Reviews RCD2192

This is Henriksen's eighth album for Rune Grammofon, and on it he continues to develop and refine his approach to the trumpet that has redefined the instrument's role and sound in jazz and improvised music. He has worked many times with guitar wizard Eivind Aarset while his association on record with Jan Bang and Eric Honore goes back to Chiaroscuro (2004). These associations are important, as instinct, empathy and mutual inspiration are key components in realising what might be called a variety of 'slow jazz'. You could say that 'slow jazz' is, for many, analogous to slow food. If the aim of slow food (founded in Italy during the 1980s) is celebrating regional traditions, good food, gastronomic pleasure and a slow pace of life then you might say Henriksen's 'slow jazz' approach celebrates the regional (Norway), good jazz, musical pleasure and a non-frantic approach to improvisation. It's music that should be seen in the communal context rather than than as soloist-plus-accompaniment endeavour as the music's overall effect is realised in the totality of the soundscapes these remarkable musicians create. On it we hear direct allusions to the local - `Paridae', for example, is a Kven theme (Kvens are a Northern Sami people descended from the Finnish people) that salutes the roots of Henriksen's family in the north of Norway and sung hauntingly by the trumpeter's wife, Anna Maria Friman of Trio Mediaeval - that is the source of this hauntingly beautiful music's authenticity.
Jazzwise (UK)

The Norwegian trumpeter Arve Henriksen is once again working with his countrymen, Eivind Aarset (guitar), Jan Bang and Erik Honore (electronics), who gather closely around their leader's pure mountain-stream rivulets. Henriksen is again combining horn, voice and extremely subtle effects, while Aarset's contribution is mostly inextricable from the doctorings of Bang and Honore. As Henriksen himself is prone to making sonic alterations, it's not so necessary to classify each artist's input, particularly as this is a collective soundworld, even if the group aims to surround and complement the central presence of Henriksen's pollen-light hornmotes. Amidst the low-level sparseness of "Groundswell," Henriksen's colleagues surround him with a halo of billowing particles over a gentle bed of beats and bass lines, making this is a more accessible manifestation of their work together. (It's hard to avoid a comparison to the late-1970s collaborations between Brian Eno and Jon Hassell.) Elements of robot sleekness and organic rootedness are combined, as Henriksen's close-miked voice burrows into our ear canals. The spaces in this music are finely chosen, as the shorter pieces tend toward impressionis-tic minimalism, and the longer numbers inhab-it a more layered structure. The penultimate "Vivification" begins with solo trumpet before the electronic tendrils steadily creep deep inside Henriksen's intimately recorded bell. 4/5.
Downbeat (US)

Arve Henriksen's lips may be more important to his sound than those of any other trumpeter. His ultra-loose embouchure means that his notes emerge alone, in solitary puffs of shaped air. There's no smoothness or bravado to his phrases; they feel laboured over, like he just thought of them and is unsure how they'll be received. But that combination of fragility and fierce concentration is what makes his work so compelling. Henriksen's ninth solo album features several of his longtime collaborators. Electronic musicians Jan Bang and Erik Honore both appeared on his Chiaroscuro, Cartography and Places Of Worship. They're joined by guitarist Eivind Aarset and vocalist Anna Maria Friman of Trio Medieval. Just last year, Henriksen, Bang and Aarset were all on pianist Tigran Hamasyan's Atmospheres, and Towards Language has the same dreamlike feeling as that record; on "Groundswell" the trumpeter's buzzing exhalations float over a slowly pulsing bed of caressed guitar strings, shimmering synths, low throbs and distant handclaps hovering at the threshold of audibility. On the title track Henriksen sings wordlessly in a high-pitched keening voice as what sounds like a mbira pings and clunks. "Demarcation Line" is almost dubby, its thick bass line and background sounds like the inner workings of a submarine, underpinning one of Henriksen's most kazoo-like solos ever, occasionally joined by tinkling streams of notes from Aarset and romantic synth swells. The closing "Paridae" features Friman's voice in a kind of call and response with Henriksen's trumpet. Her phrases have a liturgical feel, and his playing is the closest to conventional technique of any track on the album. It's almost like an avant garde version of Enya, over in less than two and a half minutes, but anchoring the album and in a way embodying the labour implied in its title. Whether with Supersilent or on his own, Arve Henriksen has demarcated his own world of sound, communicating in ways that are sometimes inscrutable but always deeply felt.
The Wire (UK)

