sun 04/12/2022

Album: Maridalen - Bortenfor | reviews, news & interviews

Album: Maridalen - Bortenfor

Album: Maridalen - Bortenfor

Norwegian jazz trio tunes in to reverberations of the past

Maridalen's 'Bortenfor': the soundtrack to a reverie

At first, Bortenfor comes across as an all-instrumental extended mood piece. A breathy saxophone and trumpet mesh over a gently see-sawing double bass. Clusters of piano notes occasionally intersperse themselves into the undulating textures. A pedal steel evokes shimmering water.

After nine tracks the album ends with “I havn,” a hymnal composition with wordless vocals and a series of crescendos. Once it’s all over, the lingering feeling is of having leafed through old photo albums, the sense that frozen pasts are trying to assert their presence in the present; that Bortenfor – the title translates as beyond – is the soundtrack to a reverie. Fittingly, the Norwegian trio Maridalen recorded their second album in a late 19th-century wooden church in the valley from which they take their name. Just north of Oslo, Maridalen the place is dominated by forests and lakes, and mostly unpopulated.

Maridalen the jazz outfit play as if they are of one mind. Barely anything leaps out as a solo, although Andreas Rødland Haga (double bass) Anders Hefre (sax) Jonas Kilmork Vemøy (trumpet) take on passages where their instrument is to the fore. It’s the same with guests Emil Brattested (pedal steel) and Aleksander Sjølie (piano). Nothing distracts from the whole. There’s a sax-trumpet call-and-response during “Månesykkel” but it’s purposely low key. None of this means Bortenfor lacks power – a percussive, rhythmic assertiveness courses throughout. It’s more that restraint brings power.

Clearly, Maridalen have thought a lot about what has gone into Bortenfor. Vemøy teaches at The Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo. Each of the trio has composed separate tracks for the album: the three by Haga are the most insistent. But there’s an organic friskiness about what’s been recorded. Perhaps making the album in the church has had an effect. The wistful Bortenfor seems to draw from memories embedded in its timber.


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