You know what they say: nothing opens doors and wins people over like playing an instrument. It can make the most unlikely artist into a star. It may seem like rock guitarists or charismatic saxophone players get most of the attention, but learn to handle a tuba and it can really take you anywhere.
Maybe people don't quite say it like that, but it's still proven true for Daniel Herskedal. Voyage continues a scintillating travelogue that follows on from Slow Eastbound Train (Edition, 2015) and The Roc (Edition, 2017), while expanding his scope even further in beautifully imaginative ways. Herskedal doesn't write songs so much as compose miniature film scores, graceful and understatedly majestic.
This album's basic instrumentation remains the same as on those previous outings: tuba/trumpet, piano, percussion and some kind of string instrument, plus a guest on oud here. Yet this time the compass points more toward natural landscapes than desert music. While the tuba is not exactly an instrument known for subtlety, Herskedal is downright eloquent in making it cry and sing. He bounces through the opening "Batten Down the Hatches" while the group provides some rolling ocean swells. A low solo through the loping "The Great Race, Padua vs. Passat" builds to a series of soaring bird calls, while Herskedal's warm expressiveness turns "The Horizon" into a simple and achingly beautiful meditation. In other spots, he is just as happy to sit out and let Eyolf Dale's sparkling piano or Bergmund Waal Skaslien's viola carry things along (or both, as in their tandem coasting in "The Great Race").
Herskedal's performance is impressive, but it's his ever-growing voice as composer that gives this Voyage its zest and drama. From the early chug of a train ride to the slow glide of flight and the soothing summer sunset evoked by the beautiful closing fade-out, each expertly-crafted piece is another step on a journey that is still delightful to behold.
Batten Down The Hatches; Cut And Run; The Mediterranean Passage In The Age Of Refugees; The
Great Race, Padua Vs Passat; Chatham Dockyard;
The Horizon; The Gulls Are Tossed Paper In The Wind; Molly Hunt's Seagulls; Rescue-At-Sea
Operations; The Lighthouse.
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