13

Jon Balke: Warp

Karl Ackermann By

Sign in to view read count
Jon Balke: Warp Best known for his Magnetic North Orchestra, pianist and composer Jon Balke has a background that is rich with global influences and diverse musical stylings. Trained as a classical pianist in his youth, Balke was playing with Masqualero on Bande à Part (ECM, 1985) by the time he was eighteen. That recording, in the company of Arild Andersen, Nils Petter Molvaer, Tore Brunborg and Jon Christensen, set some enduring musical relationships in motion, with all but Andersen going on to play in Balke's Oslo 13 debut, Nonsentration (ECM, 1992).

With forays into such cross-pollinated sources as Arabic poetry and baroque, stripped down solo piano, (played from the inside and outside) and multimedia projects that blend music and extreme sports, Balke has lived an unbounded creative life. On Warp he takes yet another creative approach with a mix of solo piano and augmentations that are cleverly placed below the surface. Along with every-day field recordings, vocals from Mattis Myrland and Wenche Losnegaard and spoken words from Balke's daughter, Ellinor Balke, are attention grabbing devices that lend a cinematic quality to Balke's playing.

The percussive "Heliolatry" is an improvisation augmented by subtle scraping; all of which floats into the ethos on the haunting "This Is The Movie." Broken up at mid-point, with a moderate flurry of notes, the piece dreamily drifts off. "Boldie," one of the more piano-only focused pieces, is classical in nature while "Shibboleth" is a more urgent avant-garde selection with the blurred spoken narration giving it an eerie quality. The effect of the distant vocals on the beautiful "Kantor" is completely engrossing and the piece lingers long after its conclusion. A second, extended, version of "Heliolatry" closes the album on a pleasingly spacey note.

Warp is a striking attempt to look at spaces, sounds and more traditional aspects of music working together. The shadowy elements that lurk below the surface are part of a thoughtful contemplation of the "place" of these characteristics within the music. Balke presents this experiment in the most appealing way; the subtle interactions are developed in a unique and organic manner and the net sum is one of Balke's finest achievements.

Track Listing: Heliolatry; This Is The Movie; Bucolic; On And On; Bolide; Amarinthine; Shibboleth; Mute; Slow Spin; Boodle; Dragoman; Kantor; Geminate; Telesthesia; Geminate; Heliolatry.

Personnel: Jon Balke: piano, sound images.

Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: ECM Records | Style: Electronica


Shop

More Articles

Read Disappeared Behind the Sun CD/LP/Track Review Disappeared Behind the Sun
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 29, 2017
Read Innate CD/LP/Track Review Innate
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: March 29, 2017
Read The Seasons CD/LP/Track Review The Seasons
by Edward Blanco
Published: March 29, 2017
Read Planets + Persona CD/LP/Track Review Planets + Persona
by Glenn Astarita
Published: March 29, 2017
Read avantNOIR CD/LP/Track Review avantNOIR
by Nicola Negri
Published: March 29, 2017
Read Peace and Love: A Tribute to Will Connell CD/LP/Track Review Peace and Love: A Tribute to Will Connell
by Troy Dostert
Published: March 28, 2017
Read "Saturday Songs" CD/LP/Track Review Saturday Songs
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: August 5, 2016
Read "Soundscapes" CD/LP/Track Review Soundscapes
by Jim Olin
Published: July 25, 2016
Read "Between Brothers" CD/LP/Track Review Between Brothers
by Jack Bowers
Published: March 29, 2016
Read "Metamorphosis" CD/LP/Track Review Metamorphosis
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 26, 2016
Read "Elegy" CD/LP/Track Review Elegy
by John Kelman
Published: January 20, 2017
Read "Love Song" CD/LP/Track Review Love Song
by Mark Corroto
Published: September 20, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

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!