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Thursday, February 28, 2013

CD Review: In The Country – Sunrise Sunset

Morten Qvenild (Piano); Roger Arntzen ; (Bass); Pal Hausken (Drums)
(Review by Steve).
 Nordic culture is currently enjoying a high profile through  the mediums of Films TV  and Literature. We should also add Nordic Jazz to this burgeoning  cultural  list Jan Garbarek and  Esbjorn Svensson  are perhaps the most established artists of  this genre but this Norwegian Trio ‘In the Country’ are a welcome addition to this growing artistic smorgasbord.
This album is recognisably  Northern European  minimalist, intense, almost modern classical at times able to evoke the Nordic landscape and all its elements..
The CD starts off in a sombre minimalist mode  with Birch Song  and  Derrick I was worried at first that I might be in one of those Norwegian days comprising of 24 hours of darkness. These early tracks however set one up nicely for the oddly named Stanley Park  which starts softly but then really begins to crank it up with some rousing ensemble work before ending  with  a mellow Jarrettesque  piano solo. The next track Silverspring is back to the  minimalist atmospheric style of the earlier  pieces. This is followed by Steelpants which could quite easily be part of a Star Trek soundtrack  with it’s Sci Fi feel. The Fluke a WhalesTail is a sensitive melodic piece which leads nicely into the title track  and for me highlight of the album Sunrise Sunset. The piece starts off slowly as one imagines the sun setting it then  drives furiously to an exhilarating  climax then once the sun has risen subsides returning to a relaxing coda of peace and tranquillity. The album concludes appropriately with December’s Song a dark moody piece signalling  that winter is well and truly with us.
All of this trio display great technique, subtly and sensitivity throughout and the experience is enhanced with the clever use of electronics to create effects such as wind waves and even the dawn chorus.
This may not be an album to party to (unless all your friends are Goths) but it’s certainly a great album to listen to whilst contemplating the world around us and its challenges awaiting.
In the Country - Sunrise Sunset is released on March 11, 2013. 
Steve.

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