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Album Review

Hilmar Jensson: Transparence

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Hilmar Jensson: Transparence
Given that not one of the eight tracks definingTransparence, the darkly compelling debut from Norway's HITRA, runs longer than six minutes, the quartet covers a lot of ground. Like a ticket out of isolation, Transparence transports your homebound head to the grey expanse of Northern Atlantic skies. Billowing by design, their clouds of music make you feel like you're floating above rain shadows and fjords.

Bonding together at Oslo's Norwegian Academy of Music, Hitra pairs Italian pianist Alessandro Sgobbio, and Iceland's guitar legend Hilmar Jensson, with Norwegian bassist Jo Berger Myhre, and drummer {{Øyvind Skarbø}, to create a quartet that make it their thesis not to leave any shadow un-exposed.

There's a good deal to be absorbed on Transparence and be absorbed into. Minimalist to the nth degree, Sgobbio's opening interlude "Lebtit" fractures the silence with the pulsing hum of the binary code while waves of Jensson's dreamily reverbed guitar define the human element. When Jensson's dominating, yet skittish guitar crunch and Sgobbio's jabbing piano threaten to pull "Sêtu" apart, the rhythm section holds firm, massaging the piece to a quieter, more needed consolation.

Myhre's sliding solo cries center "The Perfect Light Of Sandstad" and, in vastly cinematic terms, carries you out over the hundreds of islands and skerries that create Hitra, Norway's largest municipality. Over large stretches of quiet and turbulence we are led into the fluid, elegiac worlds of "Cité Des Poètes" and the defiant "Labtayt." Both performances serve as deep dives into the group's collective, explorative philosophy. By delicately balancing light and dark, the closing thriller "Lebenslauf" is all emotional tension and release as each player allows the other their space and time.

Track Listing

Lebtit; Sêtu; Künftiges; The Perfect Light Of Sandstad; Cité Des Poètes; Labtayt; To See Was To Be; Lebenslauf.

Personnel

Alessandro Sgobbio: piano; Hilmar Jensson: guitar; Jo Berger Myhre: bass; Oyvind Skarbo: drums; HITRA: author.

Album information

Title: Transparence | Year Released: 2021 | Record Label: Amp Music & Records

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