published: 10 /
Hauntingly beautiful and experimental instrumental folk jazz from Norwegian musician Erlend Apneseth
It only seems five minutes since we were giving 2019’s 'Salika Molika' rave reviews.Now in early 2020, Erlend Apneseth follows up that critically acclaimed album with a new work 'Fragmentarium'. Gathering together a veritable supergroup of Nordic talent this new album is, once again, a groundbreaking offering.
Together this collection of talented musicians take some of Apneseth’s compositions from a project he was invited to take part in for the Kongsberg Jazz Festival 2019 and flesh out the original ideas taking them in new directions.
It is no surprise to find that the opener 'Ganger' is a fairly joyful piece of exuberant folk jazz. Ida Levi Hidle’s accordion ebbs and flows sparring with the fiddle over an infectious Eastern groove that has the foot tapping as the piece bounces along happily.
'Du Fallande Jord' follows and moves in quieter mysterious ways. Majestic double bass and melancholic strings invoke those seemingly inhospitable Northern lands. The folk horror atmosphere is enhanced by archival spoken word samples that increase a sense of wonder.
From here on the album wanders into more experimental territory with strange electronic samples and noises provided by Anja Lauvdal and rattling percussion from Hans Hulbaekmo that could be echoes of an old tribal ceremony. Spacey electronic sounds cross swords with the ancient strings of a fretless bouzouki and fiddle taking you deep into strange territory . Nordic and Scottish folk influences are never far away to provide a lovely restful lullaby ('No. Etterpa') and more superb experimentation mixes with chamber jazz as the album draws to a close ('Omkved'). An almost orchestral ambience is prevalent as the sextet create a spacious landscape where a sensitive guitar solo intervenes dramatically and Apneseth’s hardanger fiddle gives a sombre feel to proceedings. For me behind this recording, and many others that emanate from Scandinavia, looms the vast forests, hinterland and sky from which inspiration seems to flow.
'Fragmentarium' is adventurous and hauntingly beautiful. Repeated listening reveals more magical and mysterious moments which is often the case with experimental instrumental music. Once again a testimony to the leader’s ability to gather together musicians and allow them a canvas to create on.
Du fallande jord