LAWRENCE CRANE/ASAMISIMASSA: Sound of Horse 2xLP/CD Hubro

laurencecrane

LAWRENCE CRANE/ASAMISIMASSA: Sound of Horse   2xLP/CD    Hubro

Awash with minimalism, Lawrence Crane collaborates here with Norwegian group, Asamisimassa, to produce a lengthy excursion into harmonious drones and notes, produced with a variety of instrumentation.

For the most part, this album saunters on at a drawn out pace; and would be more fitting of a theme to the world’s longest ballet played out in slow motion.  Unlike  the work of many an ensemble I have recently heard; at least ‘Sound of Horse’ has some modicum of direction and the story that it is trying to portray.

However, the downside in achieving an album that clocks in around the 55-minute mark, devoted to music that barely shifts gear; fundamentally leaves them with a release that feels like it lasts about 10 hours.  I found myself more often than not staring into space and not even listening to the music anymore, after what appeared to be a small age; but was in fact 15 minutes.

Very well played, exceptionally produced, but ultimately a snooze fest and cure for insomnia.

7/10

KIM MYHR: Bloom LP/CD Hubro

kimmyhrbloom

KIM MYHR: Bloom     LP/CD Hubro

Awash with an array of guitars, some 6 and some 12 string, some acoustic, some electric, Myhr, initially creates a sub SWANS effect on the opening number, ‘Sort Sol’; and overall this was a more than positive introduction to his work.

The following ‘O Horizon’, ‘Swales Fell’ and ‘Peel Me’ however, do lack somewhat after their impressive opener; coming across more as sound bites and experimentation, which is a massive shame.

The closer of this latest album, ‘Milky Run Sky’; is a mainly acoustic affair which gradually builds, gliding seamlessly along with various oddities arising to fill out the necessary backdrop.  Hypnotic and engaging, this closes the door on a release that I found conflicting and lacking a firmer essential middle ground.  There is no doubt as to the talents that Myhr possesses; but I sure as wish he had built a sturdier centrepiece to his work, where I found this most wanting.

7.5/10

ERLAND APNESETH TRIO: Det Andre Rommet CD Hubro

erland

ERLAND APNESETH TRIO: Det Andre Rommet   CD Hubro

Take one of Norway’s youngest fiddlers alongside a couple of sound explorers and the end result is this.  Music with its feet firmly planted in Norwegian folk tradition.

Gathering a real sense of urgency, rich tones are scattered and broken with a swift drag of a bow, as ambient textures breathe a frosty air amongst sparse tribal percussive elements.

There is an overall earthly and grounded feel to this release that plays with ethereal reverberation.  The fiddles echo as though played out from the crags above a dense forest; a call to nature and almost Pagan leanings that occasionally dip in to medieval reverie.

However, there is a down side.  As much as this plays out well as a whole, the experimental nature of this album takes over all too quickly; taking away some of the raw magic that was achieved with simplistic instrumentation and straightforward musicianship (as on the exceptional, ‘Magma’).  There is a time for messing about, but I applaud the simplicity that can be derived from pure ambience; and whilst this album has it in abundance; it is spoiled somewhat by a tendency to try and be too clever for its own good.

7.5/10

TRONDHEIM JAZZ ORCHESTRA/KIM MYHR & JENNY HVAL: In the End His Voice Will Be the Sound of Paper CD Hubro

trondheimJO

TRONDHEIM JAZZ ORCHESTRA/KIM MYHR & JENNY HVAL: In the End His Voice Will Be the Sound of Paper   CD Hubro

Top prize goes to this lot for the longest project and album title that doesn’t roll off the tongue.  This is of course, reflected by the rather large ensemble all these characters create when collectively piecing together an album.

For all their instrumentation, this collaboration is a relatively quiet affair; where percussive elements are kept to a minimum as Hval’s voice speaks out in a mouse like fashion amongst a bed of ominous viola, tuba and whatnot.

As the Jazz orchestra element suggests, this is just shy of being barking mad when everything does kick of musically; as though all the instrumentation is tumbling down a long flight of stairs.  Fanatics of the genre will be used to this of course.

Improvised in part I imagine, there is much on this to enjoy in fleeting glances.  Once again, this isn’t my cup of tea, but I do appreciate the elements that have gone into its creation.

7/10

THE ISLAND BAND/LARS MYRVOLL: Like Swimming LP/CD Hubro

likeswimming

THE ISLAND BAND/LARS MYRVOLL: Like Swimming   LP/CD Hubro

Myrvoll orchestrates here a team of Norwegian musicians into a sea of desperation.  Far from what the title suggests this is the opposite of swimming; in fact it’s closer to drowning when efforts are concentrated on this medium alone.

However, all is not what it seems.  Just as I was becoming engulfed in waves of anguish and grief, along comes the title track, in the vein of sickly sweet singer/songwriter, vomit inducing guff.

‘Like Swimming’ doesn’t know what it’s trying to achieve.  On the one hand, it will appeal to those who like disjointed ambient and cold obscure harmonies; on the other it will prick up the ears of those who like nauseatingly cute male/female vocals that sing in tandem with one another.  However, in mixing the two styles together, it ultimately alienates both audiences who would bin the album, rather than hear the other side of the coin play out.

The end result is an album that suffers majorly by its incompetent misguidance.

6/10

TRONDHEIM JAZZ ORCHESTRA/CHRISTIAN WALLUMRØD: Untitled Arpeggios and Pulses CD Hubro

trondheimchristian

TRONDHEIM JAZZ ORCHESTRA/CHRISTIAN WALLUMRØD: Untitled Arpeggios and Pulses    CD Hubro

Commissioned to compose work for the Trondheim Jazz Orchestra for the Kongsberg Jazz Festivals 50th celebration (yes, 50th); Wallumrød has rallied the throng to produce one 50 minute long ensemble of slowed down grinding pulses, that seep through a bizarre and sporadic stop-start collection of beats and brass instrumentation.

It is as bizarre, but unfortunately as drab as it sounds on paper.  I applaud the effort made in coming together to produce such work and there is no doubt in my mind as to the collective, as well as individual skill each person brings to the table; it’s just that as a whole, this is quite a ludicrous soul-sapping spectacle to endure.

As much as I laughed out loud at certain points (which I am sure is not the result they were after) there was little for me to enjoy on a personal level. For once, I am also at a loss to how this works live, unless they’re billed as Kongsberg’s answer to alternative comedy.

6/10

IVAR GRYDELAND: Stop Freeze Wait Eat LP/CD Hubro

ivargrydeland

IVAR GRYDELAND: Stop Freeze Wait Eat   LP/CD Hubro

Grydeland’s second full-length solo album is strange beast overall and one that is quite hard to pigeonhole. Considering the array of instrumentation at his disposal and numerous press reports pencilling him as Jazz; I was more than surprised to find much of this album falling into Lo-Fi, ambient and glitch territory.

Guitar delays looped over loops make for a hypnotic journey; and a key element in Ivar’s success at this, is knowing when to stop and change course. There are moments on ‘Stop Freeze Wait Eat’ that leave the listener hanging in an aural cavern of nothingness, as wisps of machine head harmonies occasionally flutter past sporadically.

There is a method to the numbing serenity that Grydeland brings to the table; and whilst this might not be up everyone’s street, there is a lot to be said for listening to this album whilst sat looking outside a window on a miserable rainy day, such as I am now. If nothing else, it makes for a fitting soundtrack.

7.8/10