Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Arve Henriksen: Cartography

JazzTimes may earn a small commission if you buy something using one of the retail links in our articles. JazzTimes does not accept money for any editorial recommendations. Read more about our policy here. Thanks for supporting JazzTimes.

Cut-and-pasted collagelike bits of melody and coolly winded trumpets that pretend to be shakuhachi flutes. These things are part and parcel of all that Arve Henriksen surveys. It should be no surprise then to hear Norwegian composer and trumpeter Henriksen working with singer David Sylvian and percussionist/sampler Steve Jansen as he does within the craggy walls of Cartography.

Sylvian in particular has long been drawn to classically trained trumpeters, guys like Kenny Wheeler and Mark Isham who understand atmospheric synthetic arrangements with clunky nuances that are tastefully minimalist, mordantly askew and stoically cinematic. Henriksen is a man famous for his Japanese-inspired trumpet playing and avant-garde iciness when it comes to fashioning elegantly dreary melodies. These elements make him a perfect foil for Sylvian’s bassoon-like chatter and stilted emotional phrasings. There’s a forlorn mystical quality to all that the trumpeter achieves, whether it’s the big, gray, winded chill of “Before and Afterlife” or the scuffed textures throughout “Poverty and Its Opposite.” The unutterable grief found within Sylvian’s lyrics on “Thermal” can only be matched by the gracefulness of Henriksen’s melody. Sylvian’s participation is brief, sadly.

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.