<- back    

The Milk Factory - original article

In The Country: This Was The Pace Of My Heartbeat



Talk about this release has concerned itself with how it represents the closest the acclaimed Norwegian label Rune Grammofon have come to releasing a straightforward jazz record. It is true that In The Country’s personnel are the same as that of the archetypal jazz trio of piano, bass and drums. However, first track Where Can We Go sounds more like Bill Evans taking Emperor Joseph II’s admonition ‘Too many notes, my dear Mozart’ to heart. It is a beautiful arrangement of pendant notes, but its ancestry is more Brian Eno than Evans or Cecil Taylor.

Beaver Creek’s pace is slowed down to the point of being almost stationary. From its thrumming bass to its distant percussion, everything about its first half oozes studious lassitude. By its midpoint however, the music rouses itself to a shuddering climax before sinking back, once again, into exhausted lethargy. In My Time Of Need is homespun and plaintive, the blues and reds of its familiar patterns sun-bleached but still visible.

Of the three players, it is the pianist, Morten Qvenild, whose name might just ring a bell or two: he was the Magical Orchestra to Susanna Wallumrod on last year’s List Of Lights And Buoys. He is joined by Roger Arntzen on oaky double bass, and Pal Hausken’s attentive and subtle percussion and rare vocals. The whole album is beautifully recorded; each sonic detail sits beautifully within the wider musical context, conveying a rich sense of perspective. The connection to jazz is occasional, just as there’s a tangential connection to the blues. It doesn’t really matter of course. In The Country’s roots sound as though they reach equally into the rich mulch of soundtracks or folk or gospel. Having said that, if you’re a fan of the more lyrical, meditative elements of Esbjorn Svensson Trio or The Bad Plus then this will be for you. Whatever the genealogy, This Was The Pace Of My Heartbeat makes for beautiful instrumental music.

Published : 04.06.2005