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Nils Petter Molvær - Switch CD (album) cover


Nils Petter Molvær


Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.04 | 4 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars -- The first review for this album --

Norwegian Nils Petter Molvaer (b. 1960) is a genre-bending musician whose main instrument is trumpet. A part of his career is connected to the famous ECM label. Switch is not an ECM release, but mentioning that highly distinctive label surely helps to get some idea of the music. Especially as a trumpeter creating hazy and moody ambiences, I find him more or less reminiscent to Jon Hassel who has worked with Brian Eno among others. In addition to trumpet Molvaer handles here acoustic guitar, synths and programming, and his four co-musicians are also multi-instrumentalists. Less ordinary instruments include xylophone, zither and harmonica.

The approximately 45-minute album starts with the title track, which is the longest one (6:54). It's a slow, delicate and beautifully moody piece. Only little sonic details reveal that the performers are no strangers to electric experimentalism. This music breathes widely and goes straight to the listener's emotions and inner visions. 'The Kit' has a strong drum pattern but IMHO loses in emotion what it wins in dynamics. 'Intrusion I' is a brief and serene ambient piece mainly for trumpet and guitar. Later on Intrusions VII, VI and III (sic) continue giving spatial and dreamy slots amid more worked out tracks. 'Quiet Corners' builds its tension more by holding back than by letting go. The zither and steel drum make appearances.

'Strange Pillows' finds a good balance between the trumpet-centred mood and the more hectic and somewhat industrial soundscape with cool percussion. I get an association to Peter Gabriel's fourth album. 'Bathroom' has heavy drum work (indeed in a Gabriel-ish manner), and therefor trumpet is also played more intensely, but still it maintains its capacity to create the deep mood -- which it naturally does more effectively on the more delicate pieces.

I think this is the only Molvaer album I've entirely listened to this far, so I cannot evaluate it against his output. Nevertheless, I believe Switch to be in every way a fine place to start. A strong and cinematic listening experience for those with patient ears and an open mind. Recommended, if you enjoy slightly experimental, ambience-based music and -- most of all -- appreciate melancholic moods.

Matti | 4/5 |


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