Arve Henriksen : The Nature of Connections

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Arve Henriksen is a classically trained musician whose ethereal, Japanese-influenced trumpet playing has placed him in a league of his own. He was born in Stranda, Norway, and educated at the Trondheim Conservatory. It was during his time at the conservatory that a friend gave him a tape recording of the shakuhachi flute. Henriksen was hooked.

“I let the music ‘ring’ and develop in my head,” he said. “I was astonished by the sound of this flute.”

His interest in minimalist Japanese music went on to have a profound effect on his trumpet playing and his music career.

Born in 1968, Arve Henriksen studied at the Trondheim Conservatory from 1987-1991, and has worked as a freelance musician since 1989.

He has worked with many musicians familiar to ECM listeners, including  Jon Christensen, Marilyn Mazur, Arild Andersen, Jon Hassell, Laurie Anderson, Gavin Bryars, Imogen Heap, and many more.

He has played in many different contexts, bands and projects, ranging from working with koto player Satsuki Odamura, to the rock band Motorpsycho via numerous free improvising groups with Ernst Reisiger, Sten Sandell, Peter Friis-Nilsen, Lotte Anker, Terje Isungset, Marc Ducret ,Karl Seglem et cetera. Today he is working with Supersilent, and various settings including Jan Bang, Audun Kleive, Helge Norbakken, Stian Westerhus and Ingar Zach.

arve2An album with a title like The Nature of Connections has a special meaning for the increasingly in-demand but, more recently, career-focused Henriksen. While he has, over the past two decades, honed a most personal approach to his instrument that sings, at times, with the gentle breath of a shakuhachi and at other times the more assertive stance of an Alpine horn, the majority of his work has, in some way, shape or form, involved the use of electronics, whether it’s live sampling, use of preexisting samples and programs, or the application of effects to his already distinctive sound. The Nature of Connections dispenses with all that—an all-acoustic album where, other than a little bit of piano, he focuses solely on trumpet and piccolo trumpet.

The Nature Of Connections almost entirely features pieces composed by Arve’s collaborators. Recorded in the sparkling acoustic of Oslo’s legendary Rainbow Studio by Jan Erik Kongshaug, it’s an album with closer ties to Nordic folk and contemporary, minimalist chamber music than any of Arve’s previous releases. At the same time it features some of the most melodic and seductive music he has recorded. The trumpeter had planned to make an album with a string quartet for many years but never quite found the right formula. Finally, a special commissioned tour brought him together with violinists Nils Økland and Gjermund Larsen, cellist Svante Henryson and double bassist Mats Eilertsen, all of whom now appear as the central planks in “The Nature Of Connections”. Another welcome guest is drummer Audun Kleive, veteran of Norwegian jazz ensembles including Oslo 13, JøKleBa!, Generator X, Terje Rypdal and Jon Balke.

arve3Elements of Norwegian folk music imbue the ten relatively short pieces on his earlier recording, Places of Worship, as much as classical references, and an improvisational approach that uses Jon Hassell‘s Fourth World music as one of its many cornerstones. Organic sounds are both juxtaposed and combined with textures only possible through technology, while Henriksen’s performance—on trumpet, where embouchure and extended techniques result in still recognizable timbral breadth, and in his equally inimitable falsetto singing—remains steeped in lyricism of almost painful beauty, his melancholic melodies feeling somehow familiar while being completely and utterly his own.

Henriksen never separates himself from the environmental information provided by his natural Nordic landscape. The lush, wild, and open physical vistas of its geography provide an inner map for the trumpeter and vocalist that amounts to a deeply focused series of tone poems.  On “Lament,” Honoré’s backdrop samples frame the trumpeter’s falsetto singing voice in a hymn that evokes early orthodox Christianity and Norway’s Sami ritual prayers.

Though there are more players in the mix, it is less subsumed in ambient effects, and equates the music of North Africa with that of the Sephardim and a poignant flamenco. “Abandoned Cathedral” is the sound of an “interior” emptiness,” as a layered trumpet, unidentifiable sampled sounds, and Henriksen’s falsetto reflect the ghosts of previous inhabitants. The set closes with the Honoré -penned “Shelter from the Storm,” which features his own lead vocal and piano as well as the leader’s horn. It is the only departure from the tone poem structure of Places of Worship.


arve2Arve Henriksen: The Nature Of Connections

Track Listing: Blå Veg; Hambopolskavalsen; Budbringeren; Seclusive Song; Hymn; Aceh; Keen; Arco Akropolis; Salm.

Personnel: Arve Henriksen: trumpet, piccolo trumpet, piano; Nils Økland: violin, Hardanger fiddle, viola d;amore; Svante Henryson: cello; Gjermund Larsen: violin, Hardanger fiddle; Mats Eilertsen: double bass; Audun Kleive: drums.

Record Label: Rune Grammofon

arve3Arve Henriksen: Places Of Worship

Track Listing: Adhān; Saraswati; Le Cimetière Marin; The Sacristan; Lament; Portal; Alhambra; Bayon; Abandoned Cathedral; Shelter from the Storm.

Personnel: Arve Henriksen: trumpets, field recordings (1), voice (5, 9); Jan Bang: samples (1-4, 6, 8, 9), programming (6, 9), live sampling (7); Erik Honoré: samples (1, 2, 4, 5), synth bass (1, 4, 6, 8), synthesizers (2, 3, 4), drum programming (2, 3), live sampling (7), vocal (10), instruments (10); Lars Danielsson: double bass (3); Stahlquartett (Jan Heinke: violin; Alexander Fülle: violin; Michael Antoni: viola; Peter Andreas: cello): string quartet (3); Eivind Aarset: guitars (7, 8), sampled guitar (9); Jon Balke: piano (7), sampled piano (9); Ingar Zach: percussion (7); Christian Wallumrød: sampled piano (3); The Norwegian Wind Ensemble: sampled wind instruments (8); Peter Tornquist: sampled excerpts from “Alba” (8); Rolf Wallin: sampled crystal chord (9).

Record Label: Rune Grammofon

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