A pillar of Norwegian jazz's so-called ”golden generation”, Arve Henriksen's eight previous solo albums, for ECM and Rune Grammofon respectively, come gilded with his signature, subtly aching horn improvisations, inspired more by traditional Japanese shakuhachi flute-playing than Miles Davis. Here, Henriksen reunites with electronics and synthesizer gurus Jan Bang and Erik Honore, with whom he has made three previous albums — not least 2004's much-revered Chiaroscuro — along-side guitarist Eivind Aarset. The results are largely sublime, from the contemplative drift and melodic daubs of Patient Zero to the title track's curiously ululating melodies, eked out in tones that fuse desiccated brass timbres with a kind of ghostly speaking in tongues, underpinned by thumb piano-like electronics. Guest Anna Maria Friman, of Trio Medieval, lends her tissue-soft vocals to the lulling Paridae, and everywhere an autumnal melancholy pervades. 4/5.
Mojo (UK)

A member of acclaimed experimentalists Supersilent and a serial collaborator, Arve Henriksen's also built a catalogue of award-winning solo releases on which his elegiac trumpet playing takes centrestage. Like Jon Hassell, his carefully contrived tone is breathy; both have worked with David Sylvian, whose later instrumental work these often-skeletal arrangements - especially on "Groundswell" - recall. But Henriksen's flute-like playing has a uniquely spittled, raspy quality that lends it a rare vulnerability, emphasising the reflective, Eno-esque serenity of "Vivification". On the title track, furthermore, he exercises his `head voice'; an otherworldly, high-pitched sound that Thom Yorke could well covet. 8/10.
Uncut (UK)

Perhaps it’s time someone invented a term — Nordicana perhaps — for the spare, minimalist and bleakly beautiful music that, since Jan Garbarek, has regularly emerged from Scandinavia. The Norwegian trumpeter Arve Henriksen is a prime exponent, his moody lyricism summoning images of frozen fjords and tundra in the twilight, whether he intends to or not. Here he veers between soundscapes, glacial trip-hop and tone poems in the company of the electronics guru Jan Bang and the plangent guitar of Eivind Aarset. This sort of ambient atmospherics was once considered left-field, late-night Radio 3 fare. However, with wider audiences exposed to the electronic soundtracks of The Killing and now Broadchurch, the currents of musical fashion may be turning towards Henriksen and his exquisite gloom. 4/5.
The Times (UK)

Intriguing, evocative and utterly unique stuff continues to rain in from Scandinavia. Appearing on the Oslo-based Rune Grammofon label, trumpeter Arve hooks up again with long-time partners sonic manipulator Jan Bang and synth man Erik Honore. The trio have previously played together on 2004's much-acclaimed ”Chiaroscuro”, ”Cartography” for ECM and 2013's ”Places Of Worship”. This time they are joined by ECM-associated guitarist Eivind Aarset for a stunning chamber music-like approach. Slow, atmospheric, winding and elemental, the players conjure an ethereal flow of subtle electronic swells and Arve's horns, rising to a unison peak on Demarcation Live. The album goes out with a traditional ancient Norwegian song sung by Anna Maria Friman of Trio Medieval, beautifully bringing down the curtain on this month's most evocatively time-stopping set.
Electronic Sound (UK)

