The concept of equilibrium is all about the balancing of opposing forces, actions, or influences; the music of Equilibrium is largely about the same, though some twists, focal point shifts, and ambient sound plays complicate and muddy the concept a bit. Equilibrium--a trio comprised of Belgian clarinetist Joachim Badenhorst, Danish guitarist Mikkel Ploug, and Norwegian vocalist Sissel Vera Pettersen--quietly yet boldly goes to places unknown, finding and creating the maximum in minimalist settings while blending voices and blurring shapes and lines. Liquid Light--the band's third outing, following Equilibrium (Songlines, 2009) and Walking Voices (Songlines, 2011)--is a collection ...read more
Equilibrium is three-way partnership between Danish guitarist Mikkel Ploug, Belgian saxophonist and clarinetist Joachim Badenhorst and Norwegian vocalist and saxophonist Sissel Vera Pettersen. The trio's charming and ruminative mixture borrows elements of contemporary chamber music, jazz and various indigenous vocal traditions ranging from Inuit throat singing to West African griots and incorporates a variety of extended instrumental techniques and electronic processing. The trio revels in the sonorities it produces and each texture that arises exists in its own austere space. Melodies like that of Ploug's Soft Spoken" unfold gradually, with the embellishments adding to the depth of ...read more
Danish guitarist Mikkel Ploug, a rising player in the vein of such contemporaries as Kurt Rosenwinkel and Torben Waldorff, articulates his own vocabulary--one that contains folk, rock, and modern jazz sensibilities. Harmoniehof, the follow-up to Ploug's eponymous 2006 debut on Fresh Sound New Talent featuring saxophonist Mark Turner, further illuminates his tightly knit band. Turner's ubiquitous voice (constant session work, and a member of the critically acclaimed collaborative group Fly), has been an integral part of Ploug's group and fits well with the music's harmonic constructs and the anchored underpinning of bassist Jeppe Skovbakke and drummer Sean ...read more
Mikkel Ploug (electric and acoustic guitars), Sissel Vera Pettersen, (voice, soprano saxophone, live electronics) and Joachim Badenhorst (clarinet, bass clarinet, tenor saxophone) create a stunning ambience in the crystalline use of their instruments on Equilibrium. The motifs are often gentle, breathing in the air of classical music or in the pastoral turns of chamber music. This in itself would be attractive enough, but Pettersen ups the ante with her voice. Hers is an instrument that can shape sound and syllable, making it the messenger of every articulation whether it is a whisper, an ululation or a prance on the edge ...read more
Controlled breathing is a centering, grounding device at the heart of many cultural and spiritual traditions. It is appropriate then that it should be the primary force and focus of Mikkel Ploug, Sissel Vera Pettersen and Joachim Badenhorst's Equilibrium. Human breath not only fuels Pettersen and Badenhorst's wind instruments, but is fully present in the resulting sound, the instruments used as much to project the breath as to transform it into musical tones. Pettersen's ethereal, often piercing singing eschews lyrics to likewise emphasize more primal human intonations. Steeped in the music of Celtic, African and Asian natives, ...read more
Mikkel Ploug has been slowly, but surely, building a reputation for himself, and deservedly so. His live performances speak for themselves. This recording opens the door to his skills as a composer even while showcasing his considerable talent as a guitarist.
Ploug's writing has depth. His ear for melody is astute and he brings in different styles to lure the listener. As a guitarist, he paints a deep sonic canvas. His notes are robust and rounded, fleet in their dispensation yet enunciated with care and emphasis. He brings this in emphatically on Big City Walk. After he has established a ...read more
Jordi Pujol keeps finding talented newcomers and gives them a chance to record. Guitarist Mikkel Ploug (Peterson) is truly deserving of such an opportunity since he has an original voice with something to say. The trailer to the title Mikkel Ploug Group is Featuring Mark Turner and the album is very much an intertwining of forces by Ploug and tenor saxophonist Turner. Rounding out the band are bassist Jeppe Skovbakke and drummer Sean Carpio who as the rhythm section, support Ploug's delicate structures with supple rhythms that are in constant flux. Ploug has chosen ...read more