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

This is the 1st of your 3 free articles

Become a member for unlimited website access and more.

FREE TRIAL Available!

Learn More

Already a member? Sign in to continue reading

Markus Stockhausen/Arild Andersen/Patrice Heral/Terje Rypdal: Karta

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.

For Karta, the augmented trio of trumpeter Markus Stockhausen (son of modern-classical master Karlheinz), bassist Arild Andersen, drummer Patrice Heral and special-guest guitarist Terje Rypdal convened in an Oslo, Norway, studio with themes and songs that Stockhausen and Andersen had written. Nearly all of the tunes, though, were discarded once the group started improvising, creating spontaneous compositions that they believe surpassed the readied material. Despite the lack of postproduction trickery on Karta, the group achieves an ambient-electronica vibe by running their instruments through effects and gadgets of all sorts. Stockhausen uses a harmonizer, echo, reverb and wah-wah pedal; Andersen and Heral use samplers and delays; and Rypdal’s six-string tone has long been one of the most heavily treated in music, taking it as far away from that dark, dull and muddy sound that has forever defined jazz guitar.

It’s hard to focus on any particular track on Karta; it tends to wash over you like a nice, hot, lulling shower. The tracks are mostly collections of evocative timbres (“Sezopen”), gentle improvisation (“Flower of Now”), ringing percussion (“Wood and Naphta”) and pastoral effects “(Invocation”). The most distinct track is the stunning closer, “Lighthouse,” which features Anderson’s kalimbalike ostinato pattern anchoring Stockhausen’s gorgeous, classically minded melodies, Rypdal’s waves of sound and Heral’s shimmering percussion.

Stockhausen’s playing doesn’t sound anything like Miles Davis’-Markus is classically trained, and his precise intonation, forceful attack and strong tone are the inverse of Miles’ singular strained sound-the effects of Davis’ early ’70s, dark-ambient improvs, like “He Loved Him Madly” from Get Up With It, run throughout Karta. The moody, muted-trumpet track “Legacy” is even dedicated to the Prince of Darkness. But what comes around goes around: After all, it was Papa Stockhausen who helped influence Davis to try such genre-expanding sonic risks in the first place.