Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Nils Petter Molvaer - Baboon Moon (Thirsty Ear, 2011)

Trumpeter and composer Nils Petter Molvaer made a name for himself in the late 1990's combining improvisatory jazz with contemporary electronic music. After the global success of his Khmer LP, Molvaer traveled the world both as a leader and a sideman, now securing another album for the adventurous Thirsty Ear label. This album combines his two diverse streams of music, jazz and electronics and builds them into an atmospheric combination. "Mercury Heart" opens the album sounding dark and mysterious like a mystic rite reverberating against the walls of a secret rock cavern. haunting and elegiac soundscapes are the centerpiece of "A Small Realm" and "Blue Fandango" with have spacey textures, reminiscent of the Miles Davis classic In a Silent Way or his epic track "They Loved Him Madly" but adding a spooky and elegiac feeling to the music, especially the latter which sounds like something related to a haunted house. One of the highlights of the album, "Recoil," goes against the grain with throbbing bass and drums laying the foundation for pungent blasts of fast trumpet with a prog-rock, jazz fusion sensibility. "Sleep With the Echoes" develops a sparse opening that guitar and drums build in an ominous fashion. Electric guitar and percussion keep the heat on, snarling and taking charge. "Coded" slows the pace back down evoking images of large icebergs floating languorously through an icy sea over a slow almost funeral beat. The title composition "Baboon Moon" concludes the album with a gently and lovely trumpet tone. Sounding like a night-hushed Scandinavian mystery, awed under the great wash of stars, there is a synth arrangement with light trumpet and clanks of percussion. The pace pick up with strong tribal drumming and sampled female voices with urgent guitar and drums developing contrasting motifs of fire and ice. Baboon Moon -

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