Originally reviewed by Dean Christesen on Twitter: @RVAjazz I tried something new today with this newly released album from the Songlines label. While listening, I reviewed it in pieces on Twitter. Twitter users know that each entry can be no more than 140 characters, so each statement I made about the music had to be […]
Originally reviewed by Dean Christesen on Twitter: @RVAjazz
I tried something new today with this newly released album from the Songlines label. While listening, I reviewed it in pieces on Twitter. Twitter users know that each entry can be no more than 140 characters, so each statement I made about the music had to be concise. Below are the nine posts I made while listening to the album. Information in brackets are words that I have added for clarification or emphasis, including a conclusion.
– Mikkel Ploug’s compositions are gorgeous. Sudden shifts between consonant and dissonant [and consequently soft and abrasive] harmony in the horns with acoustic guitar underneath [on “Soft Spoken”].
– Pettersen explores her huge vocal range on the free improv track “Epiphora.” The piece develops from nothing into a cohesive trio thought.
– “Chords” [another Ploug composition] leaves me breathless. Electric guitar, voice, and bass clarinet seem to become one.
– This group’s sound [is heavily defined by] the textures they create. There seems to be no limit to the sounds each gets from their instrument. “Aeroide”
– “Warmth” is the climax of the journey so far. Soprano and tenor sax reach a collaborative peak and guitar aggressively strums. [The piece follows a path for several minutes in which Pettersen and Badenhorst solo together over rapidly changing tonal centers in the guitar. The entire piece forms an ascent toward the promised climax. “Warmth” is, in essence, a 6 minute tension-filled ride that culminates into a release, then quickly disappears.]
– “Ambiente” has Balinese-like tones from the guitar and phased breathing sounds [and other effects] from the vocals. Interesting falling action of this story.
– Four chorales by Pettersen serve as endcaps and interjections to the larger work. The last employs a drone and unsettling sounds.
– The trio’s ability to coalesce and then become three unique voices makes it obvious that these three musicians were meant for each other.
[The three converse with ease and make unique musical moments out of their trust for one another. Each instrument, as well as its player, suits itself perfectly for the others. Pettersen’s voice takes on ideal forms for such an ensemble: it can act as a clean slate, singing tones that mesh with the instrument to create lush harmonies and textures; and it can provide effects like hushed growls and breathing to serve the needs of the music. With the guitar, Ploug is naturally the firm grounding for most of the music, partially due to the instrument’s large range and technical allowances, as well as Ploug’s role as a primary composer for the group. While each musician has his or her roles within the music, the lines are blurred, and therein lies this trio’s greatest attribute.]
Personnel: Mikkel Ploug: electric and acoustic guitars; Sissel Vera Pettersen: voice, soprano saxophone, live electronics; Joachim Badenhorst: clarinet, bass clarinet, tenor saxophone.
Track listing: Chorale I; November; Cathedral; Fri; Soft Spoken; Epiphora; Chorale II; Chords; Aeroide; Takt; Chorale III; Warmth; Ambiente; Chorale IV.