A veteran of the mysterious avant garde Norwegian improvisational outfit Supersilent, Arve Henriksen is a trumpeter who rarely sounds as if he’s playing the trumpet. Instead, his instrument is muted and put through various FX units to create otherworldly sounds. On Patient Zero, he plays without a mouthpiece to sound like a bamboo flute; on Vivification, his ghostly improvisations sound like they’re being played on an ocarina; on Groundswell, he sounds like he’s slowly releasing air from an inflated balloon while someone plays Miles Davis’s Bitches Brew slowed down to 16rpm. The sonic atmosphere he creates with sample-manipulators Jan Bang and Erik Honoré can be faintly terrifying – the three of them should be given a horror movie soundtrack immediately – but also occasionally beautiful. On the final track Paridae, when Henriksen’s falsetto voice performs in tight medieval harmonies with his breathy, spittle-flecked trumpet over soft hymn-like chords, the effect is truly heavenly.
The Guardian (UK)

Henriksen wants to find common languages and to communicate in all of them. Which is why there are touches of modernist chamber music here (echoes of Takemitsu, Messiaen, an explicit reference to Manuel de Falla), as well as "jazz", ambient and other forms. The new project reunites him happily with Bang and Aarset, who seem to understand exactly where he's coming from and produce sounds so right and proper in context it's hard not to imag-ine that Henriksen produced them himself. His loose embouchure and reliance on voice and treatments leaves the "post-Miles" paradigm miles behind. Jon Hassell's Fourth World work is the closest comparison, but Henriksen has evolved an idiom that leaves that worthy predecessor far in the past. Lower-case music that deserves upper-case acknowledgement.
Jazz Journal (UK)

Henriksen, a Norwegian jazz trumpeter with a spoonably delicate tone and a truly rare skill for low-lit ambient compositions, links this album sonically to "Places Of Worship" - a 2013 album of his, and my personal introduction to him. While the comparison holds, the mood here is less eldritch dark than that release, more folk-informed. Henriksen´s two sidemen, Jan Bang and Erik Honoré, providing melodic foil via guitar and electronics as miniature epics unfold and flesh out like timelapse footage of nature.
Buzz (UK)

Arve Henriksen's Towards Language (Rune Grammofon) takes the trumpet into a different kind of territory. His method of half-singing/playing notes gives the instrument a plaintive expressiveness that sits somewhere between folk-like, playfulness and yearning melancholia. Set in a sea of pulsating electronica via Jan Bang and the blooming soundscapes of guitarist Eivind Aarset, Henriksen's lyrical work continues to beguile.
Prog (UK)

There is something elemental about Arve Henriksen´s wistful trumpet swirling over the wraithlike rhythms and morning-mist textures of its synthesised support. Jan Bang and guitarist Eivind Aarset are long-time collaborators and their live sampling and electronica is as delicate and tensile as the lead voice it enriches. The album notes cite contemporary composers Toru Takemitsu and Manuel de Falla as inspiration, but the soul-searching laments, hints of menace and unhurried rhythms conjure spirits from earlier times, confirmed by the ancient Nordic "Pariade", the album´s final track.
Financial Times (UK)

If you're looking for glacial Nordic chills, ARVE HENRIKSEN's hauntingly beautiful Towards Language ( Rune Grammofon) will do the trick.
Record Collector (UK)

