Nils Petter Molvær: Lucid DreamBenrath Forest Duesseldorf, GermanyMay 31, 2014 Nils Petter Molvær's ambient sound and light installation, Lucid Dream, was performed in Germany on the last night of May, 2014. The floating dreaminess of the music was enhanced by sound designer Jørgen Larsson and lighting/video artist Pekka Stokke. Molvær has elaborated the concept of the performance together with Beate Schüler, who was also the curator of the event. The performance, sounding the elusive territory of the consciousness, in close co-resonance with nature, has been conceived as a one-hour journey in five stations: Gong"; Bullfrog"; ...read more
Sometimes when forced into change, the best thing to do is toss what came before and shoot for something completely different. With Stian Westerhus leaving trumpeter Nils Petter Molvær's trio after three years of extensive touring and the sole, spectacular document Baboon Moon (Sula, 2011), Molvær's career--defined, since emerging in the mid-'80s with the acclaimed group Masqualero, by a restless drive for evolution and surprisingly regular revolution--was at a crossroad. If there's anything predictable about this spearhead to a new generation of Norwegian musicians with the groundbreaking Khmer (ECM, 1997), however, it's his complete and utter unpredictability. Who'd have imagined, ...read more
Scene Norway 2 Artist-in-Residence: Nils Petter Molvær King's Place, London, UK November 15-17, 2013 Walking into King's Place, in London, England, is an experience in itself. A building opened in 2008 near King's Cross station in downtown London, it was built with the kind of foresight that is rare these days. Above ground is office space, largely occupied by The Guardian newspaper, along with two restaurants and a large, welcoming open space with plenty of comfortable seating for people to meet, work and socialize together. But it's the below-ground space that has ...read more
Nils Petter Molvaer has long reached the musical excellence that places him amongst the most accomplished contemporary jazz musicians. As an early exponent of Nu Jazz, he mapped out a virgin musical territory and contributed to the branding of the Nordic Sound, today a genre in its own right, and still in full expansion. Molvaer's sonic hallmark--traced back to Miles Davis by many jazz critics, and accredited by himself to Jon Hassell--has that unique quality in which the ethereal dreaminess of tone and the abyssal richness of textures coexist. His most recent collaboration project, realized together with the ...read more
With the breakup of his trio responsible for the superb Baboon Moon (Sula, 2011), it's been a fair question to wonder: what's next for Nils Petter Molvær? One possible answer is certainly 1/1, the Norwegian trumpeter's debut with German multi- instrumentalist and influential techno producer Moritz von Oswald and his nephew, Laurens. The trio's debut performance at Kristiansand, Norway's 2013 Punkt Festival, while strong, was largely misleading; the show certainly occupied some of 1/1's more ethereal territory, but Molvær and his partners also traveled to far more beat-driven, danceable terrain. Better, perhaps, for live performance, but being a ...read more
While Nils Petter Molvær's last release--the first after breaking up his band of ten years--demonstrated plenty of change for the Norwegian trumpeter, he still relied on two of that group's most significant players: live sampler Jan Bang and, most importantly, guitarist Eivind Aarset, who contributed to eight of its ten tracks. Still, Hamada (Sula, 2009) began to move away from the programmed beats of er (Sula, 2005), towards a harder-edged sound--driven, in no small part, by drummer Audun Kleive's thundering work on one of the album's strongest and most decidedly different tracks, Cruel Altitude." The explosive combination ...read more
Trumpeter/composer Nils Petter Molvær is one of the main exponents of Nordic Jazz--a geographic ramification that has acquired, especially during the last decade, the status of an independent genre. He has created his own style by combining traditional instrumental elements with electronic sound processing: a fusion characterized by pregnant rhythmical patterns and a meditative mood. Molvær performed recently at the 2010 Enjoy Jazz Festival in Mannheim, Germany, with Food--Thomas Strønen and Iain Ballamy--also featuring Christian Fennesz, and is preparing to record the follow-up to his well-received Hamada (Sula, 2009) with his current trio that also includes guitarist ...read more
It's been four years since Norwegian trumpeter/Nu Jazz progenitor Nils Petter Molvær released a studio album (excepting Re-Vision (Sula, 2008), a collection of film music). When he performed at Punkt '07 in Kristiansand, Norway, it was one of his final performances with his longstanding group of guitarist Eivind Aarset, live sampler Jan Bang, turntablist DJ Strangefruit and drummer Rune Arnesen. Aarset and Bang return on Hamada, but it's a significant change for Molvær, representing a number of directional shifts and a sharp contrast to er (Sula, 2005).Molvær's music is cinematic in scope; soundtracks to the imagination, his albums ...read more
There's no overstating the impact that Nils Petter Molvær's debut CD Khmer made when it was released on the ECM label in 1997. The Norwegian trumpeter/composer was no stranger to ECM and its founder/producer Manfred Eicher-- Molvær had been a member of the collective jazz group Masqualero, that had released records on the label, and he'd played on sessions by ECM artists such as percussionist Robyn Schulkowsky. With his impeccable European jazz credentials and his winsomely melodic, atmospheric trumpet playing--distilled through a host of influences like Jon Hassell, Brian Eno, and Middle Eastern and Norwegian music--Molvær was, in a sense, ...read more
Despite ample evidence to the contrary, for many people trumpeter Nils Petter Molvær is synonymous with understated, electronica-drenched, ambient music. The perception gets stronger the further the Norwegian's name travels from its home turf, despite his record company's best efforts. In 2006, Sula Records released the fierce, high temperature An American Compilation, partly to increase Molvær's profile in North America, partly to define it more accurately. To little avail. Beyond his core audience, the trumpeter continues to be known as the soundscape man.
Molvær, in fact, is a master of both chilled out sonic backdrops and intense, rhythmically ...read more
Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3
Punkt 08's first day of full programming was a full one. In addition to five concerts and three live remixes, festival goers were treated to a lengthy public discussion between Brian Eno and Jon Hassell that proved as entertaining as it was enlightening. Punkt has also been running daytime seminars since inception, but this year another rare and equally enlightening event was Gavin Bryars' lunchtime session, with a performance later that evening that was, along with Nik Bartsch's Ronin, one of the most eagerly anticipated shows of the festival. And ...read more
The music of Norwegian trumpeter/Nu Jazz progenitor, Nils Petter Molvaer, has always been cinematic. Call it music for a non-existent movie or a film of the mind, Molvaer's albums, beginning with the groundbreaking Khmer (ECM, 1997), have always been about aural landscapes evocative of highly personal imagery and plenty of club-ready grooves. Even in performance, the lighting provided by Tord Prince of Darkness" Knudsen is intended to provoke the imagination rather than focus attention on the musicians.
It's no surprise, then, that Molvaer has been recruited to provide music for film. His score for the 2005 ...read more
Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4
As 5:00 PM approached, anticipation of the first official day for Punkt 07 continued to grow. The Agder Theater is a beautiful venue, with a large bar area for meeting up with artists and other media folks from as far away as Japan and China. Like the increasingly cosmopolitan makeup of the musicians who have come to perform at Punkt, there's a large contingent of writers to ensure that the word about Punkt continues to spread.
Yet another unique ...read more
Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4
Returning to the town of Kristiansand, Norway is more like a homecoming than a holiday (or work). That's because, unlike so many other festivals, Punkt is as much about community and relationship as it is music. It's hard to imagine a festival like Punkt taking place anywhere other than Kristiansand, situated at the southernmost tip of the country, and a strikingly beautiful place under any circumstances. Still, with the reputation of Punkt increasing every year, it is also becoming a brand of sorts, and will take place in London, ...read more
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