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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
It's a shame that the AutoRip version never actually materialised.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I own three albums of Molvaer: Khmer, NP3 and ER. The first one (Khmer, 5 stars easily) is without a doubt the best. Most songs take their time to develop, but there always is a lot going on. Within the songs the tempo or volume build up. The beats are not the only things that count. And that maybe is Molvaer's trap: he manages to make his beats sound better and better, but they become so important that the rest of the music gets less attention.
NP3 had bigger beats than Khmer, but the album as a whole is a bit flat. But it's the most accessible and if possible happy one.
ER is down. Way down. And I like that. The album starts of really good. The first song is a killer! The second one is very sad. The intro's the songs lead to good beats that have a good dark atmosphere. But just like NP3 I miss the evolution of the songs beyond the beat. When Molvaer could pull that off again he could make a 6 star album.
There's one thing about the album I almost forgot to mention: there are voices on two of the songs of the album. The voice of Sidsel Endresen is a treat. She doesn't sound like a jazzsinger, and I/m glad about that. It wouldn't fitt. The singing is like a beat up Sally Oldfield or holds somewhere in the middle of Portishead and Clannad. Very tastefull!
When you don't own a Molvaer-album and you've got nothing against fantastic electronic beats, soundscapes and trumpet you must get yourself a Molvaer-album. This album for me is a five star album untill song number six. It's good enough, especialy the way the beats are recorded is good, but I believe Khmer has more to offer.
On each track Nils Petter Molvaer winds his trumpet, at times hinting at Miles Davis circa the mid-seventies or the treated sound of Jon Hassel. At other times he bends notes in an almost primitive or folkloric way. Breathing through the horn as though it were a voice. Making voice and instrument almost one. Reminding the listener perhaps of music's link with speech and language. He does all this over an atmospheric yet never overbearing palette of sound. Climaxes of instruments suddenly give way to space and the lone horn. A minimalist melody, that is plaintive or haunting.
The track titles are simple and starkly suggestive. Hover, Softer, Water, Sober, Darker, Feeder and Dancer. Only the aforementioned 'Only These Things Count' deviates from this trend.
Stand out tracks have to be 'Water', a beautiful intro, standing bass, sparse horn and electro effects, woven through with Endressen's wordless and stuttered voice. 'Hover' a subtly struck bass and rhythm syncopation, the horn drifting at times so far back into the mix, it stretches attention, as though drawing the listener into another room, only to return, breathy and warm. 'Only These Things Count', is a mixture of acoustic and treated sound framing a conventional song structure - the horn here mostly warm and intimate. And 'Dancer' a darkly rhythmic piece, with swirling guitar drones, sound loops, the trumpet here one minute, there the next, driving the music on, occasionally discordant and chaotic, but never less than compelling.
I was recently listening to this while driving out of London and up the M11 to Stanstead airport. A somewhat misty, November afternoon. Stretches of cloud and a deep autumn sun. It was the perfect soundtrack. Evoking the landscape, suggesting its history, its connections and yet so very urban and contemporary in its nature.
This is a special of music. It will bear repeated listening. It will draw you in from first listen Then reveal its thoughtfulness, its invention and depth with time. Worth your attention.
Molvaer's trumpet is too much in the background for this music to be mistaken for a Miles Davis session. Instead, the horn becomes another vibrant freqency floating in the sonic ether, whether producing muted plaintive sounds without the mute or suggesting a momentary chill when Molvaer blows through his mouthpiece sans horn. Even the multiple tracking of the instrument along with the layering of bird calls and human voices does little to disturb the Noh-like stillness of "Water," following "Softer" like diaphanous gauze yielding to the glimpse of a golden carp suspended in a moon-lit pool.
"Only These Things Count" is verbalized, sung moreover in English, thus threatening to rupture the listener's connection with the safe and magical harbor of the musical Zen garden. But soon the churning textures of the accompaniment lead to another quiet, intimate moment during which Molvaer's breathy trumpet supplies incandescent incantations over a single sustained pitch, a note evoking a wordless plainsong resonating with the dynamic energy field of consciousness itself.
The next piece, "Darker," momentarily establishes an almost funky groove, perhaps Molvaer's turn to run the voodoo down, but again he moves skyward, as "Feeder" offers the most extended, extreme trumpet solo on the CD--loud in dynamics or high in register only relative to its previous unobtrusive presence. The role of the trumpet as an "individual" voice is an open-ended question in music of such exacting scale and ecological balance.
"Dancer," the final piece--or, more precisely, movement of a continuous work (there are no silences between the compositions)--is descriptive of the acoustic properties of the piece itself, which emphasizes the rhythms of primitive percussion. But in its metaphoric invoking of dance, it's also an interpretive, revelatory key to Molvaer's paradoxical and poetic, even mystical, compositions that blur the lines between soloist and accompaniment, text and context, confounding any attempts at easy categorization of this music.
The listener's epiphany is that "ER" is, above all, a delicate but vital and indivisible organism, recalling if not demonstrating the understanding implicit in the poet W.B. Yeats' famous question about the relationship between the artist and his creation: "How can you know the dancer from the dance?"
This CD contains 2 songs by the most interesting Norwegian singer Sidsel Endresen. She sings in the background on "Water" & as the main singer on the only non-ER song "Only These Things Count" which is most profound & spiritual. I love all the NPM CD's so far after "Solid Ether" that I am thinking of buying the guitar player Eaivind Aarset's CDs.