248

Nils Petter Molvaer: An American Compilation

By

Sign in to view read count
Nils Petter Molvaer: An American Compilation An American Compilation introduces stateside audiences to the electronica-meets-jazz sound of Norwegian trumpeter Nils Petter Molvaer. Mixing jazz, ambient, house, breakbeat and drum 'n' bass, Molvaer's sound is best summed up as "Neo-Cool. Seriously—all the elements of classic 1950's cool jazz are there, from Molvaer's sensual and lyrical playing (a la Chet Baker) to the lush, synthesized string arrangements (think Birth of the Cool electronica).

Molvaer's debut came in 1997 with the release of Khmer on ECM. An American Compilation, Molvaer's debut on Thirsty Ear, highlights tracks from earlier releases but also serves as a sneak preview of sorts for two new American releases by Molvaer scheduled for later this year: ER, which has already heralded rave reviews internationally, and Streamer, a live album.

Although An American Compilation is a "greatest hits record for all intents and purposes, it actually flows quite nicely. The energy peaks at certain points and levels out at others. Fast-paced tracks are followed by slower jams, giving the album a consistently interesting feel.

"Water is the album's best, a solid introduction to all that is Molvaer. "Nebulizer features the trumpeter soloing over a standard drum 'n' bass beat, a sound that is revisited throughout An American Compilation. Immediately following this lively and upbeat selection, Molvaer relaxes things again with "Kakonita, a soothing, textural track with multiple layers of ambience but no rhythm track to speak of. A "Kakonita remix follows, echoing the lush landscapes of Molvaer's Scandinavian homeland.

An American Compilation seems to slump with some of the beats added to the mix. "Solid Ether and "Darker, with a Michael Jackson-esque 1980s electro-funk feel, just seem dated, bland and uninspired. When Molvaer keeps it cool, his styling and technique shine and the sound is superb. In these moments An American Compilation is listenable, but when he takes a turn down Lounge Street, the record becomes a bore.

"Vilderness, recorded live in Hamburg, brings the beat back. Molvaer lays out over a solid breakbeat, sounding more modern and inspiring images of b-boys and b-girls hitting the floor, his trumpet egging them on and toasting the soundsystem.

This sort of back and forth sums up An American Compilation—when things are good, they are really good. I see Chet Baker and Miles Davis in a cutting edge, cross-generational conversation with Crazy Legs and Roni Size. When Molvaer turns towards house music for inspiration, things get too Euro-trashy for my tastes. Either way, ER is something to look forward to, and Thirsty Ear has done well to introduce this significant artist to American audiences.


Track Listing: Water; Solid Ether; Nebulizer; Kakonita; Kakonita (Deathprod Mix); Darker; Vilderness; Little Indian; Frozen; Tabula Rasa; Only These Things Count.

Personnel: Nils Petter Molvaer, Eivind Aarset, Pal "Strangefruit" Nyhus, Rune Arnesen, Audun Erlien, Raymond C. Pellicier, Sidsel Endresen, Ingebrikt Flaten, Knut Saevik, Helge Nordbakken, Magne Furuholmen, Reidar Skaar.

Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Thirsty Ear Recordings | Style: Electronica


Shop

More Articles

Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read The Invariant CD/LP/Track Review The Invariant
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read Akua's Dance CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Daylight Ghosts CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 21, 2017
Read "Sanctuary" CD/LP/Track Review Sanctuary
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 22, 2016
Read "Tribute to Andrezej Przybielski Vol. 1" CD/LP/Track Review Tribute to Andrezej Przybielski Vol. 1
by Karl Ackermann
Published: December 7, 2016
Read "Checkpoint" CD/LP/Track Review Checkpoint
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 16, 2016
Read "Obnoxius" CD/LP/Track Review Obnoxius
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: November 20, 2016
Read "Quartet 1991" CD/LP/Track Review Quartet 1991
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 9, 2016
Read "Rubicon" CD/LP/Track Review Rubicon
by John Kelman
Published: July 29, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!