Nils Petter Molvaer: Streamer (2006)
Originally released in Europe in 2004, Streamer has finally been released in the US, allowing listeners on the other side of the pond to hear performances recorded on Nils Petter Molvaer's 2002 world tour. In terms of musical evolution, this might be some way off the mark relative to where the man is in 2006, but that doesn't alter the fact that this music is pretty vapid stuff. The Norwegian musician employs a risky "less is more" approach in his trumpet work, the effect of which is to evoke a chimera of Miles Davis in the last decades of his life, albeit without Miles' depth of musical personality.
On "Little Indian I found my attention wandering pretty quickly, not least because this music seems unable to amount to anything more than the sum total of its influences. Weighted down by its apparent awe of antecedents, the results come across as featherweight, especially when Molvaer's debt to the likes of Massive Attack is apparent, but his group signally fails to match that outfit's grasp of dynamics.
"Sauna amounts to a whole lot of nothing, though producing music so devoid of feeling might actually mark some kind of achievement in itself. Makers of wildlife documentary films might find it a rich source of incidental music, but it still comes to pretty thin musical gruel.
DJ Strangefruit is formally credited with "vinyl abuse" here, but if anything, "vinyl reverence" might be a more apt term. He certainly does nothing to ruffle the surface of "Solid Ether, where the audience noise before the performance seems a lot more animated than the music itself. As a general point, the politeness that infuses this programme does it no favours at all as a listening experience, especially on "Kakonita, which sounds like a sedated Jan Garbarek.
One of the defining characteristics of the whole electronica movement has arguably been its accelerated rate of development. If indeed that is the case, then Molvaer occupies some indifferent generic space that is far from stimulating. Streamer is all pretty tiresome, really, in the end.
Track Listing: Frozen; Marrow; Little Indian; Kakonita; Sauna; Simply So; Hurry Slowly; Solid Ether.
Personnel: Nils Petter Molvaer: trumpet, additional loops and samples; Eivind Aarset: guitars; Raymond Pellicier: loops, electronics; DJ Strangefruit: vinyl abuse; Rune Arnesen: drums.