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Veslefrekk: Valse Mysterioso

Eyal Hareuveni By

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Ten years after releasing its self titled debut, this Norwegian trio, three quarters of the electro-jazz-improv combo Supersilent, convened again to record another gem which is supposedly its farewell release. The members of Veslefrekk—Ståle Storløkken on analog synthesizers and piano, Arve Henriksen on trumpet and voice, and Jarle Vespestad on drums—met at the Trondheim Music Conservatory and were active as a trio since 1989. In 1997, in an unrehearsed and improvised concert at the Bergen Jazz Festival, this trio metamorphosed into a quartet, Supersilent, when producer and electronics wizard Helge Sten, aka Deathprod, joined the trio, playing on the so-called audio virus.

Since its inception Supersilent has gained a reputation as an improvising band that can draw references from Miles Davis' Bitches Brew era, trumpeter Jon Hassell or Brian Eno's ambient collages, King Crimson in its most daring excursions or current noise experiments—and construct from its myriad sound sources and influences mesmerizing epic symphonies. So far their four releases have defined the aesthetics of the Norwegian Rune Grammofon label.

In the last decade all three members of Veslefrekk have become active in some of the most noteworthy ensembles in Norwegian jazz. Storløkken played with guitarist Terje Rypdal, drummer Audun Kleive's Generator X band and led the band Bol, collaborating lately with Food's drummer Thomas Strønen. Vespestad plays in pianist Tord Gustavsen's trio, with trumpeter Nils Petter Molvaer and Stian Carstensen's Farmers Market and with jazz singer Silje Nergaard. Henriksen is by now a renowned solo artist, having played in the band Food and in the ensembles of saxophonist Trygve Seim and keyboardists Christian Wallumrød and Jon Balke.

On April of this year the original members of Veslefrekk convened again to record Valse Mysterioso , which leaves behind the electronic soundscapes of Supersilent as well as the anonymity and the mystery that surrounds all Supersilent releases. The release of this disc on reed player Karl Seglem's NORCD label was celebrated last September in a concert in which Veslefrekk transformed into Supersilent. The twelve compositions reveal a trio with a distinct acoustic sound that focuses around the sonorities of the instruments and brings together the eerie beauty of Storlokken's analog synths, sometimes sounding like another brass instrument that matches Henriksen breathy trumpet playing and Henriksen's falsetto vocals, with the minimalist drumming of Vespestad.

All twelve compositions lean towards the slow, simple and lyrical edge, creating an untimely atmosphere in the same manner as Supersilent, but on a much more modest scale with a bare minimum of instrumentation. Six compositions, including the meditative "Hermans dans" and the beautiful "Josefins vals," are based quite loosely around dance forms. The disc opens with a synth-laden version of "Valse Mysterioso" that sets the tone for the trio sound and ends with an even more beautiful acoustic version of the same song. This moving chamber release is another testimony to the close affinity between these excellent musicians, as well the breadth of the current Norwegian jazz and improvised scene.

Visit Arve Henriksen and Supersilent on the web.

Track Listing: Valse Mysterioso; Ballade; Dark fragments; Chaina waltz; Hermans dans; Seawaltz; Josephine vals; Perlemoskyer; Fin; Rolig (til Oliver); Jala; Valse Mysterioso

Personnel: St

Title: Valse Mysterioso | Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: NORCD

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