Arve Henriksen

Towards Language
(Rune Grammofon)

The Norwegian trumpeter Arve Henriksen is once again working with his countrymen, Eivind Aarset (guitar), Jan Bang and Erik Honoré (electronics), who gather closely around their leader’s pure mountain-stream rivulets. Henriksen is again combining horn, voice and extremely subtle effects, while Aarset’s contribution is mostly inextricable from the doctorings of Bang and Honoré.

As Henriksen himself is prone to making sonic alterations, it’s not so necessary to classify each artist’s input, particularly as this is a collective soundworld, even if the group aims to surround and complement the central presence of Henriksen’s pollen-light horn-motes.

Amid the low-level sparseness of “Groundswell,” Henriksen’s colleagues surround him with a halo of billowing particles over a gentle bed of beats and bass lines, making this is a more accessible manifestation of their work together. (It’s hard to avoid a comparison to the late-1970s collaborations between Brian Eno and Jon Hassell.) Elements of robot sleekness and organic rootedness are combined, as Henriksen’s close-miked voice burrows into our ear canals.

The spaces in this music are finely chosen, as the shorter pieces tend toward impressionistic minimalism, and the longer numbers inhabit a more layered structure. The penultimate “Vivification” begins with solo trumpet before the electronic tendrils steadily creep deep inside Henriksen’s intimately recorded bell.