Somnambule - Writing About Music

Arve Henriksen ~ Chiaroscuro

It’s been 10 years since trumpeter Arve Henriksen graduated from Trondheim Music Academy and Chiaroscuro is only his second recording as leader in that time. Henriksen's sound, however, is immediately recognisable from numerous ensembles including electric improv giants Supersilent, ambient jazz-folkies Food and his friend Terje Isungset’s music performed using ice instruments. Chiaroscuro sets out 10 jewel-like miniatures which describe a journey from light into darkness. His two travelling companions are percussionist Audun Klieve and sampling wizard Jan Bang who provide sympathetic support without diverting the flow of music one iota. There are certain passages sung by the likes of Al Green, Marvin Gaye or Aretha Franklin which seem to almost literally lift the listener off the ground, such is the strength of their feeling. Henriksen achieves the same intense, almost naked emotion in his playing and it can feel at times like he's opening a window directly onto his soul. The outward form of this exploration, however, owes very little to the blues. Rather it draws from the well of Norwegian folk tradition and the legacy of fourth world trumpeter Jon Hassell. From these antecedents comes a stringency which precludes any sign of sentimentality. Chiaroscuro is astonishingly rich, in fact breathtaking music.
Colin Buttimer
October 2004
Published by Signal To Noise