Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

17

Tigran Hamasyan/Arve Henriksen/Eivind Aarset/Jan Bang: Atmosphères

Karl Ackermann By

Sign in to view read count
Assembled at the invitation of ECM label-founder Manfred Eicher, pianist Tigran Hamasyan, trumpeter Arve Henriksen, guitarist Eivind Aarset and electronic sampling artist, Jan Bang came together for less than one half of a week in mid-2014 to create the double CD Atmosphères. There is a fair amount of inter-group history, Hamasyan being more the outsider but having worked with Bang at the 2013 Punkt Festival. There is, not surprisingly, a pristine quality to the music that one would expect from the ECM label.

These are all players of great subtlety and that is where the music—at well over two hours—is challenging. Bang's live sampling actually adds to the elusiveness of pointillism, as he feeds in, and out, the content of the other players as opposed using electronics as a stand-alone, instrumental variable. It requires patience and careful listening to uncover distinct soundscapes in many of these compositions.

The bass-less, drummer-less quartet is saturated in atmosphere (as the title would indicate) and the collection takes its time in building to a visceral impact. The mix of original compositions (mostly collective efforts) and traditional Armenian folk tunes opens with the classically framed "Traces I"; Hamasyan's piano set against the drone of Bang and Henriksen. On "Tsirani Tsar," Henriksen expertly mimics the Armenian flute leading to a more jolting "Traces II" where Hamasyan's torrent of notes meets an avant-garde backdrop. Similarly, "Traces IV" finds the quartet in an ethereal environment dominated by Henriksen's ethereal trumpet. The first disc closes with "Garun A," a beautifully haunting piece that highlights the lyrical talents of the pianist and trumpeter.

The second disc of Atmosphères begins in a more adventurous spirit with "Traces VII." At almost ten minutes, it builds to a swirling cacophony of delicately dropped notes from Hamasyan layered over his bandmates refined suggestions of discriminating technical artistry. Though more low-key, the subsequent "Traces VIII" has an off-kilter melancholy that is thoroughly engaging. "Shushiki" and "Hoy Nazan"—like "Garun A" from disc one—are compositions from an Armenian priest, musicologist and composer who came to be known as Komitas and whose history includes his exile by the Ottoman Empire during the time of the time of the Armenian Genocide in 1915. He is regarded as the founder of the Armenian National School of Music and is revered among the Armenian people and throughout Eastern Europe.

Within Atmosphères there is a sense of moving from the antiquity of Komitas to creative improvisation, neither completely independent of the other. Because the album successfully exists in two worlds, it has broad appeal and in equal measure for those with an affinity for either. Aarset and Bang's contributions may not always be distinct on first listen but the guitarist provides a denser layer to the music while Bang adds a minimalis variation of orchestration. Atmosphères is warm and appealing without being emphatic.

Track Listing: (Disc 1) Traces I; Tsirani Tsar; Traces II; Traces III; Traces IV; Traces V/Garun A; Traces VI; Garun A. (Disc 2) Traces VII; Traces VIII; Shushiki; Hoy Nazan; Traces IX; Traces X; Angel Of Girona/Qeler Tsoler.

Personnel: Tigran Hamasyan: piano; Arve Henriksen: trumpet; Eivind Aarset: guitar; Jan Bang: live sampling, samples.

Title: Atmosphères | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: ECM Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Makes the Heart to Sing: Jazz Hymns CD/LP/Track Review Makes the Heart to Sing: Jazz Hymns
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 16, 2017
Read Song of No Regrets CD/LP/Track Review Song of No Regrets
by Jack Bowers
Published: December 16, 2017
Read Sounding Tears CD/LP/Track Review Sounding Tears
by John Sharpe
Published: December 16, 2017
Read Lighthouse CD/LP/Track Review Lighthouse
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 16, 2017
Read Kill The Boy CD/LP/Track Review Kill The Boy
by Chris Mosey
Published: December 16, 2017
Read Rain or Shine CD/LP/Track Review Rain or Shine
by Jack Bowers
Published: December 15, 2017
Read "Pigs & Fairies" CD/LP/Track Review Pigs & Fairies
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 16, 2017
Read "Shropshire Lads: Songs to the Poems of AE Housman" CD/LP/Track Review Shropshire Lads: Songs to the Poems of AE Housman
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 23, 2017
Read "Birdhoused" CD/LP/Track Review Birdhoused
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: July 22, 2017
Read "Translator's Note" CD/LP/Track Review Translator's Note
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: July 28, 2017
Read "Beyond the Moon" CD/LP/Track Review Beyond the Moon
by Tyran Grillo
Published: August 12, 2017
Read "I Try To Remember Where I Come From" CD/LP/Track Review I Try To Remember Where I Come From
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 30, 2017

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!