431

Arve Henriksen: Strjon

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Arve Henriksen: Strjon Norwegian trumpeter Arve Henriksen continues to mine the space between the notes, the power of silence and the beauty of nuance on Strjon. Unlike Chiaroscuro (Rune Grammofon, 2004), which was based on live improvisations, real-time sampling and subsequent post-production, Strjon is a studio concoction. While there's equal collaboration and extemporization with keyboardist Ståle Storløkken and guitarist Helge Sten—two of Henriksen's coconspirators in the fearless and forward-thinking ambient noise group Supersilent—there's also structure to be found, based on sketches that in some cases date back to Henriksen's youth.

Those looking for delineated tunes with strong form and propulsive rhythms will be surprised to hear Henriksen achieve so much with so little. Henriksen's music occupies such a tranquil stasis that it's tempting to think of this as ambient music, but that would be a mistake. Henriksen places demands on his listeners, but is less concerned with notes and pulse and more about a selfless pursuit of sound as direct emotional conduit. All music evokes an emotional response, but rarely does it occur with such clarity, immediacy and simple elegance.

Strjon is the medieval name of Henriksen's hometown of Stryn on the west coast of Norway. The twelve pieces create a mental travelogue around aptly named titles like "Leaf and Rock," "Green Water" and "Glacier Descent." With the exception of occasionally clear guitar chords and Henriksen's trumpet—which is often disguised by a shakuhachi-like tone—it's difficult to know who is doing what here, nor does it matter. The music ranges from the sparsity of a lone trumpet on "Evocation," where Henriksen's firm control of multiphonics creates a sound paradoxically soft and harsh, to the keyboard-driven and darkly spiritual "Ancient and Accepted Rite."

Reflective of a communion with nature, a background that's as much contemporary classical music as it is ethnic folk music and minimally jazz by conventional definition, Strjon does have moments of rhythm, though they're likely to be caused by the repeat of an echo or the striking of a bow on a guitar. The album marries the melancholy economy and lyricism of Chiaroscuro with Supersilent's ability to make noisy textures starkly beautiful, as on "Black Mountain." "Alpine Pyramid" is a fugue- like multi-layering of trumpets—expansively striking, despite an inherent subtlety that's consistent with the rest of the disc.

The Norwegian improvising scene is renowned for its focus on musicians as a means to an end rather than the end itself. Henriksen is undeniably accomplished, in particular in his ability to stretch the sound of his trumpet beyond conventional expectations. On Strjon he once again sets a goal of painting aural images evocative of a wide range of emotions rather than drawing attention to himself. Henriksen's ability to comfortably blend technology with sounds of an acoustic nature makes Strjon an otherworldly but wholly organic—and moving—experience.


Track Listing: Evocation; Black Mountain; Ascent; Leaf and Rock; Ancient and Accepted Rite; Twin Lake; Green Water; Alpine Pyramid; Wind and Bow; Strjon; Glacier on Descent; In the Light.

Personnel: Arve Henriksen: trumpet, voice, keyboards, electronics; Ståle Storløkken: keyboards; Helge Sten: guitars, bow.

Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Rune Grammofon


Shop

More Articles

Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Final Concert CD/LP/Track Review The Final Concert
by John Sharpe
Published: February 19, 2017
Read Desire & Freedom CD/LP/Track Review Desire & Freedom
by Glenn Astarita
Published: February 19, 2017
Read On Hollywood Boulevard CD/LP/Track Review On Hollywood Boulevard
by Budd Kopman
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Motorman's Son CD/LP/Track Review The Motorman's Son
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 18, 2017
Read "Niechęć" CD/LP/Track Review Niechęć
by Geno Thackara
Published: April 16, 2016
Read "Blue Canvas" CD/LP/Track Review Blue Canvas
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: January 4, 2017
Read "Life Compass On!" CD/LP/Track Review Life Compass On!
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 5, 2017
Read "The Stone House" CD/LP/Track Review The Stone House
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 27, 2017
Read "The Other Shore" CD/LP/Track Review The Other Shore
by John Sharpe
Published: September 26, 2016
Read "A Room of One's Own" CD/LP/Track Review A Room of One's Own
by Ian Patterson
Published: August 10, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

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!

Buy it!