In our brave new digital world, it is not always possible to tell who is playing what. On the back cover of this two-CD set, the instruments attributed to the quartet are piano (Hamasyan), trumpet (Henriksen), guitar (Aarset) and “live sampling, samples” (Bang). But photos in the liner booklet suggest that Henriksen and Aarset are also manipulating electronics. Hamasyan’s piano is usually clear, but is it Henriksen’s trumpet that sounds like a reed instrument or a human voice? Is it Aarset’s guitar making those drones?
You don’t really need to know. Atmosphères is an 89-minute dreamscape. Clouds of sound evolve and slowly float. What matters is the enveloping whole, not the parts.