INTERVIEW: THOMAS STRØNEN The Importance Of Being Thomas Strønen

themilkman on Dec 4th 2011 08:48 pm

INTERVIEW: THOMAS STRØNEN: The Importance Of Being Thomas Strønen

Thomas Strønen is undoubtedly one of the most talented drummers of his generation. A member of Food, Humcrush, Meadow, Monsters & Puppets and many more, his very diverse, yet highly recognisable style puts him is at the heart of these projects. With new albums from Monsters & Puppets, Humcrush and The Living Room, Thomas takes some time off his incredibly busy schedule to talk to themilkfactory about how he started playing drums, his long-standing collaboration with Iain Ballamy as Food, his relationship with Maria Kannegaard and how it led to Monsters & Puppets, and what his next solo project may be. Continue Reading »

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NILS ØKLAND / SIGBJØRN APELAND: Lysøen – Hommage A Ole Bull (ECM Records)

themilkman on Jul 18th 2011 01:39 am

Nils Økland/Sigbjørn Apeland: Lisøen – Hommage A Ole Bull

Lysøen – Hommage A Ole Bull
ECM Records 2011
16 Tracks. 61mins56secs

Amazon UK: CD | DLD US: CD iTunes: DLD | Spotify: STRM

Violinist and Hardanger fiddle player Nils Økland and pianist and harmonium player Sigbjørn Apeland join forces to pay tribute to nineteenth century Norwegian violinist and composer Ole Bull, who, in his time, was one of the country’s most highly regarded musicians. While his work has led him to be accompanied by some of Europe’s greatests, including Franz Liszt who considered him a genius, Bull found most of his inspiration in his country’s folklore and borrowed a number of traditional themes to incorporate in his compositions. He was also a keen and talented improviser. In 1872, Bull acquired a small island off the west coast of Norway, Lysøen, where he had a house built on designed by architect Conrad Fredrik von der Lippe. Over a hundred years later, the house was donated to Norway by his granddaughter and has since been the scene for many concerts. Økland and Apeland were however the first musicians to record in the house, and both were given access to some of Bull’s instruments, Apeland using his harmonium and Økland his violin, dating back to 1734.  Continue Reading »

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themilkman on Jun 8th 2011 01:48 am

Ricardo Villalobos/Max Loderbauer: Re: ECM

EMC Records 2011
17 Tracks. 134mins27secs

Amazon UK: CD US: CD

Convincing ECM mastermind Manfred Eicher of the validity of letting Ricardo Villalobos and Max Loderbauer, known primarily for their involvement with linear minimal techno, loose in the ECM catalogue, one of the most aesthetically consistent catalogues there is, was probably never going to be a given, but the pair got his support early on after he visited them in their Berlin studio as they were just beginning working on the project.

What the pair propose here are not so much remixes as entirely new contextualisations of sonic spaces. Each of the pieces presented is based on segments of a particular work lifted from the vast ECM catalogue, but Villalobos and Loderbauer essentially create new compositions out of the raw material at their disposition. Continue Reading »

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themilkman on Oct 27th 2010 01:28 am

Nik Bärtsch’s Ronin: Llyrìa

ECM Records 2010
07 Tracks. 56mins08secs

Amazon UK: CD US: CD | DLD iTunes: DLD

Swiss composer and pianist Nik Bärtsch returns to ECM for the third time with his ensemble, Ronin, which he has led for nearly ten years now. Originally a quartet formed of long term collaborator Kaspar Rast on drums, Björn Meyer on bass, Andi Pupato on percussion, the formation expanded to a quintet with the addition of Sha on bass clarinet and alto saxophone in 2006.

