All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

404

Sigbjorn Apeland / Oyvind Skarbo / Nils Okland: 1982

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
On a per capita basis, creativity and innovation coming out of Norway is thoroughly disproportionate to a population straining to reach five million. With a particularly strong reputation for its intrepid exploration of modern technology and instrumental orthodoxy, there's also plenty going on without the benefit of laptops, turntables and effects processors. When harmonium player Sigbjørn Apeland, drummer Øyvind Skarbø and violinist Nils Økland—billed as 1982 Trio—performed at the top of Mount Ulriken as part of JazzNorway in a Nutshell 2010, there wasn't an amplifier to be found. Had the wind been blowing away from the audience rather than towards it, much of the subtler aspects of the trio's improvised set would have been lost. There's no risk in losing anything on the group's debut, 1982, demonstrating that the complexion of improvisation is absolutely dependent upon the environment from which it stems.

Rather than recording outdoors, surrounded by expansive vistas, Økland, Apeland and Skarbø recorded in Bergen's Grieghallen (Grieg Hall), a large concert hall as accustomed to large symphony orchestras as it is intimate chamber ensembles. 1982 Trio is all about in-the-moment creation, but its musical references are far more closely aligned with contemporary classicism and—no surprise, given Økland's reputation as an adventurous interpreter on albums like Monograph (ECM, 2009)—Norwegian traditionalism,. Mirroring its performance at the top of Mount Ulriken, 1982 Trio winds its way through a broad musical terrain, from spare, cinematic atmospheres—where Økland seems to breathe on his Hardanger fiddle rather than bow it—to denser audioscapes, with Apeland's droning, dissonant, near-microtonal chords ebbing and flowing with near-microtonality, as Skarbø thunders at times, elsewhere adding more delicate colors.

What is missing from this vinyl-only release is some of the humor that Skarbø injected partway through 1982 Trio's live performance, lending 1982 greater gravitas. Still, as serious—and, at times, deeply challenging—as 1982 is, there are long stretches of melancholic beauty, in particular the final of the five untitled improvised pieces, taking up all of side two. Contrasting the shorter, more angular pieces on side one, this 17-minute piece begins, paradoxically approaching silence, with Økland—playing either Hardanger fiddle or viola d'amore, both instruments possessing a number of resonating sympathetic strings—building gentle melodies over Apeland's evocative changes. Whether Apeland's slowly ascending chords are in response to Økland's desolate melodies or vice versa, the trio spurs the imagination with vivid imagery—all stark landscapes and flowing water.

And with Apeland's reedy harmonium meshing somehow with Økland's instruments to sound almost as one, Skarbø is left to provide contrasting textures, suggesting pulse on occasion, but just as often responding to the very same images Økland and Apeland imply. 1982 isn't all about beauty, but when it is, it's proof that, in its most fundamental form, it can be a bittersweet experience, where loss and regret coexist with optimism and joy. A thoroughly compelling debut from a singularly unique combination of acoustic instruments.

Track Listing: Five untitled tracks.

Personnel: Nils Økland:Hardanger fiddle,viola d'amore; Sigbjørn Apeland: harmonium; Øyvind Skarbø: drums.

Title: 1982 | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: NORCD

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

CD/LP/Track Review
Live Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Kjølvatn

Kjølvatn

ECM Records
2016

buy
Lumen Drones

Lumen Drones

ECM Records
2015

buy
Monograph

Monograph

ECM Records
2010

buy
1982

1982

NORCD
2010

buy

Related Articles

Read Always Forward CD/LP/Track Review
Always Forward
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 15, 2018
Read The Music of Richard Whiting CD/LP/Track Review
The Music of Richard Whiting
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: November 15, 2018
Read Barefoot Dances and Other Visions CD/LP/Track Review
Barefoot Dances and Other Visions
by Jerome Wilson
Published: November 15, 2018
Read Twinscapes Vol. 2: A Modern Approach To The Dancefloor CD/LP/Track Review
Twinscapes Vol. 2: A Modern Approach To The Dancefloor
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 15, 2018
Read Talking with Charlie - An Imaginary Talk with Charlie Parker CD/LP/Track Review
Talking with Charlie - An Imaginary Talk with Charlie Parker
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 15, 2018
Read The Gene Krupa Quartet: Live 1966! CD/LP/Track Review
The Gene Krupa Quartet: Live 1966!
by Richard J Salvucci
Published: November 15, 2018
Read "Combo 66" CD/LP/Track Review Combo 66
by Doug Collette
Published: October 28, 2018
Read "Monochrome" CD/LP/Track Review Monochrome
by Jerome Wilson
Published: October 4, 2018
Read "Contrast" CD/LP/Track Review Contrast
by David A. Orthmann
Published: April 1, 2018
Read "Roscanna" CD/LP/Track Review Roscanna
by Ian Patterson
Published: January 1, 2018
Read "You Eat My Food, You Drink My Wine, You Steal My Girl!" CD/LP/Track Review You Eat My Food, You Drink My Wine, You Steal My Girl!
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 7, 2018
Read "Running The Voodoo Down Volume 2" CD/LP/Track Review Running The Voodoo Down Volume 2
by Chris May
Published: October 1, 2018