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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars From Khmer to Er, neatly, 7 Nov 2005
This review is from: ER (Audio CD)
8 years after Nils Petter Molvaer’s debut album for ECM, “Khmer”, comes “Er” an album of eight tracks, seven of which have one word titles all ending in the letters “er”. Although reminiscent of “Khmer”, “Er” has its own identity and is, in many ways, a more mature, contemplative albeit less arresting album. Although “Khmer” had its antecedents in Miles Davis’s 1970s work, it still seemed like a bolt from the blue, Molvaer’s eerie trumpet at once fitting in to the ECM aesthetic while the sampling, guitars and beats sounded more akin to albums by entities as disparate as No Man and the Aphex Twin.
Times have changed and although Molvaer’s trumpet is an individual as ever (like his compatriot Jan Garbarek, he has an instantly identifiable tone) the background beats are, in the main, more subtle and, I suspect, more likely to stand the test of time. The album opens wonderfully with “Hover” – with the first few notes of Molvaer’s muted and almost stoned horn leading into the rich instrumentation and eventually a much brighter, fuller trumpet sound as the song builds in intensity. The third track “Water” features a suitably more organic sound with bass to the fore. As is typical of the albums tracks, the song builds as the beats and then a female vocal comes in. Again, the song concludes with a stirring trumpet solo.
The fourth track, the ballad “Only these things count”, is the album’s centrepiece in more than one way. Its very title makes it stand out and the plaintive vocal which manages to be both melodic and lyrical and slightly staccato and forced is a welcome change from the slightly repetitive formula of the other similarly-titled tracks. From there on, there is a slight reduction in quality control. Fifth track “Sober” is probably the most insubstantial and the more energised rhythms of the sixth and seventh songs are undermined by a melodic absence. The concluding “Dancer” is excellent and a worthy resolution to an overall fine collection. Despite the fact that the album just overstays its welcome, Molvaer’s trumpet alone makes “Er” a fine addition to this singular composer and performer’s body of work.
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ER
ER by Nils Petter Molvaer (Audio CD - 2010)
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