Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Frode Haltli - Passing Images (ECM, 2007) ***

I did not know Frode Haltli. And that was a mistake on my side. He appears to be an excellent accordionist, playing his instrument alrealy since he was seven years old, and winning awards and competitions all over Norway. Yet mastering an instrument is one thing. The question is what you do with this skill. And Frode Haltli does a lot with it. This album is great. It's the musical equivalent of lying on your back in the grass watching the clouds drift by. The clouds have form, yet no structure. They have volume, but no substance (and this is not meant negatively). Haltli gets great support here from Arve Henriksen on trumpet, who as usual gets sounds out of his instrument which come close to a bassflute, from Garth Knox on viola, and from Maja Solveig Kjelstrup Ratkje on worldless singing. This CD offers a pretty strong unity of musical vision, and offers something unique to music per se.

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