Erik Honoré is no stranger to a recording studio. He’s played on, or produced, over fifty albums. These albums are all very different. They’re best described as eclectic. No wonder. This eclectic selection of albums features everyone from David Sylvian to Arve Henrikse, through Eivind Aarset, Jon Hassell and Laurie Anderson, to Brian Eno and Peter Schwalm. However, despite working with so many high profile artists, there’s one thing forty-eight year old Erik Honoré still has to do. That’s release a solo album. Soon, the wait will be over. Heliographs, Erik Honoré’s debut album will be released by Hubro Music on 17th November 2014.
In some ways, it’s no surprise that it’s taken Erik Honoré such a long time to record his debut album. There’s more to Erik’s career than his solo career. He’s also a successful musician, producer and author.
Erik was born on 11th December 1966, in Kristiansand, Norway. Growing up, music was Erik’s passion. So it’s no surprise that, having left high school, Erik headed to college in Oslo.
His destination was the Norwegian Institute for Stage and Studio. That was where Erik spent the next few years. When Erik graduated, he was a fully qualified sound engineer and producer. Now, his career got underway.
One of the first projects after he left college was Woodlands’ 1988 eponymous album. Erik a member of Woodlands, played electronic percussion and keyboards. He also mixed and produced Woodlands, which featured Jan Bang, who Erik would later collaborate with.
Jan Bang and Erik Honoré have released six albums togther. Their first collaboration was 2000s Birth Wish. It featured Arve Henriksen and Christian Wallumrød. A year later, Erik and Jan released their sophomore album on Going Nine Ways From Wednesday. Released in 2001, it featured Nils Christian Moe-Repstad and Anne Marie Almedal. After the release of Going Nine Ways From Wednesday, it would be another eleven years before Jan Bang and Erik Honoré released another album. One reason for this, was Erik’s career change.
In 2002, Erik released his first novel Orakelveggen. This was the first of a trio of successful novels Erik wrote. Ubåten på Nørholm followed in 2003. However, Erik hadn’t turned his back on music.
Eivind Aarset, a Norwegian guitarist, asked Erik to collaborate with him in 2004. The result was Connected, Eivind Aarset’s third album. Connected was critically acclaimed. It was hailed as an album of groundbreaking music. Erik had played his part in Connected’s success. Despite the success of Connected, Erik continued to juggle his parallel careers as a musician and author.
2005 saw Erik release this third novel Kaprersanger. This was Erik’s literary swan-song. He hasn’t written another book. That’s a great shame, as the novels were well received. A great future was forecast for Erik as a writer. However, literature’s loss was music’s gain.
Although his three novels showed another side to Erik Honoré, he had decided to concentrate on music. He was content to work as a songwriter, session musician and producer. That was, until Erik cofounded a music festival.
This was the Punkt Festival in Kristiansand. Jan Bang and Erik founded the Punkt Festival in 2005. Jan and Erik had known each other since they were teenagers. They’d similar tastes in music and were determined to create a festival that was truly unique.
The Punkt Festival was very different to any other Norwegian festival. The idea was that, as a concert was taking place, it would be remixed live in another room. Remixers improvised and added samples to the live sound, essentially creating new and original music on the fly. For everyone involved, the audience, musicians, producers and remixers, this offered endless opportunities. So, it’s no surprise that the Punkt Festival grew legs.
Since 2005, when the first Punkt Festival took place, what are essentially spin-offs of the original festival have taken place across Europe. Paris, London, Tallinn, Wroclaw and various German cities have played host to Punkt Festival spin-offs. Since then, Erik has been busier than ever.
It seems the Punkt Festival opened doors for Erik Honoré. He’s worked with some of the biggest names in music, including Laurie Anderson, Brian Eno, Peter Schwalm and David Sylvian.
The first time Erik worked with David Sylvian, was in 2011. They collaborated on the 2011 album Died In The Wool. This was the start of a successful musical partnership. David Sylvian then featured on the third collaboration between Jan Bang and Erik Honoré. However, there was more to 2012 than one album from Erik Honoré.
2012 was a busy year for Erik. He’d collaborated with Greta Aagre on Yyear Of The Bullet. That wasn’t all. Then there was the collaboration between Jan Bang and Erik Honoré.
After eleven long years, Jan Bang and Erik Honoré were back with their third album, Uncommon Deities. Featuring David Sylvian, Uncommon Deities was a hailed a return to form from Jan and Erik. So they released two albums in 2013.
For Jan Bang and Erik Honoré, 2013 was their most productive year. They released two albums, Narrative From The Subtropics and Victoria. After not releasing an album for eleven years, Jan and Erik had released three albums in two years. The drought was well and truly over, in more than one way.
Narrative From The Subtropics and Victoria weren’t the only albums that Erik Honoré had been working on during 2013. He’d began work on his debut solo album Heliographs, an album whose title was inspired by his debut novel.
The titles and narrative on Heliographs originate from parts of Erik’s debut novel, Orakelveggen. It was released back in 2002. However, it provided the inspiration for the concept for Erik’s belated debut album Heliographs.
Much of the recording of Heliographs, took place in Erik’s Oslo home studio. His approach to recording is fascinating. He used samples, but not just any samples. Instead, the basis for much of Heliographs were samples taken from concerts and live remixes. These were then reworked into new tracks. The first track was recorded in August 2013. Gradually, Heliographs began to take shape.
It wasn’t until a few months passed, before it dawned on Erik that potentially, he was working on his long awaited debut album. When he realised this, Erik called upon some of the musicians he regularly collaborated with.
