By Josef Woodard | Published May 2020
Sigurd Hole, an acclaimed accompanist for Tord Gustavsen and others, ventured to the Norwegian island Fleinvær to record his latest album. There, he tapped the area’s atmospheric inspirations, allowing ambient sounds to make cameo appearances on the solo bass recording, emphasizing the importance of nature and ecology in his conceptual mix.
An especially rich spectrum of harmonics, overtones, percussive effects and arco colorations make up the essential vocabulary on the contemplative double-disc Lys/Mørke, a follow-up to 2018’s solo Elvesang. But what pushes Hole’s bass work into the realm of the sublime are his refined sense of improvisation and painterly subtlety. From the Lys disc, a folkish pulse graces “Yngeldans,” while “Havsang” suggests a low, loamy elegy.
The Mørke disc opens with the timbral wash of arco sweeps on “Bølge” and closes with a resolving sigh of the introspective, melodic “Epilog.” In between come “Mørke,” with its pizzicato gravitas and the primal rhythmic vigor of “Refleksjon.” As an integrated whole, deserving a listen from beginning to end, the recording transports listeners to the realms of Norwegian wilderness and the wilderness of double bass, no additives necessary.
Lys/Mørke: Disc One: Lys; Yngeldans; Duggdråper; Trestein; Vaktsom; Speilbilde; Vindu; Skygge; Havsang. Disc Two: Bølge; Himmelrik; Årringer; Varde; Horisont; Ritual; Refleksjon; Mørke; Epilog. (38:38/41:16)
Personnel: Sigurd Hole, bass.