Norwegian Voices

Arve Henriksen

Chiaroscuro (Rune Grammofon RCD2037, 2004)

Norwegian trumpeter and singer Henriksen has recorded some beautiful
explorations of his two instruments, the trumpet in particular revealing tones
and timbres more usually associated with the shakuhachi.

This project finds him in a similarly meditative mood in ‘live’ contexts
recorded around Norway in the company of drummer Audun Kleive and sampler Jan
Bang. These two add other dimensions to Henriksen’s luminous trumpet and
startlingly clear vocalizing.He occasionally sounds like Jon Hassell on ‘Bird’s Eye View’ with its
slightly slurred and breathy phrasing. But most often he sounds like no one else
but himself. This is evidenced on ‘Circled Take’ a mostly unaccompanied piece
with some embellishments from Bang. Here the trumpet, breath and voice combine
giving utterance to a mournful, elegiac sound redolent of the Japanese flute but
more eerie and chilling. A fragment of disembodied choir rises spectrally in the
background to add further haunted resonance.

A couple of the most moving compositions, ‘Chiaro’ and ‘Blue Silk’ feature
his voice in all its glorious purity, recorded in some unspecified but
acoustically magnificent setting. The spare electronics enhance his faultless
delivery, notes falling with clarity, sometimes fragility, against the gently
shifting trance of the sampled backdrop. On ‘Blue Silk’ his trumpet and voice
come together in a subtle crystalline duet.

He is clearly taking the art of the trumpet and vocal improvisation into new
realms unfolding shimmering colors to draw the listener into hitherto unseen
worlds. It must be one of the most refreshing releases of the year [buy
this CD

Author: Paul Donnelly