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!

3

Kristin Norderval: Parrhésie

Geno Thackara By

Sign in to view read count
Kristin Norderval has a lot on her mind. Most of us do, of course, but most of us probably tend to keep some mental distance between the enjoyable pleasantries (art, music obsessions and the like) and the remainder of life that's somewhat less fun (worries about society or the future of the planet). Norderval isn't like most of us; for her it's all inseparable. Her instrument is the voice, and what she's feeling is what comes out at the microphone. It's sublimated into singing, murmuring, cooing, wailing and anything else the human larynx is capable of.

It's an approach aptly suited to the title Parrhésie, a term which apparently means "bold, fearless speech and a compulsion to speak the truth even at personal risk." The recording was first planned against the backdrop of the Paris COP21 talks and with Pope Francis's anti-capitalism encyclical prominently in their minds—clearly issues worthy of the name. Fellow experimental artists Ida Heidel and Nusch Werchowska make the other partners in "spontaneous combustible collaborative composition" here, and all are equally willing to stretch conceptions of what they and their instruments can do. While nothing resembles a melody more than vaguely, the trio aim instead to paint moods and dynamic arcs with pure sounds alone.

The trio's backgrounds are rooted in free improvisation, classical and opera, and naturally it makes for an album toward the loosest avant-garde end of the scale. Werchowska's treatment of the piano avoids any structure with seemingly aimless harmonics, often involving knocking its frame or tapping the strings rather than hitting keys. Likewise, Heidel flutters and breathes through her flute more than she plays recognizable notes. The dialogue is a slow game of call-and-answer that demands nothing if not patience.

A few stray phrases in the beginning suggest some thoughts about nature amid a bed of soft taps and chimes; for the rest of the album the voice becomes another wordless instrument to be manipulated according to the whim of the moment. Norderval gives a rollercoaster of vocal acrobatics throughout: swooping soprano lines, aria-worthy capering, slow chants and formless sound-shaping all make part of the mix. Relying on whatever sounds they can make in the moment and swearing off edits or overdubs, they manage a balancing act that turns out every bit as abstract and unpredictable as it looks. Parrhésie is like a soundtrack to some film that could never exist outside their own heads: dreamlike, passionate and consistently baffling.

Track Listing: Toxic Legacies; Polar Bear; Icecap Meltdown; Oyl in These Harbors; Apolune; Perihelion; Apoapsis; Periapsis; Apogée; Perigée; This Is the Old Song.

Personnel: Kristin Norderval: voice, laptop (live processing); Ida Heidel: flutes, small percussion, voice; Nusch Werchowska: piano, inside and out.

Title: Parrhésie | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Losen Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Bricks CD/LP/Track Review Bricks
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 17, 2017
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 "Pekka" CD/LP/Track Review Pekka
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 22, 2017
Read "The Willisau Concert" CD/LP/Track Review The Willisau Concert
by John Sharpe
Published: October 24, 2017
Read "Duality: Particles & Waves" CD/LP/Track Review Duality: Particles & Waves
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 16, 2017
Read "Just Friends: Live at the Village Vanguard" CD/LP/Track Review Just Friends: Live at the Village Vanguard
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: September 19, 2017
Read "Unnatural  Events" CD/LP/Track Review Unnatural Events
by Roger Farbey
Published: August 16, 2017
Read "My Tongue Crumbles After" CD/LP/Track Review My Tongue Crumbles After
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 1, 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!