Monday, December 14, 2015

Nils Petter Molvaer - Solid Ether

Like 1998's Khmer, Solid Ether is an unusual addition to the ECM catalog, reflecting the Norwegian trumpeter's continued fascination with drum'n'bass, jungle, and other underground club genres. Molvaer's work in this idiom is indicative of a new wave sweeping Europe and Scandinavia, where boundaries between jazz and electronica are being creatively blurred by a growing number of forward-thinking artists. (The trend is catching on in the States as well.) Molvaer's trumpet is consistently in the forefront, as is the case in the music of his French contemporary, Erik Truffaz. This will inevitably prompt comparisons with Miles Davis, and Molvaer indeed credits Davis as a major influence in his musical development. The music on this record, however, sounds nothing like Davis ever played nor could have foreseen. (That said, in all likelihood he would have heartily approved.) With its driving beats, spare-to-barren harmonies, and dense atmospherics and samples, Solid Ether breaks completely with traditional notions of jazz performance. Most of its tracks segue directly from one to the next, creating a seamless "mix" in the style of much experimental dance music. While ten guest artists are credited in addition to Molvaer (including guitarist Eivind Aarset and DJ Strangefruit, aka Paal Nyhus), they don't often play clearly delineated "parts" or solos. One exception is the two-part "Merciful," which pairs Molvaer's piano with the vocals of Sidsel Endresen, bringing Annette Peacock to mind. Not everyone will "get" this kind of music, and die-hard jazzers might laugh it off as an inconsequential fad. But it's actually a seismic innovation that is just getting started. - by David Adler, AMG

Artist: Nils Petter Molvaer
Album: Solid Ether
Year: 2000
Label: ECM
Runtime: 50:32

Tracks:
1.  Dead Indeed 7:30
2.  Vilderness 1 7:48
3.  Kakonita 4:59
4.  Merciful 1 1:02
5.  Ligotage 6:43
6.  Trip 6:24
7.  Vilderness 2 4:56
8.  Tragamar 4:45
9.  Solid Ether 5:12
10.  Merciful 2 1:13
All compositions by Nils Petter Molvaer

Personnel:
Nils Petter Molvaer (Trumpet, Piccolo Trumpet, Synthesizer, Bass, Loops, Electronics, Percussion, Piano)
Eivind Aarset (Guitar, Electronics) - 1,2,5-9
Audun Erlien (Double Bass) - 2,5-9
Per Lindvall (Drums) - 2,5-9
Rune Arnesen (Drums) - 2,5-9
Paal Nyhus (aka Dj Strangefruit) (Beats, Samples, Voice, Vinyl, Ambience) - 5,6,8,9
Sidsel Endresen (Vocals) - 4,10
Reidar Skar (Vocoder) - 6

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