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Worship can come in many forms, and can happen in many different kinds of place. Music can make its church anywhere. With Places Of Worship, Arve Henriksen moves into the front rank of world class musicians. The Norwegian trumpet player has made his mark over many years, not only as the horn player with the consistently challenging and long lived group Supersilent, but also as the purveyor of exquisite and distinctive solo work that stretches to four solo albums since 2001, which Rune Grammofon recently repackaged as a career-spanning box set, Solidification. Deeply rooted in the sublime geology of his Norwegian homeland, Henriksen's music has developed into something beautifully at one with natural habitats and reflecting the hybrid, cosmopolitan environments of the twenty-first century. On Places Of Worship, he inhabits the space between these two worlds, in a series of tone poems and mood pieces located around religious buildings and ruins. These still, silent quarters and abandoned houses of the holy can be where we experience our deepest moments of reflection, silence and occasionally fear. Making the aura of these places audible, Henriksen's haunted horn and idiosyncratic treble vocals carry an air of treading on forbidden territory, stirring up the dust of forgotten spirits. As well as suggesting the creaking timbers and salty tang of North African ports (Alhambra) and the whiff of Gallic scirocco (Le Cimitire Marin), it stirs fond memories of fellow musical souls, both alive and dead: the Miles Davis of Sketches Of Spain and Aura; the Fourth World exotica of Jon Hassell. Arve Henriksen played in various jazz ensembles in his youth before co-forming Supersilent in 1997. His trumpet, augmented with effects and electronics, has appeared with David Sylvian, Terje Rypdal, Nils Petter Molvr, Jon Balke, Terje Isungset and Iain Ballamy's Food. With Supersilent he recently collaborated with former Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones
- Product Dimensions : 12.48 x 12.36 x 0.2 inches; 7.76 Ounces
- Manufacturer : Rune Grammofon
- Original Release Date : 2014
- Date First Available : August 14, 2013
- Label : Rune Grammofon
- ASIN : B00EJGMJRI
- Number of discs : 1
- Best Sellers Rank: #677,522 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Update: Almost two years to the day since I first reviewed it, and after rediscovering it again this week it sounds better than ever. Sublime work, majestic yet humble all at once.
It's difficult for me to choose my favorite of Arve's albums: I might turn to some more than others, although they are all fascinating. On Sakuteiki, his debut, he showed his Japanese shakuhachi influences more clearly with compositions of a bare, purely emotive beauty (try the first track, Sanmon/Main Entrance for a good example). Cartography, his last album (before Chron, which is available only as part of a box set) proved even further that Arve, accompanied in particular by sound wizard Jan Bang, was capable of breathtaking collages of field recordings, processed sounds, and trumpet (try "Sorrow and its Opposite"). In my opinion, his best compositions have an attention to gorgeous melody rivaling the holy minimalism of Arvo Part; the sounds themselves conjured on these albums are so uniquely beautiful and strangely appropriate for their settings that their digital manipulation never really comes to mind.
The first side of Places of Worship contains some of Arve's most frankly beautiful songs to date - sonically adventurous but accessible and evocative. Like Talk Talk, Arve uses silences as effectively as he does noises. "Saraswati" should be a pleasure for fans of Arve's collaborations with David Sylvian or Sylvian's solo albums, with its rhythmic, slightly jazzy bassline, enveloping atmospherics, and reassuring coda which transfers abruptly to Blue Nile-style romanticism. "The Sacristan" seems to take some inspiration from the great melancholy, Paris in winter soundtrack, Anouar Brahem's " Le Pas Du Chat Noir ." "Lament" might be the most wonderful song I've heard all year- like a stripped down Sigur Ros, it frames Arve's unique vocals with a vaporous cloud of congregants and organ and quietly reaches to the sky. Absolutely stunning track. "Alhambra" showcases Arve at his most intriguing, incorporating acoustic guitar to chilling effect, while "Shelter from the Storm" makes me think of Arve and Max Richter collaborating on a pop song - in the best possible way.
Thank you, Arve and company for creating one of the year's best.
Perhaps nothing is more striking and enchanting than the opening of the album, titled “Adhān” (the Islamic call to worship, with the root of the word derived from the Arabic ‘adhina’, which means ‘to listen’). Set among a field recording of chirping birds and barely audible and very distant voices of the muezzin, we find Henriksen echo the motifs of the prayer with an instrument whose ambiance is lost among the wind. Suddenly the trumpet gets submerged in beautiful reverb, the strings come in along with orchestral arrangement, and we are fully enveloped by captivating textures. This is where we drown.
Deriving inspiration from various locations of worship, Henriksen composes ten tone poems set around religious buildings, holy places, and abandoned ruins. Although the music does not carry any particular religious connotation, it nevertheless touches on moments of reflection, introspection, and even the sudden fear of the unknown. This exalted sound exudes haunting beauty, spiritual sensitivity, and apparitions of those that have already left.
“Making the aura of these places audible, Henriksen’s haunted horn and idiosyncratic treble vocals carry an air of treading on forbidden territory, stirring up the dust of forgotten spirits.“
Another dazzling element of the album is the reminder of Henriksen’s distinctive soprano voice, which could be easily mistaken for that of a woman’s. It is particularly arresting on “Lament”, where it soars above falsetto range, resembling a flute-like melody with breathy overtones. If words did not contribute to the concept, one would easily draw an immediate parallel of tonal fluctuations between the trumpet and his voice. The moody pieces at times enter a shadow territory of dark ambiance (just as I like it), evoking specters, phantoms and ghosts of temples, churches and mosques, indubitably carrying the history, magnetism and energy of human praise, solitude and angst among these sacred places of worship.
The recording features additional appearances and samples from Jan Bang, Eivind Aarset and The Norwegian Wind Ensemble, most notable of which is the charming singing by Erik Honoré, on the very last track, titled “Shelter From The Storm”. Places of Worship is highly recommended for fans of Miles Davis, Jon Hassell, David Sylvian, Triosk and Fennesz. Be sure to also check out Henriksen’s past releases, Sakuteiki (2001), Chiaroscuro (2004), and Strjon (2007), all available directly from Rune Grammofon. For a quick tour of the label, track down the limited edition 4×10″ box set of favorite various selections celebrating 150 releases by the label, titled Sailing To Byzantium.
Top reviews from other countries
Ethereal sounds that takes you to another place and a closing song, which is melancholic in its beauty