Erlend Apneseth - Fragmentarium
Erlend Apneseth is a very exciting fiddle player, who is also very productive. His previous release Salika, Molika with Erlend Apneseth Trio has been nominated for both the "Spelemannpris" and the Hyundai Nordic Music Prize.
This time around it's not his trio who is responsible for the release. On the album Fragmentarium, there is a kind of Hubro Allstars gathered, where especially guitarist Stein Urheim has crossed our keyboard a number of times. But we also know the drummer Hans Hulbækmo from previous releases with Apneseth. He is otherwise part of Skadedyr, which with the release Music was named the Record of the Week a couple of small years ago. The rest of the crew from Skadedyr is made up of Anja Lauvdal on keys, Fredrik Luhr Dietrichson on double bass and Ida Løvli Hidle on accordion.
It hardly surprises anyone that Erlend Apneseth with his Hardanger fiddle has a basis in folk music, but in all the releases I have heard this has been strongly mixed with a combination of jazz and contemporary music. This is especially true of Fragmentarium, where the mix is of a character where it is difficult to define a main ingredient.
The opening track Gangar is good, but at the same time maybe what strikes me the least on this album. But from here on the rest of the album it's a fascinating show. Low-pitched and subtle "Du Fallande Jord" is one of my favorites, but also the subsequent title track "Fragmentarium," with its unconventional vocal use is especially fascinating, and provides interesting pictures. And it doesn't really dabble at all after this.
Fragmentarium is released on both CD and vinyl. I have listened to the CD, and the sound on the Fragmentarium is brilliant. Great clarity and precision in the soundscape, and interestingly I also encounter this time at Tor Magne Hallibakken behind the levers, this time with Eirik Laa. Hallibakken has been responsible for a number of exquisite recordings based on folk music lately.
The combination of tense and fascinating music and outstanding sound ensure the victory in the Battle of Record of the Week award
Read more about Fragmentarium at Hubro
Trio Taus - Mozart: Divertimento KV563
Silky and light as a feather
Trio Taus was established in 2016, but consists of musicians who have a rich musical scroll, both individually and together. As Trio, in addition to the Divertimento in Ess major, they have also immersed themselves in Bach's Goldberg variations. Trio Taus also has a precursor - Duo Taus was formed 10 years earlier, and consisted of Liv Hilde Clock on Violin and Torun Sæter Stavseng on Cello. In 2016 they got with Ida Bryhn on Viola, and Duo Taus grew into Trio Taus.
All three musicians are members of the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra, and they all also teach at Barratt Due. In addition, Liv Hilde Klokk is violinist in the Oslo String Quartet, while Torun Sæter Stavseng is a solo cellist in Aurora Orchestra London, and also a member of the Cikada Ensemble.
Mozart wrote Divertimento In Ess Major just a month after one of his greatest symphonies and compositions was completed in 1788 - The Jupiter Symphony. The Divertimenti is at the other end of the scale in terms of size of the crew, and the category is usually used for lighter entertainment music. It is therefore easy to have wrong expectations for this work with Köchel number 563, which is also Mozart's only string trio. Some claim it would be just enough to call this giant trio of six-movements a chamber symphony, and that the Divertimenti title was a tactical move to reassure host brother Michael Puchberg, or others who might want to book a performance that could give some slams in a usually slender box. Easy listening was popular also in those days
Trio Taus delivers a brilliant interpretation of this Mozart trio. It is playful, feather-light and silky, and the magnificent second movement has a sincerity that I haven't quite heard in depth on other interpretations.
Morten Lindberg in 2L always has a masterful grip on the sound of his recordings, and I have written several times that this grip also contributes to the artistic and musical experience of the music. In this case, it brings us closer to the music.
