Cool - original
In The Country: This Was The Pace Of My Heartbeat
By AARON COLEMAN
I've already stated before many times that the Rune Grammofon label is
easily one of my more trusted around. The variety of their releases spans
genres like crazy (from the electronic melt jazz of Shining to the quiet
fiddle of Nils Økland), but the label has had an absolutely huge
string of releases that I've enjoyed very much without so much as a minor
stinker among them. In The Country continues the trend of solid output,
and although they don't make my blood pulse and stream like some of the
more innovative releases on the label, the young jazz trio has created
a little gem with This Was The Pace Of My Heartbeat.
As with most artists on the label, the group doesn't simply play the straight
and narrow that one would expect from a jazz trio, and also as with most
artists on the label, members of the group are also members of several
other groups (pianist Morten Qvenild and bassist Roger Arntzen play in
both Jaga Jazzist and Shining). Produced in loving analogue by Arve Henriksen,
the release features 9 original compositions from Qvenild, as well as
a Ryan Adams (if you can believe it) cover and an interpretation of Handel's
"Laschia Ch'io Pianga."
I'll be the first to admit that I don't know as much about jazz as many
people, but I do know that In The Country as a group is very judicious
in their use of space. It's not to say that their pieces aren't active,
because at times they are very much so, but the trio is very, very good
at creating sparse spaces and then drawing them tighter upon one another.
"Tree Canopy Walkway" does just that, letting individual notes
decay at the beginning of the track before the piano and bass do a little
dance with one another while soft drums provide a sparkling backdrop.
"How To Get Acquainted" is even more powerful, as soft cascades
of piano slowly build into huge masses of sound while the percussion starts
out as simple pings and pops before raining down all around.
On "Aerial Dark Bright Road," the piano melody slowly dissolves
into a watery-sounding close that is most likely augmented with keyboards
(Qvenild also plays a Casio SK-10 and vibraphone on the release) while
the soaring "Viggo" adds wordless vocals to the mix in a way
that sounds like a natural, almost gutural release without coming across
as silly (in sort of a similar way that Keith Jarrett vocalizes when hitting
the juicy parts during his improvisational playing). In the end, your
level of interest with the release will probably largely depend on your
interest in jazz trios (although In The Country is by no means typical).
Because the group doesn't use any digital postproduction or trickery,
it's much more straightforward, but it's still quite effective.
Published : 03.06.2005