Originally commissioned as part of Hull's City Of Culture events in 2017, this project was designed to celebrate the old seafaring links between the city and Scandinavia. Presented as a sound installation on the Humber bridge, it now gets a more conventional release. Heavy on atmosphere, it leads with Henriksen's plaintive trumpet cocooned by field recordings from local found-sound artist Jez Riley French: engine noises, the creaking of suspension wires and so on. The combined effect resembles a simpatico encounter between Chet Baker and Gavin Bryars. Opera North provide further support. An extraordinarily beautiful, haunting piece of music. 9/10.
Norway's master of atmospheric soundscapes, ARVE HENRIKSEN, who can ululate like a eunuch and make his trumpet sound resonate like a Shakuhachi flute, returns with the evocative "The Height Of The Reeds" (Rune Grammofon). The music was originally commissioned to accompany a "sound walk" across Hull's Humber bridge and proved so popular that its release in album format was inevitable. Jan Bang and Eivind Aarset also contribute. 4/5.
Record Collector (UK)
For those who visited Hull, UK City Of Culture, in spring 2017, a bracing walk across the Humber Bridge became an avant-garde experience. Participants listened on headphones, as they hiked, to a newly commissioned soundtrack by Henriksen; a piece that memorialised the bridge with ambient jazz, the choir and orchestra of Opera North, and the sampled creaks of the structure itself. Now formally released, The Height Of Reeds remains powerful in the absence of sea frets. Henriksen's recorded for ECM and collaborated with David Sylvian, which is a good indicator of the solemn, aesthetically rigorous environment this music occupies. And if the choral interventions can be a little much, austere loveliness predominates: like Miles's In A Silent Way, mixed with Gavin Bryars' Sinking Of The Titanic.
This music, jointly composed by ethereally beguiling Norwegian trumpeter Arve Henriksen with his celebrated compatriots Eivind Aarset (effects guitar) and Punkt Festival founder Jan Bang (samples) wasn't conceived for a performance or recording. Commissioned by the city of Hull in 2017 when it became a UK City of Culture, the work was intended as headphone accompaniment to a public 'sound walk' through Hull and across its Humber Bridge - but the sell-out popularity of that event, extended from one month to three, spurred a permanent document. Henriksen's eerie, diaphanous trumpet sound is naturally the centrepiece, while his instrumental partners and Opera North's chorus and orchestra weave tapestries of distant chants, rich harmony, electronic textures, and field recordings of industrial and windy-landscape sounds. Apart from the leader's spinetingling early-Miles tone at times, explicit jazz associations are few - but though a sight of Hull's cityscape and a sense of its seafaring traditions do feel like missing elements in this cinematic work, the music does establish a powerful sense of place. Henriksen's low horn murmurings over rising and fading strings and unearthly sighing electronic tones on 'Reefs And Roots', his counter-tenor vocal against woodwinds turning to wilder surges of sound on Is There A Limit For The Internal', and the slow-weaving cimbalom-like groove emerging from an oblique trumpet melody on Waders', are highlights of this venture's quietly compelling authority - and its rightful place in its primary creator's diverse discography.
This music, jointly composed by ethereally beguiling Norwegian trumpeter Arve Henriksen with his celebrated compatriots Eivind Aarset (effects guitar) and Punkt Festival founder Jan Bang (samples) was commissioned by the city of Hull in 2017 when it became a UK City of Culture. It was originally intended as accompaniment to a public 'sound walk' through Hull and across its Humber Bridge, however the sell-out popularity of that event, extended from one month to three, spurred a permanent document. Henriksen's eerie, diaphanous trumpet sound is naturally the centrepiece, while his instrumental partners and Opera North's chorus and orchestra weave tapestries of distant chants, rich harmony, electronic textures and field recordings of industrial and windy-landscape sounds. Apart from the leader's spine-tingling early-Miles tone at times, explicit jazz associations are few but though a sight of Hull's cityscape and a sense of its seafaring traditions do feel like missing elements in this cinematic work, the music establishes a powerful sense of place. Henriksen's low horn murmurings over rising and fading strings and unearthly giants'-sigh tones from the electronics on 'Reefs and Roots', his countertenor vocal against woodwinds turning to wilder surges of sound on 'Is There a Limit for the Internal', and the slow-weaving cimbalom-like groove emerging from an oblique trumpet melody on 'Waders', are highlights of this venture's quietly compelling authority - and its rightful place in its primary creator's diverse discography. 4/5.