Divertimento KV563 is released on a hybrid, multi-channel SACD, and I have listened to it both as stereo SACD on my primary setup and in multi-channel on the secondary setup. And although it is a wonderful reproduction in stereo as well, it is as always otherwise an enrichment to experience the 2L-recordings in multi-channel. It should also be mentioned that Morten Lindberg has just won Grammy for another multi-channel release - Lux, with the Trondheim Soloists and Nidarosdomen's Girl Choir. A release that was also one of ten releases voted for the Record of the Year in Audiophile.no for 2019 .
Divertimento KV563 is another brilliant release from 2L , this time with a great Trio Taus. The record lost on the finish line against Fragmentarium in the battle of the Record of the Week.
George Duke/Billy Cobham Band – New York 1976
New impressions of old heroes
This album is a kind of duplicate of an album released in 2016 under the name "Live 1976 From New York Hofstra Playhouse". Strictly speaking, this album should not have gotten in the way of recording new albums, but this is too important music to be bypassed. I still respond that the album is presented as Billy Cobham & the George Duke band. Not to mention that the 2016 release is presented as a Billy Cobham release. On the official release of another concert album with this quartet "Live On Tour in Europe" the band is titled as The Billy Cobham - George Duke Band. And at the introduction even "George Duke - Billy Cobham Band", repeated as "Billy Cobham and George Duke Band".
We start by presenting the band, which was a rather short-lived affair in the mid-70s. It consisted of four of the giants of the jazz fusion era, in particular Billy Cobham, George Duke, John Scofield and Alphonso Johnson. Everyone already had a distinctive musical signature, not least bassist Alphonso Johnson.
And to make it even more fun for the participants, we can start with Billy Cobham. He visited Miles Davis briefly in 1969/1970, before joining Mahavishnu Orchestra with John McLaughlin in 1971. He released his first solo album in 1973, the slightly legendary Spectrum. This band with George Duke was a bit of a sideline in his career, but a fruitful sideline. He had a very productive period in the 70s and 80s, but it must be said that his very best albums were the first three - Spectrum, Crosswinds and Total Eclipse. The latter is perhaps my favorite album, but the debut album Spectrum is often an audience favorite.
George Duke was about the size of Billy Cobham. He certainly got a boost in his career through his two-year very fruitful partnership with Zappa, with Duke-dominated Inca Roads as a highlight.
For guitarist John Scofield, this was at the very beginning of his career, and a springboard we get to believe. The real boost came when he replaced Mike Stern 2-3 years into the 80's and became one of the key members in Miles Davis's band.
And then there remains only Alphonso Johnson, an immensely distinctive bassist who came from Weather Report in 73-75, replacing Miroslav Vitous, and himself being replaced by the legendary Jaco Pastorius.
As we understand this is a pretty formidable quartet in the mid-70s, and the collaboration between Duke and Cobham in particular is extremely fruitful. This is a bit of a wrestling time for all the musicians, not least for George Duke, who gradually develops an even more funky style.
The previously mentioned album "Live On Tour in Europe" has been one of my decidedly favorite albums from this era, and due to the quartet's short existence, there has been no other material available, possibly with the exception of bootlegs that have gone under my radar. Then it is all the more gratifying when a new live recording emerges, this time from New York in 1976.
We immediately notice that the sound is not at its peak here, but that doesn`t matter if the music is at its peak. The album starts off with a couple of title tracks from the two Cobham albums Crosswinds and Panhandler, before moving on to one of the highlights, in "Floop the Loop", a tune by George Duke from one of his best albums - The Aura Will Prevail. And here young Scofield really shows up, which together with Alphonso really make their mark on this slightly long tune that concludes with a drum solo. And just to say that - the 70's is notorious for long and boring drum solos, but Billy Cobham is one of the drummers it never gets boring to listen to.
Another exciting highlight of the Cobham song Earthlings from Life & Time is another highlight. The same goes for a fun and surprising return from Frank Zappa's album Roxy & Elsewhere, where George Duke dominates both here and on the Zappa album. This one turns into the equally Duke-dominated Someday Space Lady, as it must have been George Duke who wrote. I have not succeeded in finding the origin of this song, but it has strong similarities to the song Space Lady on the previously mentioned "Live On Tour in Europe", so we believe this is a recomposition of this song. Or vice versa.
