Hvalfugl is a young Danish trio whose music straddles the awkward boundary between jazz and a rather ill-defined style of instrumental music which might be considered folk. This is despite prominently featuring two instruments which barely feature in the genreelectric guitar and piano.
If one is to define a style, it surely shouldn't be through the tools of expression but by the forms used. In this sense, the tunes on both their first two albums are principally measured, even symmetrical, at least as expected in the folk idiom. However there is interplay between the musicians that suggests ample room and probably inclination for improvisation. And, if the element of surprise is a requirement for jazz, then that too is featured, although the overwhelming feeling is continuous flow.
Their format, as well as the direct simplicity of the tunes (not to forget the clarity of the recording) bring Esbjorn Svensson to mind but, without any dedicated percussion and with a lot of echoey guitar, they are more ethereal. From the opening "Himmelbjerget," the album continues in reflective mood, usually led by Jeppe Lavsen's measured and melodic guitar. There is little treatment on this or on Fjord Bredholt's piano, creating a lot of space in the mix. Other titles reflect this style too, "Mens Vi Sover" (While we sleep) and the final, title track "Som en Faldskærm" (Like a Parachute).
With the tunes being predominantly rather melancholic too, this album has an archetypal Scandinavian feeling. Although recorded in England, the band operates largely in continental Europe, out of their base in north-east Denmark. This album may be their first step across the North Sea, and could well take them much further.
Himmelbjerget; Jeg Venter Herhjemme; Fragment #1; Opvågning; Vals I Vallonien; Ode Til Birk; Utopi; Mens Vi Sover; Lystrup;
Fragment #2; Mellem Bække Og Bakker; Som En Faldskærm.
Jonathan Fjord Bredholt: Piano & Harmonium; Anders Juel Bomholt: Double Bass; Jeppe Lavsen: Guitar.