Arve Henriksen - Strjon
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Arve Henriksen

Strjon is the third solo album from trumpet-player Arve Henriksen, who also plays in Supersilent and Christian Wallumrød Ensemble. "Strjon" is actually the mediaeval name of Henriksen's hometown Stryn in Norway, and that connection with his home and youth is for good reason, as many of the tracks on the release are based on and pulled from a huge collection of improvised sketches that he's been creating since the age of sixteen. Joined by Supersilent members Ståle Storløkken and Helge Sten, it's a brooding album of mystical tracks that are centered around his trumpet, but veer of in completely different directions as well.

"Evocation" opens the release, and like some sort of mournful unheard call across some wide open space, Henriksen's scratchy playing is stark and isolated in space, with dreary bleats sounding like they will crumple at any moment. "Black Mountain" follows and filtered skronks loop and fold on themselves while glacial keyboard layers as ruptured with powerful analogue synth notes as the track moves in a more progressive direction before ending where it started.

The album is at it's best on tracks like the quiet "Ascent," which very well may be one of the best things that Henriksen has ever done. On the track, filtered vocal layers waver with fragility while quiet tinkling percussion and sad horns layer in over it all. Considering the people involved, it's no surprise that it sounds like a quiet moment from Supersilent themselves. The same sort of vocal layering plus horns and synths is repeated on "Glacier Descent," and again the track is a standout, morphing from a darker, more guttural beginning to a downright glorious finale.

Other tracks on the release aren't quite as successful. "Ancient And Accepted Rite" shows off some lovely analogue electronics but doesn't go much of anywhere, while "Green Water" dips into more improvisational waters with clattery percussion and some nice, but meandering horn playing from Henriksen himself. Meanwhile, the title track "Strjon" is a three minute slab of dark ambience that wouldn't sound at all out of place on a Deathprod release. Outstanding in places and a bit frustrating in others, Strjon is a fine release from an adventurous young artist.

rating: 710
Aaron Coleman 2007-04-12 21:00:59