Taking its title from a newly discovered luminescent creature of the deep which is currently defying classification, Llyrìa, Ronin’s sixth album, expands on the band’s ‘Zen funk’ template, a blend of minimalism and incendiary grooves, which has defined much of their recordings until now. Continue Reading »

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FOOD: Quiet Inlet (ECM Records)

themilkman on Apr 20th 2010 11:55 pm

Food: Quiet Inlet

Quiet Inlet
ECM Records 2010
07 Tracks. 46mins58secs

Amazon UK: CD iTunes: DLD

Formed around the nucleus of British saxophonist Iain Ballamy and Norwegian drummer and percussionist extraordinaire Thomas Strønen, Food once also counted trumpet player Arve Henriksen and bass player Mats Eilertsen as permanent members. The quartet debuted over twelve years ago when Ballamy joined the three Norwegian musicians for a one-off performance on stage. A self-titled album, then a second, Organic & GM Food, two years on, followed, both published on Ballamy’s short-lived Feral Records, before the quartet moved to Rune Grammofon, where they released two more albums, Veggie (2002) and Last Supper (2004), before both Henriksen and Eilertsen left, leaving Ballamy and Strønen sole in charge for the 2006 album Molecular Gastronomy. Continue Reading »

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themilkman on Feb 10th 2010 01:01 am

Christian Wallumrød Ensemble: Fabula Suite Lugano

Fabula Suite Lugano
ECM Records 2009
18 Tracks. 64mins57secs

Amazon UK: CD Amazon US: CD iTunes: DLD

Norwegian pianist and composer Christian Wallumrød debuted on ECM with No Birch (1998), an album recorded as a trio with Arve Henriksen on trumpet and Hans Kristian Kjos Sørensen on percussions. Since, the formation has expanded to include fiddle players Nils Økland and Gjermund Larsen, cellist Tanja Orning, harpist Giovanna Pessi, saxophonist Trygve Seim and drummer Per Oddvar Johansen. Beside his own project, Wallumrød has also worked with a number of other formations (Dans Les Arbes, Close Erase) and alongside the likes of Trigve Seim, Sidsel Endressen, Helge Sten, Audun Kleive, Punkt or Jazzpunkensemblet to name but a few.

Apart for Eivind Lønning replacing Arve Henriksen on trumpet, the sextet gathered by Wallumrød for Fabula Suite Lugano is identical to the one that delivered The Zoo Is Far in 2007. Continue Reading »

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NILS ØKLAND: Monograph (ECM Records)

themilkman on Jan 12th 2010 12:11 am

Nils Økland: Monograph

ECM Records 2009
13 Tracks. 51mins52secs

Amazon UK: CD Amazon US: CD iTunes: DLD Spotify: STRM

Norwegian Hardanger fiddler and violinist Nils Økland has collaborated with a number of Norwegian jazz and folk formations over the years, most notably with the Christian Wallumrød Ensemble, but it is with his solo records, two of which were released on Rune Grammofon, that he is best known. Classically trained, he studied classical violin with Terje Tønnesen, first violin of the Oslo Philarmonic Orchestra, Økland also studied Hardanger fiddle, a traditional Norwegian eight-string cousin of the violin, with some of the most renowned masters of the instrument, before taking on the role of musical director at the Ole Bull Academy, situated in Voss, southern Norway, an institute largely devoted to Norwegian folk music, for a number of years. Continue Reading »

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ARVE HENRIKSEN: Cartography (ECM Records)

themilkman on Dec 9th 2008 01:52 am

Arve Henriksen: Cartography

ECM Records 2008
12 Tracks. 51mins11secs

For his fourth album, Norwegian jazz trumpeter Arve Henriksen has moved from the excellent Rune Grammofon, who have provided a fitting home from his wonderfully airy displays since his debut, Sakuteiki, released in 2001, to the seminal jazz and classical German imprint ECM, which have, over the years, released work by the likes of Jan Garbarek, Keith Jarrett, Arvo Pärt and many more. But, while Cartography is Henriksen’s first solo record for the label, he has contributed to records by the Christian Wallumrød Ensemble, Sinikka Langeland, Frode Haltli or Trygve Seim, to name but a few, all released through ECM. Continue Reading »

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