10 Songs, 40 Minutes

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Headphone Commute ,

Headphone Commute Review

World’s new favorite trumpet player returns to Rune Grammofon with Places Of Worship. Followed by experimental ambient, modern classical, and jazz communities alike, this Norwegian shaman of sound bridges the gaps of styles and forms with his unmistakably unique control of the instrument. Arve Henriksen doesn’t simply play the trumpet, the brass is merely an extension of his breath. This observation is confirmed by many Norwegian honors, including the Buddyprisen, Radka Toneff Memorial Award and Kongsberg Jazz Award. Among his numerous collaborations, most notably as a member of the Supersilent supergroup (which features Helge Sten, aka Deathprod, and Stale Storløkken), it is his solo works that I am mostly drawn to, three of which have already appeared on the Oslo based Rune Grammofon.

Perhaps nothing is more striking and enchanting than the opening of the album, titled “Adhān” (the Islamic call to worship, with the root of the word derived from the Arabic ‘adhina’, which means ‘to listen’). Set among a field recording of chirping birds and barely audible and very distant voices of the muezzin, we find Henriksen echo the motifs of the prayer with an instrument whose ambiance is lost among the wind. Suddenly the trumpet gets submerged in beautiful reverb, the strings come in along with orchestral arrangement, and we are fully enveloped by captivating textures. This is where we drown.

Deriving inspiration from various locations of worship, Henriksen composes ten tone poems set around religious buildings, holy places, and abandoned ruins. Although the music does not carry any particular religious connotation, it nevertheless touches on moments of reflection, introspection, and even the sudden fear of the unknown. This exalted sound exudes haunting beauty, spiritual sensitivity, and apparitions of those that have already left.

“Making the aura of these places audible, Henriksen’s haunted horn and idiosyncratic treble vocals carry an air of treading on forbidden territory, stirring up the dust of forgotten spirits.“

Another dazzling element of the album is the reminder of Henriksen’s distinctive soprano voice, which could be easily mistaken for that of a woman’s. It is particularly arresting on “Lament”, where it soars above falsetto range, resembling a flute-like melody with breathy overtones. If words did not contribute to the concept, one would easily draw an immediate parallel of tonal fluctuations between the trumpet and his voice. The moody pieces at times enter a shadow territory of dark ambiance (just as I like it), evoking specters, phantoms and ghosts of temples, churches and mosques, indubitably carrying the history, magnetism and energy of human praise, solitude and angst among these sacred places of worship.

The recording features additional appearances and samples from Jan Bang, Eivind Aarset and The Norwegian Wind Ensemble, most notable of which is the charming singing by Erik Honoré, on the very last track, titled “Shelter From The Storm”. Places of Worship is highly recommended for fans of Miles Davis, Jon Hassell, David Sylvian, Triosk and Fennesz. Be sure to also check out Henriksen’s past releases, Sakuteiki (2001), Chiaroscuro (2004), and Strjon (2007), all available directly from Rune Grammofon. For a quick tour of the label, track down the limited edition 4×10″ box set of favorite various selections celebrating 150 releases by the label, titled Sailing To Byzantium.

trospero ,

Sublime sounds.

In a world of "commodity music" whose soul has been eroded by disposable pop garbage, Arve Henriksen is a genuine oasis of sonic beauty.

About Arve Henriksen

Arve Henriksen is a classically trained musician whose ethereal, Japanese-influenced trumpet playing has placed him in a league of his own. He was born in Stranda, Norway, and educated at the Trondheim Conservatory. It was during his time at the conservatory that a friend gave him a tape recording of the shakuhachi flute. Henriksen was hooked. "I let the music 'ring' and develop in my head," he said. "I was astonished by the sound of this flute." His interest in minimalist Japanese music had a profound effect on his trumpet playing and his music career.

Henriksen collaborated with numerous musicians on avant-garde, minimalist, and Eastern-influenced music, working with artists such as Anders Jormin, Edward Vesala, and the Source before striking out on his own with 2001's Sakuteiki. He is also the trumpeter in the improvisational jazz groups Supersilent and Food, with Thomas Strønen, Iain Ballamy, and Mats Eilertsen; the latter recorded their debut, Veggie, in 2002.

Several albums followed over the years, including 2004's critically acclaimed Chiaroscuro, 2007's Strjon, and his acclaimed ECM debut, Cartography, in 2009. Henriksen's credits also include contributions to the works of other artists such as the Christian Wallumrød Ensemble, Arild Andersen, Jon Balke, Sinikka Langeland Ensemble, and David Sylvian, among others.

In 2012, he recorded Black Swan in duet with drummer Teun Verbruggen, and followed it with the vinyl-only box set Solidification, which collected his first three albums with bonus material, and a new recording entitled Chron. In 2013, he issued the completely solo Places of Worship to wide acclaim. The Solidification box set had sold well, yet fans who purchased the earlier recordings in their initial releases demanded that Chron be issued on its own. Henriksen and Rune Grammofon accommodated them. In February of 2014, they re-released it in a double package with a companion disc of new material and titled it Chron + Cosmic Creation.

Later that fall, he released The Nature of Connections, an album of new material that was closer to contemporary chamber music and North European folk than anything he'd done previously. The compositions were almost exclusively written by his collaborators, who included violinists Nils Økland and Gjermund Larsen, cellist Svante Henryson, double bassist Mats Eilertsen, and drummer Audun Kleive. For the next few years, Henriksen spent his time as a collaborator. He appeared on several recordings including Gjertrud Lunde's Hjemklang (2014), Langeland's The Magical Forest, and Tigran Hamsayan's Atmospheres (both for ECM in 2016). In February of the following year, Henricksen's collaborative album with Trio Mediaeval, titled Rimur, was issued by ECM. The recording consisted of 17 chants, hymns, folk songs, and improvisations based on ancient Icelandic, Norwegian, and Swedish sources. In June, Henriksen released his eighth solo offering for Rune Grammofon -- and ninth overall -- entitled Towards Language. With Erik Honore, Jan Bang, and Eivind Aarset as musical partners, the artist performed on trumpets, electronics, and voices. ~ Margaret Reges

HOMETOWN
Stranda, Norway
GENRE
Jazz
BORN
March 22, 1968

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