly straight from an opening note. Amazing how easy it is for them to create such an instant illusion. Andy to me is one of these musicians who’s being long time looking for his own voice. He always sounded to me a bit like Garbarek, a bit like Henderson and these are just his recent ECM recordings which are showing his own fully grown voice. And so wonderful it is.
1974 is one of such tracks I have no knowledge who composed it but is sounds so Andy that I have no doubts. Sax figures are having perfect pace here, and the sound blossoms with every note, which is so rounded and fine that there is no better way to play it. The way how piano dialogues with sax encharms, so does the ability of the rhythm section to merge into the tissue so deep that they become almost harmonics for the piano.
Indian Summer simply paints the perfect picture. So many colours that it becomes difficult to trace. Sax, dry like a summer air and in the same time warm in tone, sketches watercolours between your ears. You can almost feel the sun rays on your face and distant buzz of flies. This piece reminds me the feeling I used to have when listening to early Pat Matheny recordings, so folksy in their melodic aspect.
Following Suburban Folk Song leaves no doubts where the inspiration came from. And indeed repetitive motive multiplied in piano layers and covered with the brass lines make perfect reference to the Nordic folklore.
Naked Trees , is another example of the perfectly illustrative nature of the tunes they committed in Quartet. Waltz alike melody flirts with elegiac sax lines flying high and the thrill bringing incredible gentleness to the feeling.
Saying that it is another great recording from EET would be trivial. This music is too beautiful to put margins like that. One needs simply to hear and feel it to understand. It is the way it touches and comforts you mind ,feeling etc., more than it sounds like. Just taste to feel and we can talk about it later.
This seems to be second project that Norwegian singer Ruth Wilhelmine Meyer recorded under her own name. But here it doesn’t really count, as even if not a debut or whatever one wish to call it, it is not the music you usually come across. She has been always involved in lots of projects of different sort and with her very unique vocal approach and 5 octave range voice available as one can imagine. Her name stands out enough to not easy be forgotten. Therefore, I remember her from her collaborations with another brilliant singer, her compatriot: Agnes Buen Garnås as well as from long time collaboration with an Ethnic formation AKKU. More recent is her phenomenal project in Duo with pianist Helge Lien called “Memnon: Sound portraits of Ibsen characters”, from some few years back, also issued by Ozella.
Klangbiotober however, as I said above is something completely different. The main reason for that is an artistic or even political statement that artist did put for it in a foreword:
“When I set out to record this album, I saw the atrocities that we were committing towards our planet and it got me thinking”, Meyer recounts, “I reflected on my lack of will to do something about the situation and about our collective failure to take action. In some ways, working on the album was a way for me to enter into a dialogue with the places, plants and creatures of nature.”
Let’s drop the titles then as they got no meaning to me and sunk into the music. From the first touch it brings performance one might expect from Meredith Monk for example, for its theatrical connections clearly audible here as a part of the expression. On the other hands an organic and natural recount to the Nordic folklore are bringing associations with artists like Lena Willemark or Mari Boine. Also, many performing artists might be quoted, just as easy as Mongolian throat singers to give just one completely opposite example. In fact, the type of folk doesn’t matter that much here like its clear reference to primary philosophic systems practised by native cultures inhabiting various areas of our planet. With their respect to The Mother Earth as a feeding power. Some basic instinct we surely lost in our civilisation climb.
The simplicity and organic nature of the human voice is matched here with equal virtuosity by matching quartet of musicians which are also extraordinary.
First is very well known to me percussionist Terje Isungset. Drumming can not possibly be done in more essential and basic manner like he does. Known for his multiple projects with use for sound making almost everything, from archaeological remains to stones, ice and trees.
He simply sounds here as natural as sound of the nature, never touched by the human hands. But this is his trademark. Nobody fits better here. If I would think of replacement possibly Paul Wirkus only might feel that fragile balance they created here.
Saxophonist Grzech Piotrowski represents exactly the same mental set up as Isungset. He is well known for his World Orchestra project which refers to the basic definition of sound and intuitive communication with music and via music. His instrumental approach as well as the music written for the symphonic format keeps exploring the same basic simplicity and refers rather to our inner senses than to any sort of intellectual recognition.
