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Anders Jormin: Touching the Heart and Spirit

By Published: October 4, 2004
In '98 Jormin recorded another commission, with an intriguing premise. " Silvae is Latin for Forests, and was commissioned by Swedish Radio. Sometimes commissions come with certain conditions, and for this one the condition was that it should be people who had not worked together before. So I put together a sextet with [trumpeter] Arve Henriksen and [guitarist] Marc Ducret, for example, two people who didn't know each other. In fact nobody knew each other besides me and my brother [drummer] Christian.

"Marc Ducret was an interesting choice," continues Jormin. "My choice was not to write music that would fit him, but instead to challenge him. And to challenge Marc Ducret you have to do more structured things, because he is a master of the non-structured, the tough side of music. So I would challenge him this way, and challenge other musicians in other ways; the music ultimately sounded familiar or traditional, but hopefully there's something special with every tune."

The commission, as performed, was split equally between relatively free improvisations and the more structured pieces which, of course, also had plenty of space for exploration. "There is always lots of improvisation in my music," explains Jormin, "because that's what I like, that's where the personality of the players comes through more easily, but in this case we did lots of free improvising with small sketches, or suggestions from me. We were actually talking about releasing Silvae as a double album, but that's where economy comes in—there wasn't the money for it, and since it was a commission I decided together with the producers to use the composed part for the record. We talked about releasing the other material later, but it has never happened; it's also very good. It's somewhere on my shelves, but it will probably never be released."

ECM and Xeiyi

After years contributing to other artists' albums on ECM, Silvae was, in fact, originally intended to be Jormin's first release on the label under his own name. " Silvae was supposed to be an ECM release, but it turned out that the commissioner of that piece, Swedish radio—the government radio—already had a deal with Dragon that I didn't know about, so when ECM found this out they decided they didn't want to be accused of releasing music that actually belonged to another smaller label. Instead we started discussing what to do next, because Manfred was eager for me to record an album for ECM, my having been then playing on maybe nine or ten releases. I had the idea to follow-up Alone , to do it again, to basically do it ten years later and see where I was."

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