Han er ikke redd for følsomheten. Arve Henriksen spiller med en inderlighet som får meg til å lure på hva han vil fortelle. På "Towards Language" er han tilbake med gamle kjente. Sammen forvalter de en tradisjon trompetist Jon Hassell skapte og som Brian Eno og David Sylvian har tungt eierskap i. Jan Bang, Eivind Aarset, Erik Honoré og Arve Henriksen er blitt anførere for en elektroakustisk kammermusikk som ønsker seg videre. Dette er Arve Henriksens niende album. På flere av dem har han spilt med Bang og Honoré, og den måten de tre kommuniserer på, speiler varigheten i samarbeidet. Selv om trompeten spiller hovedrollen, er det ensemblets uttrykk som setter seg i opplevelsen. Gitarist Eivind Aarset er både strålende akkompagnatør og en særegen stemme. Han får lyden til å duve og ta tak, uten at gitaren noen gang går seg bort i det konvensjonelle. Det er Aarset som introduserer åpningssporet Patient Zero. Det er som om han vinker forsiktig til Terje Rypdal før Henriksen smyger seg inn og starter fortellingen. Det er skjørt og blått og treffer deg som en anklage, men de vakre linjene letner på vemodet. Trompeten bærer på et alvor som snakker til deg. Der andre utøvere kan gå seg vill i føleriet, klarer Arve Henriksen å fremstå med troverdighet. Når Bang og Honoré kommer på banen med sampling, programmering og synther fortsetter albumet i samme fargeleie, men den seige grooven i Groundswell peker mot nye steder. Dette er dansemusikk for dovendyr, en helt ny og eksotisk sjanger for byjungelen. Det elektroniske teppet bølger, og lyden sveller. Det låter elastisk, sensitivt og skarpt. Arve Henriksen har gjort mye strålende musikk gjennom årene, men han har også snublet i sin uredde utprøving. Trompetisten har selv beskrevet hvordan han har strevd og gradvis kommet frem til egenart, funnet sitt eget språk. Henriksen har fremhevet samarbeidspartnerne sine, og på "Towards Language" kan vi høre hva han snakker om. Jeg liker fremdriften og strukturen i albumet. Det starter med en åpenhet som inviterer inn, men etter hvert bys vi på en motstand som gjør opplevelsene rikere. Transitory er ikke et spor du vil bli gående og nynne på. Det bærer dramatikk og fortvilelse i seg, og musikken bygger på et tema fra den spanske komponisten Manuel de Falla. Realign er også et stykke som vender innover. Et elektroakustisk speilkabinett med trompet. Når Arve Henriksen synger, slik han gjør i tittelsporet, kan man føle seg hensatt til stammekultur, ritualer og tilbedelse. Både trompetspillet og sangen har noe tidløst ved seg. Det låter nærmest eksistensialistisk når det er på sitt beste. På det siste sporet, Paridae, synger Anna Maria Friman fra Trio Mediaeval. Sangen bygger på gamle nordiske tradisjoner som knytter an til Henriksens familierøtter i Nord-Norge. Den faller naturlig inn i den vakre melankolien. Jeg tror jeg forstår hva Arve Henriksen vil fortelle, men det lar seg kun formidle med trompet, sang og gode hjelpere. 5/6.
Aftenposten (NO)

Trompetist Arve Henriksen er her med sitt niende soloalbum, det åttende i rekken på Rune Grammofon. Med seg på albumet med den typisk søkende tittelen Towards Language har han hovedsakelig sine samarbeidspartnere gjennom mange år, Punkt-festival-gründerne Jan Bang [live-sampling, sampling og programmering] og Erik Honoré [synth og synth-bass], samt gitarist Eivind Aarset. Albumet kulminerer i "Paridae", det eneste sporet med noe som ligner på språk, fra vokalist Anna Maria Friman. Ellers bidrar Henriksen selv med språkløs vokal, både gjennom munnstykket og rett i mikrofonen. I sentrum står likevel hele tiden trompeten hans, med underliggende akkompagnement som veksler fra ganske lavmælte, med forsiktige volumpedal-fremmanede gitar-underlag, til store mer dramatiske og tettvevde lydtepper. Som seg hør og bør på en plate som bærer Henriksens navn, er det hans eget trompetspill som er det mest bemerkelsesverdige. Det finnes vel knapt en musiker i Norge som kan presse et så bredt uttrykk gjennom et så trangt messingmunnstykke? Det er rett og slett utrolig å høre på, med stadige nyanser som spesifiseres. Et helt univers i åndedrettet. Hør hvordan han veksler ufortrødent mellom stramme, kjølige toner på "Transistory" til varm, vibratofylt, fløyteaktig glissando på "Patient Zero". Harmonisk ligger mye i lignende leie, men albumet brytes opp av mer prøvende improvisasjoner, som på tittel-sporet der Henriksen legger bort trompeten til fordel for blodkarsprengende fistelvokal i et litt annet harmonisk univers. Et vakkert, skinnende rikt mørke manes frem med oppstyltede meloclifragmenter i søsterlåtene "Demarcation Line" og "Transistory". Til sammen er Towards Language et album som bærer Henriksens tydelige signatur, med variasjon og sidesprang nok til å holde på interessen hele veien gjennom.
Jazznytt (NO)

