Friday, September 29, 2006

Solid Ether/Recoloured

Nils Petter Molvaer - Solid Ether/Recoloured

Norwegian trumpeter Nils Petter Molvaer started out playing 'nu jazz' with Masqualero and went on to make his solo debut for ECM records in 1998. Solid Ether was his second solo LP in 2001.

As you might expect from the label, the style of 'Solid Ether' is, well... ethereal. Molvaer's sound owes a lot to Miles Davis circa 'In A Silent Way'. Where this album differs is in it's use of electronics - and particularly drum'n'bass on many tracks. 'Merciful' stands out, with it's melancholy female vocal. As an album, 'Solid Ether' has a very relaxed, saturday night/sunday morning feel, but can seem dull at times. Grey, even.

So it's lovely to hear 'Recoloured'. Remixed by a variety of electronic and jazz musicians, the ideas in 'Solid Ether' are given wings and the result is an album bursting with energy and colour. 'Merciful' opens in the style of the original then bursts into life with ever expanding layers of rhythm. 'Dead Indeed', in the hands of Mind over Midi, turns from Miles-goes-drum'n'bass to an extended piece of ambient acid house. But as seen by Pascal Gabriel, it's funky mid-tempo electronica. Anything goes, pretty much, and it's pulled off beautifully in most cases.

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