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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Dans Les Arbres - Canopée (ECM, 2012) ****½

By Stef   

In April 2008, I guess I was the first reviewer to hail the unique musical vision of "Dans Les Arbres", the debut album of the French-Norwegian minimalist band with Xavier Charles on clarinet and harmonica, Ivar Grydeland on acoustic guitar, banjo and scruti box, Christian Wallumrød on prepared piano and harmonium, and Ingar Zach on gran cassa and percussion.

I gave the album a five-star rating and rightly so. The band manages to create a sonic universe built of pure sound, carefully improvised as one minutely paced coherent and minimalist vision. Every single note requires attention and respect as it adds something tiny to complete the slowly evolving dynamics of timbre and lightly woven texture.

So it is on this album. Bringing again this strange magic of purity and beauty, pristine and mesmerising and free and fragile like insect wings, transparent as mist, yet the result of incredible concentration, self-constraint, control of the various instruments, masterly interplay, and strangely enough driven by an uncanny intensity.

Like lots of great music, it is this paradox of lightness and intensity, of freedom and control that leads to again a magnificent result.

It is hard to believe that it took four years to release their sophomore album.

Again highly recommended.

© stef


jan said...

Yes, great it is!!