Tittelen kan oppfattast ironisk. Få musikarar innan samtidsjazzen har ein så distinkt og lett attkjenneleg tone som Arve Henriksen. Han har hatt eit særeige språk i meir enn eit tiår. Ikkje berre trompettonen, men også tilnærminga til improvisasjonen har han reindyrka like lenge. Det improviserte er hjå Henriksen – som hjå Miles Davis – uløyseleg knytt til dialog, og det er i denne samanhengen ein må forstå tittelen. Denne utgjevinga er eit framhald av Places of Worship (2013), men besetninga er redusert og materialet er spelt inn «live» i studio. Komposisjonane er krediterte kollektivet, og høgst truleg har utgangspunktet vore laust og skisseprega. Det viktige har vore fellesprosjektet å forma dei flyktige lydskulpturane, former som er i konstant endring, aldri brått og sterkt, men sakte og nærast umerkande. Slik er det også med dei melodiske fragmenta til Henriksen, enten dei er forma av stemma eller trompeten. Éi strofe er ansatsen til ein vakker melodi. I neste augneblink har strofa løyst seg opp som røyk i vinden, og blir avløyst av nye strofer. Ensemblet er på sitt absolutt beste i dei rubato sekvensane eller der pulsen berre svakt blir antyda. «Demarcation Line» er i så måte eit strålande døme, og plata som heilskap er nok ein kunstnarleg triumf for Henriksen co.
Dag Og Tid (NO)

I disse tider av hipster-ambient og "fourth worlds" burde Henriksen vært en superstjerne, men denne med Aarset/Bang/Honoré stritter selvsagt imot. Variert hvis du lar den synke inn, sakte på vei mot det dunkle målet. Uten at målet er målet. Veien er målet.
Klasseklampen (NO)

Der norwegische Jazztrompeter Arve Henriksen wird immer verstiegener. Mit Gitarrist Eivind Aarset, Elektroniker Jan Bang und einigen anderen Mitstreitern erschafft er eine Klangwolke zwischen Imaginärer Folklore, Amblent und-so-fern das kein Widerspruch in sich ist - avantgardistischem Smooth Jazz. Seine Trompete klingt mehr denn je nach einer japanischen Blockflöte. Jon Hassell lässt grüßen. Niemand hat auch nur annähernd einen derart transzendenten Trompetenhauch wie er. Er ist in der Lage, im gleichen Moment total reduziert und doch opulent zu wirken. Es geht weniger um konkrete Melodien als um metakulturelle Klangzustände. Gehörte Ahnungen und Erinnerungen werden mit unerhörten Klangen kombiniert. Kein Klang lässt sich zu seinem Ursprung zurückverfolgen, alles verschmilzt in einem großen Kern, der eher eisig als warm anmutet. Mit "Towards Language" setzt der kleine Norweger konsequent seine Reise fort, die er etwa zehn Alben zuvor begonnen hat. 8/10.
Eclipsed (DE)

