Norwegian bassist Jo Berger Myhre is not new to the music scenehe has worked extensively with Nils Petter Molvaer's quartet, contributing to the trumpeter's Buoyancy (Okeh, 2016) and Stitches (Modern Recordings, 2021). But Unheimlich Manoeuvre is Myhre's first recording under his own name.
In experiencing the artistry of a new (to a particular listener) musician, it is helpful to look toward his touchstones, and Moleavar is a strong one for Myhre. His music contains a similar blend of jazz, ambience, electro drone-ism and expansive soundscaping which gives an impression of a soundtrack to the beginning of the universe, as galaxies are beginning to coalesce. His music captivates by presenting mysteriesthings that sound like radio waves surging in from deep space beside soothing pastoral washes which might serve as soundtracks to Claude Monet paintings.
Myhre uses his basses, a drum machine, a Moog Minitaur, a Grendel Drone Commander and "various analogue electronics" to do his musical world-building, and remotely he brings in syths, an organ, acoustic guitar and upright piano and, on one tune, a narration, from the Raymond Carver short story "I Could See the Smallest Things," recited by Vivian Wang. Berger curates all of this into a cohesive whole, surreal and eerie, organic sounds juxtaposed with the synthetic and otherworldly.
Cavernous echoings suggest immensity; organ bursts bring an extra-terrestrial church to mind; bowed bass lines suggest Earthly leviathans, lugubrious plankton eaters plying cold dark water for their sustenance, or immense "sun ghosts" circling stars surviving on the absorption of plasma.
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