Arve Henriksen-Towards Language.

Arve Henriksen-Towards Language.

Label: Rune Grammofon.

Currently the most overused word in the English language is innovative. Especially, it seems by certain music journalists, who recently, have developed a tendency overuse and misappropriate the word. However, there are a few groundbreaking musicians whose music deserves to be called innovative. This includes the Norwegian jazz trumpeter Arve Henriksen.

He first featured on Bjørn Alterhaug’s 1991 album Constellations. Ten years later, Arve Henriksen released his much-anticipated debut album Sakuteiki in 2001. By then, Arve Henriksen’s mission to reinvent the jazz trumpet was well underway.

Since then, Arve Henriksen’s raison d’être has been to push musical boundaries to their limits and challenge musical norms. As a result, he’s taken the jazz trumpet to destinations that it has previously never dared visit on his eight previous solo albums. Recently, though, eight albums became nine when Arve Henriksen released Towards Language on Rune Grammofon. It finds Arve Henriksen reuniting with his longterm musical partners Erik Honoré and Jan Bang, who featured on his fifth album Places Of Worship in 2013. Since then, he’s released four more albums.

In total, Arve Henriksen has released nine solo albums between 2001 and 2017.  However, that is just part of the Arve Henriksen story.  He’s also one of the hardest working men in Norwegian music. Arve Henriksen made his recording debut on Bjørn Alterhaug’s 1991 album Constellations. Much has happened since then, and now Arve Henriksen has over 270 credits to his name. He’s worked as an arranger, producer, songwriter, vocalist and of course as a sideman.

Arve Henriksen has been the go-to-guy for musicians looking for an inventive, imaginative and innovative trumpeter. This includes some of the biggest names in music, including Japan’s David Sylvian, Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones, Ian Ballamy’s Food, Terje Rypdal and Jon Balke. They watch on as Arve Henriksen deploys an array of effects and electronics during sessions and in the process, reinventing how to play the trumpet. In doing so, Arve Henriksen sets the bar high for other trumpeters.

When Arve Henriksen isn’t working as a sideman, he’s also a member of the Norwegian jazz group Supersilent. They were formed in 1997, and feature Arve Henrikse, Helge Sten a.k.a. Deathprod, and Stale Storløkken. Supersilent has released eleven albums between 1998 and 2016. Their most recent album was 13, which was released to critical acclaim in 2016. This is something that Arve Henriksen has gotten used to over the years.

Arve Henriksen’s solo albums have enjoyed plaudits and praise since he released his debut album Sakuteiki in 2001. By then, he was already an experienced musician who had spent ten years playing on other people’s albums, and had released five albums with Supersilent. Sakuteiki was an innovative, groundbreaking combination of classical, experimental and jazz, which was released on Rune Grammofon. This brought Arve Henriksen to the attention of a much wider audience. 

Three years later in 2004, Arve Henriksen returned with his much-anticipated sophomore album, Chiaroscuro. The reason for the delay was Arve’Henriksen’s schedule. He seemed to have been working nonstop for the best part of three years. This included working with John Balke, Wunderkammer, Food, Sinikka Langeland, and recording and releasing Supersilent’s new album 6 in 2003. However, when Chiaroscuro was released, this genre-melting album proved to be well worth the wait. Although it was only Arve Henriksen’s sophomore album, his reputation was already growing.

After another three-year gap, Arve returned with his third solo album Strjon in March 2007. Futuristic and experimental, Arve Henriksen continued to release music that was way ahead of the musical curve. Arve Henriksen couldn’t have been signed to a better label than Rune Grammofon. They were a label that embraced adventurous and avant-garde music.

Proof of this was Solidification, a box set of Arve Henriksen’s music, which was released by Rune Grammofon in December 2012.  Solidification featured his first three albums plus his critically acclaimed fourth album Chron. It was another album of ambitious and groundbreaking music from a true musical pioneer. He was about to embark upon on the most prolific periods of his solo career.

