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This Was the Pace of My Heartbeat

In the Country

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Album Review

This Was the Pace of My Heartbeat was marketed as Rune Grammofon's first jazz release. It's a debatable case (the Scorch Trio's first CD surely was not far from the jazz realm), but In the Country's debut is certainly the label's most mainstream release up to this point. Led by pianist Morten Qvenild, the man responsible for the smooth musical arrangements of the project Susannah and the Magical Orchestra, this trio takes its cue from the soft-spoken piano trios of the bop era. There's a bit of Charles Mingus in the writing and a touch of Lennie Tristano in the phrasing, but the group is successful at developing a personal sound, mainly through the use of extended techniques (some prepared piano and creative drumming). Qvenild's use of vibraphone overdubs enhances the late-night lounge feel of the music, while drummer Pål Hausken adds a certain level of quiet unrest by bowing and scraping cymbals. Paces are very slow and pensive, but light. Qvenild does not come through as a phenomenal pianist, but then again the context would be ill-suited for a display of virtuosity. The focus remains solely on melody, even though there is more going on underneath it than what meets the ear at first, and the listener is invited to let himself or herself get carried away on the gentle ripples of the trio's tunes. Highlights include the tender "How to Get Acquainted," "Aerial Dark Bright Round," in which a timpani roll and a few percussive notes of prepared piano are enough to renew In the Country's palette, and the yearning "Viggo," featuring timid yet moving vocals from Hausken in a style that is strongly reminiscent of Arve Henriksen's wordless ballads. Incidentally, Supersilent's trumpeter co-produced the album with the trio. ~ François Couture, Rovi

Biography

Formed: 2003 in Oslo, Norway

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '00s

Formed by students at the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo in 2003, the experimental piano trio In the Country perform a unique mix of jazz, classical, and rock. Showcasing the talents of pianist Morten Qvenild, bassist Roger Arntzen, and drummer Pål Hausken, the trio released its debut album, This Was the Pace of My Heartbeat, on Rune Grammofon in 2005. A year later, the group released its...
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This Was the Pace of My Heartbeat, In the Country
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