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Articles | Featured | Future

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mikkel Ploug & Mark Turner: Faroe

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While tenor saxophone heavy Mark Turner has toured with guitarist Mikkel Ploug's quartet for approximately a decade, the unique musical alliance developed between this pair has never before received such a high degree of attention. With Faroe, Ploug presents thirteen original compositions written or rearranged specifically to telescope their bond(s), explore the very essence of the melodic-harmonic communion, and artfully merge the precomposed and the improvised. Opening with the title track, a number that finds Turner's matte-finish melodies ...

HI-RES JAZZ

Dálava, Gordon Grdina and Mikkel Ploug: Songs Old, and Sounds New

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Strangeness--a word that connotes foreignness, otherness, and a sense of unease when confronted by the unfamiliar. The sound of recognizable musical forms may attract us, in the same way we are drawn to familiar faces or voices. The sound of a foreign language may set us on the alert; syllables we do not recognize, meanings we cannot understand. And what if the words cannot always cross the boundary from one language to another, and the meanings never be ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mikkel Ploug: Alleviation

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Alleviation is a fascinatingly winsome document showcasing what occurs when tool serves as muse. While out and about in New York in 2016, Danish guitarist Mikkel Ploug happened upon a musical curio--a mahogany-top Gibson Banner LG-2. The instrument, essentially a wartime relic made by the (mostly) female work force in Gibson's Kalamazoo plant in the early '40s, was a worn-down wonder, preserved yet clearly put through life's demands. But the personality, quality of sound, and innate character of this guitar ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Equilibrium: Liquid Light

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This European trio's third release is abetted by Songlines Recordings' pristine audio processes, which is a vital aspect since many of these tracks are quietly penetrating in scope and designed with ethereal atmospherics. The artists' specialty may lie within an artsy, avant-garde schema via a channel of electro-acoustic tone poems, enamored by Sissel Vera Pettersen's luminous and diffused wordless chants. Even though these largely temperate pieces are lithely woven amid the bumps, spikes, valleys, and a hint of new age ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Equilibrium: Liquid Light

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The concept of equilibrium is all about the balancing of opposing forces, actions, or influences; the music of Equilibrium is largely about the same, though some twists, focal point shifts, and ambient sound plays complicate and muddy the concept a bit. Equilibrium--a trio comprised of Belgian clarinetist Joachim Badenhorst, Danish guitarist Mikkel Ploug, and Norwegian vocalist Sissel Vera Pettersen--quietly yet boldly goes to places unknown, finding and creating the maximum in minimalist settings while blending voices and ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mikkel Ploug / Sissel Vera Pettersen / Joachim Badenhorst: Equilibrium

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Equilibrium is three-way partnership between Danish guitarist Mikkel Ploug, Belgian saxophonist and clarinetist Joachim Badenhorst and Norwegian vocalist and saxophonist Sissel Vera Pettersen. The trio's charming and ruminative mixture borrows elements of contemporary chamber music, jazz and various indigenous vocal traditions ranging from Inuit throat singing to West African griots and incorporates a variety of extended instrumental techniques and electronic processing. The trio revels in the sonorities it produces and each texture that arises exists in its ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mikkel Ploug Group: Harmoniehof

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Danish guitarist Mikkel Ploug, a rising player in the vein of such contemporaries as Kurt Rosenwinkel and Torben Waldorff, articulates his own vocabulary--one that contains folk, rock, and modern jazz sensibilities. Harmoniehof, the follow-up to Ploug's eponymous 2006 debut on Fresh Sound New Talent featuring saxophonist Mark Turner, further illuminates his tightly knit band. Turner's ubiquitous voice (constant session work, and a member of the critically acclaimed collaborative group Fly), has been an integral part of Ploug's ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mikkel Ploug / Sissel Vera Petterson / Joachim Badenhorst: Equilibrium

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Mikkel Ploug (electric and acoustic guitars), Sissel Vera Pettersen, (voice, soprano saxophone, live electronics) and Joachim Badenhorst (clarinet, bass clarinet, tenor saxophone) create a stunning ambience in the crystalline use of their instruments on Equilibrium. The motifs are often gentle, breathing in the air of classical music or in the pastoral turns of chamber music. This in itself would be attractive enough, but Pettersen ups the ante with her voice. Hers is an instrument that can shape sound and syllable, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mikkel Ploug, Sissel Vera Pettersen and Joachim Badenhorst: Equilibrium

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Controlled breathing is a centering, grounding device at the heart of many cultural and spiritual traditions. It is appropriate then that it should be the primary force and focus of Mikkel Ploug, Sissel Vera Pettersen and Joachim Badenhorst's Equilibrium. Human breath not only fuels Pettersen and Badenhorst's wind instruments, but is fully present in the resulting sound, the instruments used as much to project the breath as to transform it into musical tones. Pettersen's ethereal, often piercing ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mikkel Ploug Group: Mikkel Ploug Group

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Mikkel Ploug has been slowly, but surely, building a reputation for himself, and deservedly so. His live performances speak for themselves. This recording opens the door to his skills as a composer even while showcasing his considerable talent as a guitarist.

Ploug's writing has depth. His ear for melody is astute and he brings in different styles to lure the listener. As a guitarist, he paints a deep sonic canvas. His notes are robust and rounded, fleet in their dispensation ...