The components of sound that make-up Arve Henriksen's Cartography, the trumpeter's debut as a leader on ECM, reads like a hyper-processed, low-nutrition, junk food for the ear brew: samples, treatments, synthesizer, dictaphone, programming, beats, voice samples. It is a stew of musical inputs, a layering of sounds that mixes ambient and electronica with snippets of soaring vocal segments and a dash of spoken word into a reverberant, in-the-cathedral solemnity, with Henriksen's gentle-breeze of a sound, his often voice-like trumpet in the forefront.
Putting aside the ensemble aspect of the recording for a moment, the leader's blowing is soft, full of inward ruminations, something in the mode of Miles Davis
's Floratone (Blue Note, 2007), but with a more mystical, pastoral feelingan exploration of tranquility and cool beauty.
The disc opens with "Poverty and Its Opposite," on a soft electric warble soon joined by Henriksen's talking trumpet, in a sweet synthetic/organic blending that rattles and swells to an orchestral level. "Before and Afterlife" breaths to life on a series of piper-in-the-forest notes that opens up to the first of two of spoken word segments by David Sylvian. "Migration" features cajon-like beats knocking in an airy wash behind Henriksen's serene trumpeteach breathy, sinewy note chosen carefully and well.
Cartography is a collage of musical pieces, masterfully assembled, a mellifluous blending of disparate sounds that pushes the junk food ingredient comparison out of the listening room. A beautifully tranquil, soul-nourishing experience.
Track Listing: Poverty and Its Opposite; Before and Afterlife; Migration; From Birth; Ouija; Recording Angel; Assembly; Loved One; The Unremarkable Child; Famine's Ghost; Thermal; Sorrow and Its Opposite.
Personnel: Arve Henriksen: trumpets, voice (1, 6), field recording (1); Jan Bang: live sampling (1, 5, 10), samples (2, 3, 6, 8-12), beats (2, 3, 7), programming (2, 3, 5, 6, 10, 12), bass line (6), dictaphone (6, 8), arrangement (11, 12); Audun Kleive: percussion (1, 11), drums (10), organ samples (7); David Sylvian: voice (2, 11), samples (2), programming (2); Helge Sunde: string arrangements (2), programming (2); Eivind Aarset: guitars (3, 11); Lars Danielsson: double-bass (3); Erik Honore: synthesizer (3-5, 7, 10), samples (3), field recording (4, 7), choir samples (7); Arnaud Mercier: treatments (4)l Trio Mediaeval: voice sample (6); Verene Andronikof: vocals (6); Vytas Sondeckis: vocal arrangement (6), vocal performance (6); Anna Maria Friman: voice (10); Stale Storlokken: synthesizer (10), samples (10).ement; Anna Maria Friman: voice; Stale Storiokken: synthesizer, samples.