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Solid Ether

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Album Review

Like 1998's Khmer, Solid Ether is an unusual addition to the ECM catalog, reflecting the Norwegian trumpeter's continued fascination with drum'n'bass, jungle, and other underground club genres. Molvaer's work in this idiom is indicative of a new wave sweeping Europe and Scandinavia, where boundaries between jazz and electronica are being creatively blurred by a growing number of forward-thinking artists. (The trend is catching on in the States as well.) Molvaer's trumpet is consistently in the forefront, as is the case in the music of his French contemporary, Erik Truffaz. This will inevitably prompt comparisons with Miles Davis, and Molvaer indeed credits Davis as a major influence in his musical development. The music on this record, however, sounds nothing like Davis ever played nor could have foreseen. (That said, in all likelihood he would have heartily approved.) With its driving beats, spare-to-barren harmonies, and dense atmospherics and samples, Solid Ether breaks completely with traditional notions of jazz performance. Most of its tracks segue directly from one to the next, creating a seamless "mix" in the style of much experimental dance music. While ten guest artists are credited in addition to Molvaer (including guitarist Eivind Aarset and DJ Strangefruit, aka Paal Nyhus), they don't often play clearly delineated "parts" or solos. One exception is the two-part "Merciful," which pairs Molvaer's piano with the vocals of Sidsel Endresen, bringing Annette Peacock to mind. Not everyone will "get" this kind of music, and die-hard jazzers might laugh it off as an inconsequential fad. But it's actually a seismic innovation that is just getting started. ~ David R. Adler, Rovi

Customer Reviews


Stirring music, fusing hectic drum and bass / electronica with more reflective jazz sounds with grace and soulfulness. Highly recommended.


Born: 1960 in Sula, Norway

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Avant-garde jazz trumpeter Nils Petter Molvær was born on the small Norwegian island of Sula in 1960, and though he learned a lot playing in local bands, in 1979 he chose to leave his hometown to study at the conservatory in Trondheim. As a member of the nu jazz group Masqualero, Molvær became associated with the ECM label, which later released his first solo material. In 1998, Khmer, which incorporated ambient, house, and electronic sounds along with his trumpet, came out, followed two years later...
Full Bio

Top Albums and Songs by Nils Petter Molvær

Solid Ether, Nils Petter Molvær
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  • $11.99
  • Genres: Jazz, Music
  • Released: May 05, 2000

Customer Ratings