Somnambule - Writing About Music

Nils Molvær ~ Streamer

The arrival of Nils Molvær’s 1998 ECM debut, Khmer, came as a shock: here was a trumpeter intent on updating Miles Davis’s 1970s hybrid templates for the new millenium by marrying defiant/mournful trumpet to breakbeat rhythms, cathartic twin guitar attack, driving bass and liberal doses of samples. Molvaer was evidently someone to watch and Khmer heralded a veritable tidal wave of exciting Norwegian music. Since then, however, Molvær’s fiery dynamics have flickered and waned until there appeared to be more smoke and smoulder than scorch and burn. Streamer is Molvær’s fourth album (not counting a remix cd) and presents two concert performances from 2002 concatenatated into a single 60 minute set. Molvaer live is a much more dynamic experience than the impression conveyed by the home-listening oriented studio albums. Slamming dance beats, firestorm guitar and the succour of quieter passages gifted by Molvær’s playing are the order of the day. Molvær’s development has been a case of gradual progression rather than the sudden leaps of seminal antecedents such as Jon Hassell and the aforementioned Miles Davis and although Streamer doesn’t break significant new ground, it does partially reignite the flames, especially when played loud. Given that this music is already two years old it’s yet to be seen how Molvær can develop his unique brand of electronic jazz, but Streamer is highly recommended as an impressive introduction to his music.
Colin Buttimer
October 2004
Published by Signal To Noise magazine