Die Musik von Arve Henriksen wird von Album zu Album immer transparenter, sein flötenartiger Trompetenton immer entrückter. Die Frage, ob sich dahinter zen-buddhistischer Tiefgang oder ätherischer Leichtsinn verbirgt, lässt sich schwer beantworten. Womöglich ist es eine Mischung aus bei-dem, die auch je nach Befindlichkeit des Hörers als das Eine oder Andere ankommen kann und darf Obwohl Henriksen mit Jan Bang und Eivind Aarset zwei avantgardistische Schwergewichte der norwegischen Metaszene an Bord hat, sind seine Soundscapes nicht durchgängig so überzeugend, wie man das aus der Vergangenheit kennt. Zu gleichförmig wabern die Sounds vor sich hin, zu eklatant fehlt ein Gravitationszentrum und zu vieles hat man schon so oder besser gehört. Zu oft drängt sich der Eindruck auf, ein erfolgreiches Konzept wird so lange wie möglich ausgewalzt. Hie und da eine überraschende Wendung oder ein konzeptioneller Kontrapunkt hätte da Wunder gewirkt. Die Voraussetzungen sind allemal gegeben.
JazzThing (DE)

Irgendwo zwischen experimentellem Jazz und Ambient lässt sich die Musik des norwegischen Trompeters Arve Henriksen ansiedeln. Auf seiner neunten Platte als Solokünstler tut er sich mit Langzeitkollaborateuren wie Programmierer Jan Bang, Synthmagier Erik Honore und weiteren arten Bekannten zusammen, die alle schon an hochangesehenen Vorgängern wie ”Places of Worship” mitgearbeitet haben. Aber ”Towards Language" ist zurückhaltender, subtiler, intimer. Trotz Livesampling und Synthesizern klingt das Album nach Kammermusik: Mit minimalistischen Mitteln — ein paar verschwommenen Gitarrentupfem, sanftem Elektro-schwirren — schaffe, die Kollegen Sen weiten. luftigen Raum für Henriksens einzigartiges Trompetenspiel, das eher nach einer träumerischen Flöte klingt Ohne viel Aufhebens wird so eine Atmosphäre heraufbeschworen, die so fremdartig wie unmittelbar ist. Inspiration kann deshalb auch schon mal, wie Paridat, ein Volkslied der Kvenen sein, einer finnischen Minderheit. Und auf dem Titeltrack murmelt und summt sich Henriksen, ganz wie versprochen, auf die Sprache zu.
Kulturnews (DE)

Wie möchte man Arve Henriksen einordnen? Als Jazztrompeter? Oder Am-bientmusiker? Der Norweger ist von allem etwas. Was sein Album „Towards Language" (rune grammofon/Cargo) einmal mehr eindrucksvoll unterstreicht. Mit langjähri-gen Kollaborateuren, den bei-den Klangkünstlern Jan Bang und Erik Honore sowie Gitar-rist Eivind Aarset, schafft Ar-ve Henriksen mit seinen ein-zigartigen, wahnsinnig emo-tionalen Trompetentönen, die oft mehr wie eine Flöte klingen, Live-Sampling und schwirrenden elektronischen Klängen einen magischen Soundkosmos.
Medienhaus Bauer (DE)

Arve Henriksens trumpetspel, som är inspirerat av den japanska flöjten sakuhatchi, ligger nära den mänskliga rösten, barnets jollrande. Han framför en minimalistiskt, svävande monolog på en bädd av samplingar och återhållen elektronik. På titelspåret, med stänk av gamelanmusik, sjunger han nära trumpeten, kvidande och språklöst. Men på avslutningsspårets Paridade, en traditionell sång från Arves nordnorska hemtrakter med Anna Maria Frimans vokal, tycker jag mig urskilja ord som "sorgsen" och "utan". Arve Henriksens nionde soloalbum överraskar inte, vilket är helt okej. Han har skapat sitt eget sätt att berätta sin historia. Det är allvarligt, melankoliskt och vackert utan att vara ytligt.
Lira (SE)