The tuba player Lars Andreas Haug is one of the former members of the AKKU trio, so he works with Meyer over two decades now. Eight years back also Piotrowski became a solid member of this unique formation which is now quintet, so as you can see there is a lot of connections and the names are not picked randomly. Haug’s playing here reminds me what French virtuoso Michel Godard does, but it shouldn’t be any surprise given the fact that both gents are exploring similar plots.
This music has to be heard and felled. You will actually feel it with your entire arsenal of senses, not just hearing and it’ll touch you deeply. You won’t be the same anymore after. So, won’t be your judgement of the world as it became with our greediness and lack of common sense. I hope that this message will sink deeper and we start questioning ourselves as human and spiritual beings. So far, there is no planet B.
International release 13.07.18
Acclaimed trumpeter/soundscaper Hilde Marie Holsen follows up her critical hit mini-album debut, ‘Ask’, with the dark and mysterious ‘Lazuli’, a suite of four compositions inspired by visual art and named after minerals used to colour paint.
Hilde Marie Holsen’s ‘Lazuli’ is an almost shockingly complete musical statement. It’s as if an intense dialogue between the processes of composition and improvisation, and the interplay of sound and music, has led to the creation of experimental and often challenging work that nevertheless comes across as absolutely fully-formed; as inevitable, even.
Norwegian release 29.03.2018
International release 08.06.18
A bigger breakthrough
The jazz trio format is tried and tested and has become one of the basic ensemble formats of modern jazz. Here is a trio that has its feet planted firmly within the tradition, but still offers something unique to the listener. The Espen Berg Trio made its mark with the group’s first album, “Mønster”, in 2015. The trio was referred to as “the biggest and most important musical discovery in the first half of 2016” by Jazz Japan, and they have toured extensively in Japan, where they have also signed a recording contract. Now the trio is back, with a striking and elegant new album that very possibly will be an even bigger breakthrough for the trio. This is a group that is positively overflowing with talent and musical enthusiasm.
Norwegian release 16.04.2018
International release 01.06.18
Immersive electro-acoustic trio Splashgirl (Andreas Stensland Lowe, keyboards; Jo Berger Myhre, bass/guitar/electronics; Andreas Lonmo Knudsrod, drums/percussion) was the first act to sign to the Hubro label, with the group’s second album as a unit, ‘Arbor’, marking the label’s debut in 2009. Since then, each subsequent release has deepened and strengthened the developing Splashgirl sound, from ‘Pressure’ (2011) and ‘’Field Day Rituals’ (2013) to ‘Hibernation’ (2015).
Realise: 1st June 2018
A Norwegian Avant-Garde Classic.
Svein Finnerud Trio was one of the strongest voices in the Norwegian avant-garde of the late ‘60s/early ‘70s. Unknown outside the country, the trio pioneered forms of musical expression that later found an international audience through the ECM albums of Jan Garbarek, Arild Andersen, and Terje Rypdal. In this context, Plastic Sun is a statement as essential as any other of the period. Now finally available in a remastered edition on CD and in a 180g audiophile LP pressing.
Here we got another folk originating project from Norway. Probably the most inspiring country when it comes to the musical influence today. And another, like Nils Økland, and Hardanger fiddler player. This traditional 8 string violin are sounding obvious to Northern listeners, for which it is a part of the musical heritage, but to All of us not familiar with an instrument sound and abilities it is entire universe of beauty to discover. If Økland carries well deserved title of instrument old master Apneseth equally deserves to be called young virtuoso.
The music is simply sensationally beautiful. With trio’s ability to merge together and very tight and careful listening to each other inside the band we are getting well over the usual folk tissue. The straight Folk base is more obvious here but so is the discovery path that young musicians are trying to approach.
Stryk for example extends the level of communication almost to the Noise-culture dictionary. With Meidell’s sampled guitar pulling the space apart like a spaceship in the quiet vacuum landscape. Hypnotising and mesmerising in the same time.