In conclusion, I can't help but pull out Uncle Remus, a funny George Duke song that was released both on the Zappa classic Apostrophe (`) and on George Duke's previously mentioned album The Aura Will Prevail. These were two very different interpretations, and this third from 1976 is also very different from the previous two - witnessing an exploratory musician.
I really shouldn't give a sixes to an album that has both mildly mediocre sound and unclear origin. But the enthusiasm and the joy of music over a brilliant musical reunion from the elite of the golden age of music leaves no choice!
Camilla Granlien - Jeg går i tusen tanker
Old songs rediscovered and performed with nerve
Camilla Granlien from Lillehammer has had an extensive production in the border area between folk music and jazz. She started in her youth as an electric bass player, but gradually turned to a track dominated by folk music.
In some of her previous releases, there are also significant elements of singer-songwriter style, but on the latest release Jeg går i Tusen Tanker, folk music predominates, dotted with a bit of gentle jazz. The reason for the album is that she has made a deep dive into the music archive in Hedmark. And on this trip Camilla has selected Jo Skaansar on double bass, Andreas Utnem on grand piano and Helge Norbakken on drums.
Perhaps the most well-known song on the album is an easy rewrite and extension of Alle Mann Hadde Fota, here under the title Alle Meinner. This is also perhaps the most jazzy song on the album.
But although I usually appreciate genre transitions, it is perhaps the most traditionally interpreted songs I value most on this album. These are often low-key, melancholy songs with a touch of tragedy in the corners.
And Camilla Granlien's great voice gives these songs an extra dimension, with their short-wave vibrato that creates a very special atmosphere.
Jeg Går I Tusen Tanker is released both digitally and on vinyl. I have listened to both, and especially the LP has a great sound reproduction, with an openness that enhances the musical experience.
Read more about Jeg Går I Tusen Tanker at Ta:lik
Bjarte Aasmul - Pinocchio Paradox
Engaged guitar music
Bjarte Aasmul grew up in the Alvermarka in Nordhordland, but as so many have moved into the city. And then of course we talk about Bergen.
And although Pinocchio Paradox is his debut album, there is no musical novice we are talking about. He has, among other things, time from Chickendales, the Bluesband line and Miami Vice Machine. And he has played in the tribute band Dark Side of the Wall since the beginning of the 2000s. And I'm not going to offend you by telling which band they're tribute to. But still funny that you should mention it, because one of the sources of inspiration on guitar that is tempting to assume is just David Gilmour. And it is precisely the lack of the long guitar tones with sonic modulations that gives it the association. And even Hank Marvin, I mean to see the shadow from on one of the tracks.
I also imagine that the opening track illustrates that Bjarte Aasmul once listened to Terje Rypdal. Not because the music can necessarily be confused with Terje Rypdal, but because he has here some of the same sounds and the long, floating lines of the guitar playing. It is otherwise a more rocky terrain than Rypdal usually is in, but not always.
Did I mention that the songs Birdie Tango and Fedje are my favorite tunes on the album? And I also just want to mention that the tune European is an instrumental political protest song, actualized on the occasion Brexit!
The co-conspirators are Eivind Kløverød on drums and percussion, Tore Tokle on bass, Anders Bitustøyl also on bass Einar Sogstad on keys, Elisabeth Lid Trøen on saxophone, Michael Barnes on saxophone and clarinet, and Are Ovesen on trumpet. And despite this rich lineup, we never doubt that this is a guitarist's album, a guitarist who obviously oozes with joy of play.
The sound of the Pinocchio Paradox is good, but I think Bjarte has a slightly excessive use of dirty sound on the guitar. Of course, this is a conscious choice, but in my ears the album would be even better with some moderation at that point.
Read more about Bjarte Aasmul