CD REVIEW: Arve Henriksen – Towards Language; Trio Mediaeval & Arve Henriksen – Rimur

Arve Henriksen – Towards Language
(Rune Grammofon RCD2192)
Trio Mediaeval & Arve Henriksen – Rimur
(ECM 481 4742)
Reviews by Peter Bacon

The Norwegian trumpeter and vocalist Arve Henriksen has one of the most immediately identifiable sounds on his instrument and although he blends it easily into a variety of contexts, including the “free noise” group Supersilent and the classical vocal group Trio Mediaeval, he always remains fully himself in style and sound.

His own albums blend intriguing textures of acoustic and electronic instruments in many different and creative ways while maintaining a remarkable consistency of mood – often one of quiet dedication. His 2013 album was called Places Of Worship and that sums it up well.

Towards Language continues that path with longtime associates Jan Bang on live sampling and programming, Erik Honoré on synthesizer and Eivind Aarset on guitar, and at first hearing it seems to offer little that is new. However, with each new recording Henriksen distills his music further. The solo trumpet introduction to Vivification is Henriksen at his most intimate, most revealing, simplest yet most affecting.

Trio Mediaeval & Arve Henriksen
publicity photo

With Trio Mediaeval – Anna Maria Friman, Linn Andrea Fuglseth and Berit Opheim – Henriksen has forged a particularly special relationship. In concert together they are mesmerising, on record they are sublime.

Rimur is a collection which includes chants, hymns and improvisations with their source material from Norway, Sweden and Iceland. Henrisken’s trumpet acts like a fourth voice, its different timbre adding new colour while also accentuating the rich, unified blend of the three voices. Some of this music comes from the 13th century – the Trio and Henriksen make it sound both of the now and also timeless.

I recently heard the saxophonist (and collaborator with Henriksen in the early Food albums) Iain Ballamy identify the wide range of music he is drawn to with a singular description: devotional music. Both these albums, so different in sound and instrumentation, fit that description perfectly.

Categories: miscellaneous

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