Just eleven months after the release of Solidification, Arve Henriksen returned with his fifth album Places Of Worship in October 2013. It was described as: “a series of tone poems and mood pieces,” and was  reflective of Norwegian geology.  The music reflected the countryside and environment, especially the religious buildings and ruins that can be found throughout Norway. It’s understated, ethereal, haunting, reflective, sacred and fearful. Places Of Worship which was released to critical acclaim, saw Arve Henriksen continue to create innovative music.

After the release of Places Of Worship, Arve Henriksen was nominated for the most prestigious award in Norwegian music, a Spellemannprisen. This is the Norwegian equivalent of a Grammy Award, and Places Of Worship was nominated for the best jazz album of 2013. However, it was a case of so near yet so far for Arve Henriksen.

Undeterred, Arve Henriksen returned in 2014 with two solo albums. The first of these was Chron + Cosmic Creation which was released in March 2014, and proved to be a truly ambitious album. Not only does it follow and expand upon Places Of Worship, but this album of audio exploration found Arve Henriksen entering deep space and conveying a sense of the eternal. This powerful album that won praise and plaudits from critics. So did the followup, The Nature Of Connections, which was released in August 2014. Arve Henriksen was joined by a band that featured some of Norway’s top musicians. They also wrote each of pieces that featured on this critically acclaimed, genre-melting album. It seemed that Arve Henriksen could do no wrong.

Since the release of The Nature Of Connections, the hardest working man Norwegian music has been busier than ever. However, he found time to record his ninth solo album Towards Language, which sees Arve Henriksen reuniting with his longterm musical partners Erik Honoré and Jan Bang. 

The three men had last worked together on Arve Henriksen’s critically acclaimed 2013 album Places Of Worship, but were reunited at Amper Tone Studio on the ‘23rd’ and ‘24th’ of August 2016. They were joined by guitarist Eivind Aarset, and over the next two days, nine songs took shape.  

Five of the nine tracks on Almost Language were penned by Arve Henriksen,  Jan Bang and Eivind Aarset. This includes Groundswell, Towards Language, Demarcation Line, Hibernal, Realign and Vivification.  

Patient Zero was based on the Eivind Aarset composition Empathic Guitar, while Transitory was based upon a theme by Manuel De Falla. Paridae which closed Almost Language, is a tradition song. These songs were recorded at Amper Tone Studio.

When recording got underway, the album was recorded by Johnny Skalleberg and produced by Jan Bang. This left Arve Henriksen free to play the trumpet, add vocals and the all important electronics that were a feature of his albums. Meanwhile, Erik Honoré  played synths, while Jan Bang took charge of live-sampling, sampling and electronics, They were joined by the fourth member of the band, guitarist Eivind Aarset who also added electronics.  Then when it came time to record Paridae, Anna Maria Friman was drafted in to add vocals on Paridae. By the end of the ‘24th’ of August 2016, Towards Language was almost complete.

All that remained was for Jan Bang and Erik Honoré to mix Towards Language, and then Helge Sten could master Arve Henriksen’s much-anticipated ninth album.

A year later, and Arve Henriksen released Towards Language, which was his first solo album in nearly three years. As he promotes the album, Arve Henriksen takes care mention everyone that worked on Towards Language, and all: the “musicians and producers that have encouraged and inspired” him during his long and illustrious career. Arve Henriksen isn’t someone who grabs the limelight, and is happy to share the credit what he has achieved over the years. Twenty-six years after he played on his first session, Arve Henriksen is one of the leading lights of the Norwegian music scene, and as Towards Language demonstrates, an innovative musician.

Patient Zero which opens Towards Language is two minutes of mellow, ruminative music. At first, just a strummed guitar plays, before the rueful trumpet plays.  As it takes centre-stage, washes of weeping guitar and subtle synths are added. Together, they play their in a melodic and melancholy soundscape that invites reflection.

As Groundswell unfolds, the trumpet is played slowly and tenderly. Effects are deployed and help create a rasping sound. It’s joined by washes of dreamy synths, a guitar that is almost caressed and the bass synth adds the soundscape’s slow heartbeat.  Just like the rest of the arrangement, it’s a case of less is more, as the mesmeric and understated soundscape meanders melodically along, showcasing a dreamy and laid-back sound. That is still the case as the volume increases, as Groundswell continues to reveal its secrets. Arve plays with power and passion, and his trumpet brays and rasps. Behind him, ethereal synths float along and play their part in this beautiful, meandering and dreamy soundscape.

