580

Kornstad: Dwell Time

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Since emerging in the 1990s with Wibutee, saxophonist/flautist Håkon Kornstad has gradually evolved into one of Norway's most exciting and innovative players—a description that would, no doubt, be applied by a broader international audience were he to recieve the exposure he so richly deserves. In recent years, combining unparalelled extended technique on his instruments with equally imaginative use of live electronics, Kornstad has become a solo artist like no other. Single Engine (Jazzland, 2007) demonstrated this intrepid player's ability to create real-time orchestral sonics almost entirely on his own, with only a handful of guests on a few of its ten tracks; on Dwell Time he goes it completely alone, for an album that expands on Single Engine, all the more remarkable that it was recorded over two nights in an Oslo Church with no overdubs and only minimal post-production editing.



Kornstad isn't alone in his use of multiphonics; what does distinguish him is his abilty to create consonant harmonics that result in appealing voicings rather than the usual dissonant screeches. But here, his techniques have expanded even further, to include all manner of percussive textures, fluttering overtones and, quite simply, sounds that shouldn't come from a saxophone, flute, or flutonette—a strange hybrid of flute and clarinet. Like fellow Norwegian envelope pushers including Arve Henriksen, Sidsel Endresen, and Eivind Aarset, Kornstad stretches the definition of what his instruments can be by honing new techniques to the point that they're part of a larger sonic arsenal, allowing him to make music that possesses all the elements most think of as fundamental: melody, harmony, and rhythm.



The music may be all-improvised, but even when creating something from nothing, Kornstad thinks compositionally, with the three-chord vamp of "Oslo" easily convertible to a pop tune, were he to add other players. But, in reality, Kornstad doesn't need a bassist, a drummer, a guitarist, a keyboardist; what makes it so compelling is its possession of everything a song needs, from the bass saxophone riff, peppered with percussive hits, to his layered tenor harmonies and motif-driven melodies. Created in-the-moment, it's also perfectly constructed.



There are additional song-driven improvisations, including the swinging 6/8 of "Noir" and more atmospheric "Klaff," but Dwell Time's largely dark, intimate vibe is also broadened by freer-flowing pieces like the opening "Still One." "En Attendant Le Soleil" is a clear album highlight where, with his looped phrases and muscular main voice, Kornstad finds a nexus point where the stark, barren landscapes of Norwegian saxophone legend Jan Garbarek's Dis (ECM, 1977) meet minimalism forefather Terry Riley's mantra-like "Poppy Nogood and the Phantom Band," from his classic A Rainbow in Curved Air (Columbia, 1969).



In performance, either alone or in duet with Sidsel Endresen, Kornstad continus to cement his position as one of the leading improvisers of the new millennium. With the exceptional Dwell Time, those unfortunate enough not to have access to Kornstad in performance can truly hear what the buzz is all about.


Track Listing: Still One; Oslo; Mongrel; Noir; En Attendant Le Soleil; Klaff; Wipeout; Streamer.

Personnel: Håkon Kornstad: tenor and bass saxophone, flute, flutonette, live electronics.

Title: Dwell Time | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Jazzland Recordings


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Elusive CD/LP/Track Review Elusive
by Geno Thackara
Published: September 23, 2017
Read Transitions CD/LP/Track Review Transitions
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: September 23, 2017
Read Incidentals CD/LP/Track Review Incidentals
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: September 23, 2017
Read Door Girl CD/LP/Track Review Door Girl
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: September 23, 2017
Read Heart Knows CD/LP/Track Review Heart Knows
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 22, 2017
Read Jersey CD/LP/Track Review Jersey
by Geno Thackara
Published: September 22, 2017
Read "Pletter På Solen" CD/LP/Track Review Pletter På Solen
by Nick Davies
Published: June 30, 2017
Read "Mist. Moss. Home." CD/LP/Track Review Mist. Moss. Home.
by Jim Olin
Published: April 10, 2017
Read "Xabregas 10" CD/LP/Track Review Xabregas 10
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 19, 2016
Read "The Attic" CD/LP/Track Review The Attic
by John Sharpe
Published: July 24, 2017
Read "Far From Over" CD/LP/Track Review Far From Over
by Mark Sullivan
Published: August 28, 2017
Read "Hourglass" CD/LP/Track Review Hourglass
by Paul Rauch
Published: May 18, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.