Album review

Daniel Herskedal – ‘Harbour’

Daniel Herskedal – Harbour

(Edition Records. EDN1181. Review by Patrick Hadfield)


The tuba may not usually be thought of as solo instrument, but Daniel Herskedal produces music which readily changes such preconceptions. Harbour is his sixth album for Edition and contains music of a melancholy beauty – though some tracks roar along with energy too.

Herskedal is joined by his long term collaborators Eyolf Dale on piano and celesta and Helge Andreas on drums and percussion. For only three people they create a very rich sound, albeit with occasional overdubs: their musical palette is deep and sonorous. Herskedal also plays bass trumpet, adding to the brass textures. The trio’s music has a lot of space, and maybe a certain Nordic cool.

Dale and Andreas are indispensable in creating the soundscape. Andreas’ propulsive rhythms, whether on kit drums, marimba or a variety of other percussion keep the music flowing. In the quieter tracks Dale can be reminiscent fellow Norwegian Tord Gustavsen, with a similarly sparse sound, though elsewhere he plays with a powerful intensity, letting Herskedal seemingly rise to heights unlikely for a tuba. Herskedal’s brass has many voices: some light and floating, others deep, brooding  and intense.

Each title relates one way or another to the sea – beaches, islands, ports and mariners; sometimes these may be specific places such as Lesbos and Ellis Island, whilst others are more idealised: the harbour after a long voyage, a place of rest and safety. Whilst there is great variety to the music, the pieces hang together as if linked by a theme – though it is hard to detect any maritime influence. The rich depth of the music and the emotion brought to bare by all three musicians have created something rather special.

Harbour was released on 2 July 2021

LINK: Harbour at Edition Records

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