Towards Language is quite different from the two previous tracks, and by comparison, has a much more experimental sound. Churning, gurgling percussive sounds join dark droning keyboards and a high, effects-laden vocal. It’s panned across the soundscape, and sits hard left, while the synths set hard right. Meanwhile, the gurgling, percussive fills the rest of this inventive soundscape as latterly, the vocal becomes ethereal, heartfelt and emotive.

A wash of synths float in on Demarcation Line, but give way to the subtle, wistful and rueful trumpet.  It takes centre-stage, and is augmented by gurgling, beeping, squeaking sounds. Later, subtle washes of synths and a prowling bass provide the backdrop for the beautiful, heart-wrenching sound of a braying, rasping trumpet. Soon, it soars high above the arrangement, while washes of shimmering synths and a probing bass are augmented by an array of disparate sounds. They’re all part of the rich musical tapestry that is Demarcation Line.

At first, a lone wistful trumpet plays on Transitory, but soon, is joined by a second trumpet. They carry out a conversation, that seems to be filled with sadness and midway through the track, an element of drama. The trumpet is played with power, as if laying bare its soul. Meanwhile, the other trumpet adds to the melancholy, anguish and drama on this powerful and poignant track. It manages to convey what a thousand words couldn’t say.

There’s a sadness as the synths play on Hibernal. They replicate the sound of a church organ, while the sound of a bell ringing ominously is replicated. Soon, they’re joined by Arve’s impassioned trumpet. Its plaintive cry soars high above the arrangement, as the synths play and the bell rings. By then, another heart-wrenching and cinematic soundscape is taking shape. The music paints pictures, and scenarios unfold. Always, there’s a sense of sadness and loss. Having said that, there’s still an inherent beauty to this seven minute epic soundscape.

It’s Arve Henriksen much-anticipated ninth solo album, from one of the leading lights of the Norwegian music scene. Arve Henriksen has spent the best part of three decades reinventing how to play the trumpet. He’s the latest in a long line of innovative trumpeters, and on

Towards Language continues to take the trumpet to destinations its previously never dared visit. His playing in inventive, imaginative and innovative on what’s described as a jazz album.

That is something of an understatement. Towards Language is much more than a jazz album. It’s a genre-melting epic where Arve Henriksen and his band combined elements of ambient, avant-garde, with electronic, experimental, improv industrial music and even modern classical and free. The result is a truly groundbreaking and thoroughly modern album.

It finds Arve Henriksen and his band combining traditional instruments and technology on Towards Language. This includes a variety of electronics instruments, including samplers. Add to this,  a myriad of samples and found sounds, and this is enough to provide the backdrop for Arve Henriksen’s trumpet. These backdrops frame Arve Henriksen’s trumpet and allow it to shine as he continues to make tomorrow’s music, today.

This they did over a two-day period at Amper Tone Studio, where Arve Henriksen and his band created nine carefully crafted soundscapes. They range from understated and subtle, to thoughtful and ruminative, to melancholy and wistful. It’s also dark, dramatic and eerie, but also beautiful and ethereal. Always, the music is cinematic and cerebral. The music on Towards Language invites reflection, and is very much cerebral, mood music. Towards Language is music to immerse oneself in, and embark on a Homeric musical Odyssey as Arve Henriksen paints pictures with his music. He takes the listener on captivating journey where the cinematic music is full of vivid imagery on Towards Language. This is what we’ve come to expect of Arve Henriksen.

He’s a world-class musician, and a musical pioneer, who has spent his career pushing musical boundaries to their limits, and sometimes way beyond. Arve Henriksen has also continued to challenge musical norms,  as the keeper of Miles Davis’ flame continues on his mission takes jazz music to places it has never previously dared visit before.  This Arve Henriksen continues to do on Towards Language, which features imaginative, inventive and groundbreaking music. Towards Language marks the welcome return a Arve Henriksen who continues to create innovative music on this genre-melting opus, which was recently released by Rune Grammofon.

Arve Henriksen-Towards Language.

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