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Live Reviews

Scene Norway 2 at King's Place

By Published: December 13, 2013
Not unlike Endresen's duo with Stian Westerhus, it seemed like an odd pairing: one, a completely acoustic instrument taken to hitherto unheard places; the other, a thoroughly electronic exploration, in this case of sound predicated on existing recordings that are rarely, if ever, recognizable. But while Endresen and Westerhus have managed to create something that builds, strength upon strength, with each of the many performances they've shared, it still seemed that Endresen and Jeck were searching for a strong meeting place, common ground that they did, occasionally find, but just as often did not. In particular, early on in the set, it felt as though the duo were passing a baton back and forth, allowing each one time in the spotlight while the other did little or, indeed, nothing at all. Later, however, they did manage to come together, in particular during one segment where Endresen began a motivic exploration of the words "the ones and the twos and the threes and the fours." Jeck's entrance finally seemed to gel with the vocalist

That Endresen and Jeck still seem to be searching for commonality, however, is part of the beauty of totally improvised contexts. Risky as they are, they're journeys that may not always successfully find their destination, but they're invariably trips well worth taking.

And so, with Scene Norway 2 drawn to a close, with a total of seven performances in three days—four with Artist-in-Residence Molvær—it can clearly be considered a success. While its brevity did not allow for the breadth of the first series' ten-day run, but by using a single artist as the focal point for many of the performances, and that artist's birthplace as a common thread that ran through the majority of the shows, Talkington once again curated a series that will be remembered for a long time to come, and which has once again demonstrated exactly why attention paid to the music of this small country remains not just important but necessary. There is, of course, plenty of terrific music being made around the world, but it would be difficult to find another country with such a disproportionate amount of exceptional music being made by so many extraordinary musicians within such a relatively small population.

The only question is: it took five years for Scene Norway's second installment to take place; how long will it be before Scene Norway 3 exposes even more of Norway's music to Londoners making the trek to King's Place, a remarkable venue, custom-built for such events?

Photo Credit
John Kelman

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