Everyone has to go home sometime. Daniel Herskedal and his tuba have covered a good many miles both figurative and literal over the course of seven albums, particularly with the travel-themed triptych of Slow Eastbound Train (2015), The Roc (2017) and Voyage (2019) that preceded this recording. Where each of those had its own small cast and geographical settings, Call for Winter is the sound of the artist returning home and settling down in solitude.
That expression isn't just figurative; Herskedal decamped to the north of Norway and turned his cabin into a working studio, where these dozen sonic poems were grown over a solo two-week winter retreat. The only sounds are tuba and bass trumpet, with some overdubbing and judicious use of subtle effects. The smart-spun compositions themselves can rest on simple melody and soft counterpoint, with the occasional touch of quaint folk or sinuous middle-Eastern scales. From low drones to stately floating lines and impressionistic tones, those simple tones are more than enough to portray the Nordic landscape in its natural quiet majesty.
As ever, Herskedal's masterful control produces a palette of sound that nobody else imagined the tuba could have. Individual notes are massaged with as much nuance as words from an expressive singer. Sharp breathing adds a light, percussive feel or lonely moan of wind. Other, more freeform colorings can suggest far-off bird calls or drift with the patience of ice floes. However they seem to meander, each organic line was crafted and played with exquisite care. Call for Winter is as stately and eloquent as the landscape deserves, a rich work made of simple elements arranged and rearranged to an endless variety of results.
Våkenatt; Call For Winter; Time of Water; The Hunting Golden Eagle; Lynx Tracks; Glacier Hiking; Ice Crystals; The Cliff Nest; Arctic Fox Tracks; Permafrost; The Vernal Equinox; By The Fire.