Probably my favourite listening of the year so far: ‘The Height of the Reeds’, the sound installation for the Humber Bridge by Arve Henriksen, Jan Bang, Eivind Aarset, Jez Riley French & Opera North. Released by @runegrammofon this week. Extraordinarily beautiful.
Richard Williams (UK)
Spectral Norwegian jazz trumpeter Arve Henriksen joins with guitarist Eivind Aarset and electronics fella Jan Bang, both frequent bandmates of his, plus field recording artist Jez Riley French for a suite designed to be listened to with headphones. Specifically, while wandering over the Humber Bridge — The Height... was previously a soundtrack for a City Of Culture installation in Hull. It works splendidly in isolation, though: the trio's own moving, minimal style of pillowy jazz ambience folded into French's recordings of the bridge itself.
Henriksen's latest project started as a commissioned work for the city of Hull, and is a tribute to Scandinavia's and England's long lasting relationship. Given the fact that two long time collaborators are part of the project brings back memories of fantastic sessions like ”Chiaroscuro” or ”Places of Worship”, which I both admire and quite often listen to and enjoy as well. On the English side, Hull-based sound artist Jez Riley French contributes with an electronic tissue containing recordings and samples looped into the composition. There is also the Choir and Orchestra of Opera North which supply some Symphonic lines and the vocals for this unusual project. When it comes to uncommon projects nobody would fit better than these three extraordinary musicians. The mood is very mystic and spiritual, while the addition of an orchestra and choir reminds me of the communication which the trumpeter created during his long collaboration with Trio Mediaeval. The dialogue between the past and the present is handled with an incredible sensitivity, and almost intuitive shifts between moods, styles and cultural backgrounds: something that makes you think about the nature of the human experience, despite distance, climate or belief. It must have been wonderful to walk over the Humber Bridge wearing headphones and with that music in your head. It's no surprise that the project was rewarded with overwhelming popularity — one more iconic work in an already exceptional artists' portfolio, one feels.
HiFi Critic (UK)
The Height of the Reeds features various collaborators on guitar, electronics and field recordings, and was originally commissioned by the city of Hull, the UK's 2017 cultural capital. Essentially a piece of sonic art designed to be heard on headphones while traversing the Humber Bridge, it sold a remarkable 15,000 tickets. An atmospheric soundtrack to the city's particular history and geography, it translates surprisingly well onto CD. 4/5.
BBC Music (UK)
Commissioned for Hull City of Culture in 2017, The Height Of Reeds was originally the musical companion to a sound walk across the Humber Bridge. Sound artist Jez riley French works in field recordings from the bridge itself, from the creaking of steel wires to the rumble of engines. Jan Bang samples and stretches the real-time contributions of Opera North's choir and orchestra into hovering apparitions and flickering loops. Choirboys sing the poems of Nils Christian Moe-Repstad over Eivind Aarset's guitar, but as with the more expansive orchestral passages, it can come across as earnestly ecclesiastical. The most affecting pieces are those where Henriksen and Bang strip it down, such as on "The Swans Bend Their Necks Backward To See God", where pitched down trumpet lows like foghorns over the Humber valley.
The Wire (UK)
To describe Norwegian Henriksen as a trumpet player does rather underrate what it is that he does. This recording was made for a Hull City Of Culture event in 2017, a "sound walk", and includes contributions from Hull-based sound artist Jez Riley French and samples from Jan Bang and Eivind Aarset that really make the ears prick. From the creaking and breathing of 'Reefs And Roots' - to the Bernard Herrmann-esque 'Height Of The Reeds In The Wetlands', it's a magical and mysterious sound that is summoned here.
Electronic Sound (UK)
Classically trained, Henriksen is a trumpet player, vocalist, and composer. He has a slew of prior recordings out under his name, most on Rune Grammofon, but amongst other labels a few on ECM as well; he’s also worked in groups including Supersilent, which is where I first heard him. His latest began as a commissioned work composed by Henriksen with Eivind Aarset and Jan Bang originally intended to accompany a sound walk across the Humber Bridge in UK city of Hull in April-June 2017. Headphones were utilized. Soaking this up through the same device while sitting in a chair in my vast listening den, I can understand why the experience proved such a hit. The blend of jazz, classical, and ambient is warm and quite welcoming.