Undergruun with its modern beat merges traditional fiddle lines with some cosmic utopia, again driven by guitarist imagination. It all so well balanced that merging different musical traditions have to be carefully traced to be noticed. But given Erlends collaborations with Arve Henriksen, perhaps the most eloquent musician of his generation today, it shouldn’t surprise.
Saga, on the complete opposite pole, starts like little Music Box. With the charm of the spooky somnambulist walk and twisted sense of balance, his gentle bowing comes with a great strength, even if the melody is weaved from very silky filament. I admire guitar sampled tissue which is trying to imitate a natural resonance of the violins and as a result, bringing some three – dimensional and hybrid sense of thickness.
Lysne in that context, with samples lyrics on the drumming background can be considered a bit like a sort of Boom-Box and Rap poetry experience. Repetitive monotony of the text, which meaning stays hidden to me, but an intended flow with the rhythm remains obvious.
Such a groovy character of that music makes an overall tissue, present more or less in all tunes here, and keeps building the neuronal connection between the natural beauty of the strings and the synthetic hollow-spherical nature of the samples. To me it is exactly the crash of those two senses of space which creates a disturbance and enforces the listener to follow. Neither to find out more with analytical careful listening or to submerge and relax. Without a trace of precedence of research, but with simple hedonistic pleasure of exploring the inner worlds of your own imagination.
Wonderful recording with an indisputable charm and the names well worth to be remembered for every explorer of the new musical language.
These is the sixth record of the trio on fire consisting of Mats Gustafsson, Johan Berthling and Andreas Werliin. Two years passed exactly since I reviewed their previous She Sleeps Lp. Two years is a kind of interval which marks the gap to the anterior Without Noticing.
What we have here defers vastly from almost nocturnal approach on predecessor album. Saying that one must accept that nocturnal from the Fire! is something different that the usual definition would suggest. I am finding The Hands to be a musical poem to me. Seriously. I know that the heavy sound of the trio, particularly the bass lines and lament – scream of Matt’s saxes are often compared to Black Sabath alike guitar riffs, but it is not the case here. The longer I am listening to it the more I am confident with that.
First of all are tittles of the tunes, which are making a poem as such if read in row, just follow:
When Her Lips Collapsed
Touches Me With The Tips Of Wonder
Washing Your Heart In Filth
Up. And Down.
To Shave The Leaves. In Red. In Black.
I Guard Her To Rest. Declaring Silence.
When I played them in random order the meaning collapses, there is no poetry anymore. Sounds don’t match words as they did before. Back in order and all clicks back. The tensions and realises fit again. The mood paints the drama as it was intended by those who composed them. Then I checked who did it and mystery solved itself alone. There is a clear note on the back cover saying that all tittles had been inspired by Kenneth Patchen. There we are. I love to trust own senses and encourage you to do the same. They will never betray you. The rest can always be found.
Album starts with tittle The Hands. Rough and clumsy, with almost neurotic lines reminding me The Joy Division. Repetitive character of heavy riffs supplied bringing strong visual images.
Following second track starts with some onomatopoeic intro bringing words which sound collapsed and impossible to understand, therefore the feeling matches the tittle perfectly. Heavy trip continuous with the bass’ dark steps and baritone’s cascades od sounds which are coming like cascades of thoughts inside of the head, impossible to articulate, but all meaning.
Opening sax lines on Touches Me bring the realise and nostalgic reflection. Bass hardly goes to the surface, it rather pulses like a blood in your vines. Once you focus on that you know you are still alive. Andreas finishes the picture with firm brushes and ride frames. Voices of gulls in the background are bringing marine feeling to the sketch and giving a sense of identity to the background of the story.
Each line brings his own image and his own change of mood. Dare experiment with them and you start to feel the meaning of the poem. The main theme is there and it keeps coming along the heavy lines, reminding me a bit a Tonbruket sonic universe a bit. No surprise here giving a background and mixed heritages. The pace in the music matches clearly the intonation of the words. And meaning of the words keep moving too, once the accents had been moved. The closing piece I guard her to the rest. Declaring silence clears the subject with wonderfully lyrical sax lines, making an obviosity of final departure in such a gentle way that there is really nothing to say after.
As I said, I loved She Sleeps and keep listening to it , but The Hands is no shorter congenial.