The musicians who played on Heliographs, which features nine tracks, reads like a who’s who of Norwegian improvisational music. The nine tracks are all collaborations. Some of Erik’s collaborators cowrote the tracks. They’re also responsible for Heliographs’ groundbreaking sound.
This is no surprise. Just look at the the lineup of musicians that feature on Heliographs. There’s guitarist Eivind Aarset, trumpeter Arve Henriksen and percussionist Ingar Zach of Huntsville and Dans Les Arbres. They’re joined by Dutch violinist Jeffrey Bruinsma from Zapp 4. That’s not all.
Jo Wang, Nils Petter Molvær, Okavango and Jan Bang provide the myriad of samples that feature on Heliographs. So does Erik. He also plays synths and takes charge of programming. The other person who plays an important role in the success of Heliographs, is vocalist and improviser Sidsel Endresen. She’s part of what’s a array of talented and innovative Norwegian musicians. They accompany Erik Honoré on his long awaited debut album Heliographs, which I’ll tell you about.
Navigators opens Heliographs. It literally meanders into being. Elements of ambient, avant-garde, experimental and jazz melt seamlessly into this experimental soundscape. Shimmering, quivering and fluttering, the arrangement is variously melancholy, ethereal, dark and eerie. You’re drawn in, it cocoons you. A shimmering, shivers, quivering, cooing sound floats above the arrangement. Deep down, dark strings add a gothic tone. Later, the track takes on an experiment and eerie sound. That doesn’t matter, as you can’t help but succumb to its charms and delights.
Halfway House is a short, spacious and minimalist track. The arrangement crawls along, as if hesitant to reveal its secrets. Ambient and classical music provide inspiration for Erik, on this cinematic track.
Percussion and a pulsating bass provide a backdrop for the wistful, ethereal beauty of Sidsel Endresen’s vocal on Sanctuary. She delivers a tender, thoughtful and truly heartfelt vocal. It’s the focus of your attention. No wonder. Literally, her vocal oozes emotion and ethereal beauty.
Pioneer Trail has a captivating introduction. A myriad of disparate layers of sounds assail you. A grinding, churning arrangement meanders along. All the time, a radio plays and a pounding drum pulsates. The grinding, churning sound is reminiscent of a journey along the Pioneer Trail. Meanwhile, the other two stratas of sound are reminiscent of late night, city living, far from the Pioneer Trail. Just like Halfway House, Erik Honorè uses music to paint pictures and tell stories.
Just a lone bass plays as the arrangement to Red Café shows its secrets. Meanwhile, a subtle wash of sound sits down in the mix. Before long, a violin plays. Its minimalist, melancholy sound adds a heartachingly beautiful, wistful sound.
Washes of synths open Last Chance Gas and Water. They’re joined by a broody bass and sci-fi sounds. Together they combine darkness and a futuristic, otherworldly sound. Gradually, layers of music unfolds. A buzzing synth bass adds a cinematic sweep. That’s fitting. Sometimes, the arrangement is reminiscent of the soundtrack to a Cold War thriller. Other times, moody and broody describes the music. So does futuristic and 21st century. All this is down the imagination of Erik Honorè, a true musical innovator and explorer.
Strife might be a relatively short track, but it leaves an impression. It’s futuristic, and packed full of sci-fi sounds. Elements of avant-garde, experimental free jazz and rock melt into one. They play their part in a captivating and futuristic sounding track that packs a punch.
Sanctuary Revisited picks up where Sanctuary left off. It welcomes back Sidsel Endresen’s vocal. Her vocal is tender, and melancholy. There’s a fragility to her voice and a sense of sadness. Despite that, the ethereal beauty is omnipresent. She’s accompanied by an arrangement that’s slow, minimalist and has a classical influence. Strings are at the heart of the arrangement. They swell, and sweep the arrangement along. Later, so are pizzicato strings and Sidsel’s tender, thoughtful, scatted vocal. They’re at the heart of track that’s the highlight of Heliographs.
Departed closes Heliographs Erik Honoré’s long awaited debut solo album. Elements of ambient and classical music melt into one. Slowly, the arrangement unfolds. It’s reticent about doing so. However, eventually, Departed reveals its secrets and beauty to all, proving the perfect way to close Heliographs.
Erik Honoré is now forty-eight. He’s been involved in music all his life. However, there’s one thing he’s never done, release a solo album. That’s about to change. Heliographs, will be released by Hubro Music on 17th November 2014. Belatedly, one of Norwegian music’s most creative and innovative musicians releases his solo debut album Heliographs. However, Erik is no newcomer to music.
He’s worked with the great and good of music. This includes David Sylvian and Arve Henrikse, through Eivind Aarset, Jon Hassell and Laurie Anderson, to Brian Eno and Peter Schwalm. Each of these artists have one thing in common. They release music that’s groundbreaking. That’s what Erik Honoré does on Heliographs.
That’s no surprise. Erik has collaborated with many artists. They’ve never played it safe. So why should Erik start playing it safe now? He doesn’t. There’s no chance of that. Heliographs is a groundbreaking, genre-melting album. Everything from ambient, avant-garde, classical, experimental, free jazz and a hint of psychedeliaan and rock melt into one. It’s an eclectic and disparate fusion of musical influences and genres. That’s not surprising. Erik Honorè is a true musical innovator and explorer. On Heliographs, Erik Honorè dares to go, where other musicians fear to tread.