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Trygve Seim: Helsinki Songs

Mike Jurkovic By

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Before revealing its more inert, contemplative rewards, Norwegian saxophonist Trygve Seim opens Helsinki Songs, his sixth disc for ECM as a leader/co-leader, with the rolling, pop-ish dance of "Sol's Song," sounding immediately recognizable, like a well-known theme song to some long gone sitcom or movie.

Written mostly in the grand Finnish capital, Helsinki Songs' eleven ethereal compositions quietly reflect the moody, autumnal characteristics of their surroundings. To serve the songs and their heightened sense of time and space, Seim brings together the playfully inventive Kristjan Randalu on piano, veteran bassist and fellow Norwegian Mats Eilertsen and atmospheric drummer Markku Ounaskari to deliver a rich, rippling cascade of melodies, often hazy, often fleeting, yet serenely lasting to the introspective fore.

The title track is an enticing waltz, Seim seemingly pulling music from the air around him, while the rhythm section holds its ground. Both "New Beginnings," with its slow Middle Eastern style drone courtesy of deep sustaining notes from Randalu and a tom-tom rumbling Ounasurki, and "Sorrow March," with Seim's forlorn keening, are haunting passages. Randalu and Ounaskari team up once again for the tricky, groove-induced "Randalusian Folk Song," with Seim again coming at you with spright, melodic swirls. Helsinki Songs may be, for some, too laidback, but it is a truly complete listen.

Track Listing: Sol's Song; Helsinki Song; New Beginning; Ciaccona Per Embrik; Birthday Song (For Mats Eilerts); Sorrow March; Nocturne; Randalusian Folk Song; Katya's Dream; Morning Song (Dedicated To Jimm); Yes Please Both.

Personnel: Trygve Seim: tenor and soprano saxophones; Kristjan Randalu: piano; Mats Eilertsen: double-bass; Mark Ounaskari: drums.

Title: Helsinki Songs | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: ECM Records

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