This record is a result of a collaboration that toured in Norway in 2012. Recorded in Rainbow Studio in Oslo. The constellation performed music in the mix of traditional folk, jazz and contemporary music. The first record with this band, The Nature of Connections, was released on Rune Grammofon in 2014 and presented only the acoustic orchestration.
The Norwegian trumpeter’s ninth album feels like an opaque and ambient jazz album you can walk right into. Truly, his instrument always seems on the verge of speaking.
The music of this album is a clear example of the deep-rooted migrational nature of our local existence. It is music of a remote past, marked by radically different life conditions. It is music from distant areas connected by wandering people in search of better life conditions. It is music handed down by word of mouth for a long time and finally documented in written form during the last century. It is music to be recovered, reconstructed and re-contextualized in an ongoing process of searching, appropriating and re-inventing, of sense making at the intersection of a resonating past and today's breathing.
Arve Henriksen's follow-up to his first solo CD, Sakuteiki, Chiaroscuro sees him exploring the same ethereal pastures, this time accompanied by sampling artist Jan Bang and percussionist Audun Kleive. As a result, the album has of course a fuller, busier sound, although the increment is discreet. Slightly closer in style to the softer moments of Supersilent, the album remains nonetheless the recognizable successor of Sakuteiki. Henriksen's trumpet is the heart and soul of the music, uttering simple slow-paced themes and lonesome calls. The artist sings wordless melodies, his falsetto voice becoming an extension of the trumpet, instead of the other way around.
There have been countless attempts to counteract the inherently boring nature of the CD as an artefact and the approach adopted by Feral shapes up better than some on the strength of this first release, which takes some excellent music by saxophonist Iain Ballamy (in the company of three young Norwegian musicians) and packages it with a set of intriguing print artworks by Dave McKean in an elegant library case. On the other hand, we may now be so accustomed to the blandness of the format that any attempt to escape it seems like a distraction. While debating this, it's important not to forget to play the disc, which is quite remarkable and a far cry from Ballamy's formative years in the sprawling bloke-jazz outfit Loose Tubes. Recorded live at the Molde Jazz Festival in 1998, it's astounding that this music seems to date from the very beginning of Ballamy's association with these musicians, given their obvious level of empathy.