Nils Petter Molvær (NPM), Norwegian trumpet player, composer and producer, connects multiple music styles—jazz, ambient, house, electronic and break beats, as well as elements from hip hop, rock and pop music—and effortlessly melts them into convincing soundscapes of deep intensity.
Born in 1960 on the little island Sula (Norway), NPM was introduced to jazz from an early age by his musician father. After playing in school bands and local clubs he left Sula in 1979 to study music at the conservatory of Trondheim, where he developed his unique style and started to gain a reputation as one of Norway's emerging new talents.
His interest in both acoustic and electric music shows the ease with which he handles the conventions of pop, rock and funk, alongside those of modern jazz. These unique sensibilities soon established him as a much sought after musician in Oslo. After his intermezzo with the Norwegian jazz combo Masqualero, NPM was introduced to Manfred Eicher, who integrated him into his cast of musicians and studio sessions with ECM artists such as Robyn Schulkowsky.
NPM completed his debut album as a leader in 1997, Khmer, which focuses on a previously unknown blend of improvisation and hypnotically spinning beats, receiving extraordinary public and media response, and was honored with the German Record Critics Award and a Norwegian Grammy. ECM for the first time in its history released singles from an album. Khmer: The Remixes with remixes of The Herbaliser, Mental Overdrive and Rockers Hi-Fi was released based on the success with Khmer.
The eagerly awaited follow-up to Khmer, released by ECM in May 2000 entitled Solid Ether, intensified NPM's dialogue with club culture. The idea behind the Solid Ether concept is that a piece of music is never really finished and that composing and producing are an ever-evolving process. "'Ether does not exist, so how can it be solid? It's a paradox—like life."
NPM's album np3 released by Universal Music Group in 2002, sees him continuing the concepts that were developed through Khmer and Solid Ether by putting significant differing elements together to combine contrasting structures. A strong presence on np3 is NPM's soulful and creative use of new music manufacturing technology. "All these new tools are in themselves both positive and negative. The question is all about timing—when to stop the 'moment' and then freeze it and squeeze it." Time changes, sound changes, music changes "Being from a generation that didn't grow up with the traditional standards, this is a taste of my tradition.." To enhance the 'musical travel' experience that this is meant to be, NPM has added small ambient islands that bind the whole production together.