Some month ago I should have written a review of the new album of Arve Henriksen, the next after the beautiful Cartography published in 2008 for the historical ECM.
In my defense I would to say that it is never too late to listen a CD of good music. Arve Henriksen is a refined trumpeter, with a jazz formation, and if you’re thinking it is strange its presence among the reviews of this site, you must know that the Norwegian composer showed a passion for electronic instruments and synthetic sounds already in previous years.
After a masterpiece as Cartography, already soaked of computer sounds thanks to the collaboration with Jan Bang and Erik Honoré, Henriksen composed a new album which opens to a dialogue between traditional and electronic instruments.
Of Cartography the Norwegian composer retains much of the formula: ambient tracks, very large, sounds stretched and relaxed, perfect blend of. electronic sounds. Even the group is the same, at least as regards the technological collaborators, which used a large amount of instruments and sound transformations: programming, live sampling, synthesizers, synth bass and samples, all harmonized with the trump of Henriksen.
Tracks: 1. Adhān 2. Saraswati 3. Le Cimetière Marin 4. The Sacristan 5. Lament 6. Portal 7. Alhambra 8. Bayon 9. Abandoned Cathedral 10. Shelter From the Storm
It is simplistic to limit the contribution of Bang and Honoré to a simple collaboration, since their contribution is much important, essential for the album final result, for its sophistication and the amazing balance of the parties. Moreover, the beauty of Henriksen’s works in that beautiful and delicate balance among the soft melodies performed by trumpet and the amalgam of discrete electronic sounds.
Already in Cartography we had enjoyed the fine balance of weights, the compositional skills of Henriksen, his capacity to paint sound pictures, without suffocating the natural prominence of the trumpet with details, indeed emphasizing it, letting us appreciate every single note.
In Places of Worship, Henriksen was inspired by mysticism of religious architectures, composing 10 tracks of amazing instrumental proportions, a music which invites to reflect, to stop on the beauty of sounds and melodies
I wanted to show some track more exciting than others, but in the end I realized that a verbal autopsy would stifle the heat that radiates from the whole album, from start to finish, on every single piece, without a break. However I cannot deny that some sound passages have embraced me more than others; so, I think to the opening of Adhān which seems to open up the doors of a place where we all want to be (0:51), or to the sounds of the Portal supported by the fullness of the bass synth, the sampling of The Sacristan, the electronic details of Saraswati, the voices and the continuous dialogue between tradition and innovation.
The only downside, if one may say so, is that formula which Henriksen inherits from Cartography, which is not displeasing, mind you, but which in 2008 had already found a summary of perfection.
Places of Worship is one of the best album of 2013, highly recommended for your personal discotheque, maybe near to Cartography, for a perfect duet.