The Vinyl District (US)
2017 war Hull an der Ostküste Englands die Kultur-hauptstadt des Vereinigten Königreichs. Die Hafenstadt pflegt ein enges Verhältnis zu Skandinavien, deshalb erstaunte es nicht, dass für "The Height of the Reeds" mit Arve Henriksen, Eivind Aarset und Jan Bang drei Norweger angefragt wurden, eine Klanginstallation zu komponieren, die die Besucherinnen und Besucher über die eineinhalb Kilometer lange Humber Bridge begleitet. Der Erfolg war so gross, dass die Musik dazu nun — mit kleinen Modifikationen — auch als Platte erschienen ist. Die Feld-aufnahmen des Briten Jez Riley sorgen mit Wind, Wasser und dem Knarren von Balken für die Einbettung in die Natur, während Aarset und Bang eine elektronische Atmosphäre in luftiger Höhe erschaffen, die als Tanzfläche für Henriksens Trompete dient. Ergänzt wird dieser imaginative Soundtrack
(bevorzugt unter Kopfhörern genossen) mit subtilen Einsätzen des Orchesters und des Chors der Opera North und Solisten, die Gedichte des Norwegers Nils Christian Moe-Repstad zitieren. Es erstaunt nicht, dass das 42-minütige Werk auf so grosses Echo gestossen ist: Dramaturgisch subtil und von erhabener Schönheit ist "The Height of the Reeds" ein wahrer Leckerbissen für das offene Ohr und das innere Auge.
Opprinneleg eit tingingsverk til Hull kulturby i 2017 - ei lydvandring over The Humber Bridge der musikken endra seg etter kvar lyttaren var på brua. Eit enormt prosjekt. Orkester, kor, feltopptak. "Come April" - Henriksen si skjøre stemme opnar plateversjonen av bruvandringa. Skrapinga, knitringa. Ei mystisk klangverd opnar seg. Horn med mute. Filmatisk. Samarbeidet Jan Bang og Arve Henriksen er eit eige kapittel. Chiaroscuro og Strjon glinsar i platehylla. Mykje er gjenkjenneleg, men Aleksander Waaktar sine modige arrangement for kor og orkester er essensielle tilskot til dette prosjektet. Det same med feltopptaka til Jez Riley French som er naturleg integrert i lydbiletet utan å dominere. Dei voldsomme smella frå eit anna rom - som lyden av arbeidet i ei gruve langt under orkestersalen. Ein blir umiddelbart interessert i skapingsprosessen rundt denne musikken. Dette gir ein ekstra dimensjon i lyttinga. Tidskapslar, men likevel augeblikkmusikk. "Is there a limit for the eternal" - Eivind Aarset legg fram klangane tørt, utan effektor. Ein overraskande kontrast til det store atmosfæriske lydbilete. Slike element løftar denne utgjevinga. Arve Henriksen har vore i gamet ei stund og har etablert ein karakteristisk sound - mange i same kategori (tør eg seie dei fleste) held seg til den trygge suksessoppskrifta. Height Of The Reeds har ein ny smak, råvarene er gjort i stand og krydra på ein anna måte enn tidlegare. Eg vil høyre plata som avslutningsspo-ret "Pink Cherry Trees" legg opp til. For eit underleg stykke musikk. Som om ei Leonard Cohen-låt har drukna og James Bond plukka opp restane blant "the reeds in the wetlands". Denne utgjevinga blir med meg vidare ei stund.
Både vakker og gåtefull av vesen.
De Noorse trompettist Arve Henriksen bracht de laatste jaren al een flinke stapel albums uit onder eigen naam, met zijn avant-gardeband Supersilent of met pianist Tigran Hamasyan. Vaak vergezelt hij zich van landgenoot Jan Bang, die met sound-scapes en elektronische manipula-ties de trompetnoten van Henriksen als het ware smoort. Door een dikke laag zoemende synths krijgen de fraaie lange noten van Henriksen soms bijna iets wanhopigs. De combinatie Bang-Henriksen werkt op het nieuwe The Height of the Reeds weer prachtig. Zeker als in Is There a Limit for the Internat ook gitarist Eivind Aarset zich meldt en Henriksen zijn hoogste kopstem opzet. Aarsets spaarzame snaar-aanrakingen in combinatie met deze stem in het onheilspellende woud van elektronica geven een heel bijzonder klankbeeld. Het verdient aanbeveling deze evocatieve muziek met de koptele-foon te beluisteren. Dan klinkt alles nog intenser, en hoor je rond Henriksens omfloerste trompet-geluid hoe de diverse lagen (akoestische gitaar, zoemende synths en krakende field recordings) versmelten tot een spannend geheel.