Recorded between 2005 and 2008
Recorded, engineered and mixed at Punkt Studio, Kristiansand, except
Recorded live at Punkt Festival, Kristiansand, June 2005
Overdubs recorded at Punkt Studio
Track 2, Part one
Recorded at Samadhisound
Trumpet recorded at 7.de Etage
Additional trumpet recorded at Punkt Studio
Track 10, Part Two
Recorded live at Punkt Festival, Kristiansand, August 2006
Recorded live at Stadtgarten, Cologne
Assembled at Punkt Studio
Voice recorded at Samadhisound
Mastered at Audio Virus Lab, Oslo
Trumpeter Arve Henriksen's brand of contemporary improvised music could easily be compared to ECM labelmates Jon Hassell and Nils Petter Molv?r. Yet there are certain distinctions that separate the voodoo economic vistas of Hassell and the film noir style of Molv?r from the spacious, more organic sound that Henriksen has created on this recording, as the title suggests. Using the slightest of note clusters or phrases, Henriksen also surrounds himself with a certain yin-yang concept, where 180-degree polar opposites congeal without clashing. The titles of these tracks suggests such a maelstrom and symmetry within ideas that in real life have nothing to do with each other. It is to the trumpeter's credit that he has the grand foresight to take these disparate themes into a music whose homogeneity and beauty are heard clearly without any foggy scenarios or cryptic meanings. Each track (some were recorded in concert at the Punkt Festival in Kristiansand) features a differently configured group of musicians, all with Henriksen in tandem with programmer Jan Bang, who also is a collaborator with Hassell (see his 2009 ECM release Last Night the Moon Came Dropping Its Clothes in the Street). "Poverty and Its Opposite" and "Sorrow and Its Opposite" bookend the CD with small loops, a serene framework, a somewhat nautical presence, and the trumpeter's spare inserts. David Sylvian recites poetry during the overdubbed, layered, space music-infused "Before and Afterlife" and the more romantic, sex in the morning-inspired "Thermal." More sensuality appears during "Migration" as legendary ECM bassist Lars Danielsson makes an appearance, bolstering the backdrop while Henriksen muses away a la Hassell. Where "From Birth" is wafting and "Ouija" is drifting, nothing is lost or dissipated as a flutelike sound is extracted from brass or steamy loops, respectively. There are two duets back to back from Henriksen and Bang, as Arabic samples and a dictaphone are employed during "Loved One," while a classical motif of echoed repose is employed on the somber "The Unremarkable Child." While mood shifts are slight and flow from track to track, they do mark a discernible development that is smartly programmed, as with most ECM efforts. Early-period vocal mavens will find the medieval fragments written by William Brooks in "Famine's Ghost" and the reverent, delicate samples borrowed from Trio Medi?val with live singing on "Recording Angel" to be quite captivating. Cartography is a wonderfully realized, musically mapped study of land, sea, and sky through the ears of a very literate, wise, and wide-eyed sonic landscaper who understands the beauty, subtleties, nooks, and crannies of both ancient and modern musical values.
- Michael G. Nastos (All Music Guide)
The uniquely lyrical, liquid and mellifluous sound of Arve Henriksen's trumpet has had an important supportive role to play on a number of ECM recordings of the last decade. Amongst them - Christian Wallumrod's "No Birch", "Sofienberg Variations", "A Year from Easter" and "The Zoo is Far", Trygve Seim's "Different Rivers", "The Source and Different Cikadas" and "Sangam" , Jon Balke's "Kyanos", Sinikka Langeland's "Starflowers", Frode Haltli's "Passing Images", Arild Andersen's "Elektra" ... albums which between them represent a very broad range of musical possibilities. In each context, however, Henriksen has proven to be both a highly-distinctive and uncommonly adaptive player. This versatility provides a subtext for the present disc, which pools a shifting cast of creative musicians from diverse genres including jazz, electronica, ambient and classical music and the world of the remix. Singer David Sylvian makes two appearances reading his own texts, Ana Maria Friman sings fragments of William Brooks's "Anima Mea" and the voices of the Trio Mediaeval emerge, sampled, on "Recording Angel". Guitarist Eivind Aarset, and drummer Audun Kleive loom out of the mix, and Stale Storlokken, Arve's colleague from noise/rock/improv band Supersilent, has a cameo on "Famine's Ghost".
"Cartography", the art of making maps, is an apt title. Recorded in the studio and in concert in Kristiansand, Oslo, Cologne and London it is almost a map of moods, of landscapes and soundscapes for Henriksen to explore. His trumpet floats and hovers over ever-changing territory.
"Over the last few years, " says Henriksen, "I've been trying to find ways of playing that feel right for me and areas of music that interest me enough to keep returning to them. And I've been feeling uncomfortable with the idea of ending up playing 'improvised jazz'. This album is part of a process of going back to go further. For more than twenty years electronics have been part of what I do, and the collaboration with Jan Bang and Erik Honore has been inspirational. I like very much their way of bringing together acoustic instrument and electronics, their way of building and combining elements, sometimes from different places and times." He points out that Bang and Honore draw inspiration from the work of Jon Hassell, who is also a primary influence on Arve's 'vocal' trumpet sound. There is a sense of a cycle of history completing itself - especially with Hassell, Eno and others now contributing to the Punkt festival curated by Bang and Honore, where 'live remixing' is a standard part of the programming. In that sense, "Cartography" belongs to an alternative tradition of music making that includes improvisation and sound-sculpturing, dubs and remixing and awareness of ambience.
It's also clearly in line with Arve's own history. The early interest in far eastern sound and the shakuhachi which triggered investigation into new means of tone-production is reflected once more in pieces like "From Birth". The work methods employed also extend experiments Henriksen and Bang had begun on the album "Chiaraoscuro" issued by Rune Grammofon in 2004.
The association with David Sylvian has been percolating for a few years. Arve has contributed to some of the singer's work, including his "Nine Horses" project, and Sylvian has utilised samples of Arve's trumpet in a Japanese art museum installation piece, "When Loud Weather Buffeted Naoshima". Material from this source was refashioned into "Before and Afterlife, Part 1": "The first part of this piece is really David's production: then Jan Bang began adding material." (As "Cartography"'s associate wordsmith, Sylvian also provided titles for the tracks here).
Several of the pieces began life as improvisations, "but there were many ways of working. There are also layers of composed music... including sketches Jan Bang sent me as computer file back at the beginning of the project." Being open to contingency was part of the plan; the work, Henriksen figured, should develop organically. "Recording Angel" is one such instance. Bang had been working with arranger Vytas Sondeckis on another project and began to develop it experimentally. Having recently recorded the Trio Mediaeval (the three singers are also part of a new quintet with Henriksen and Bang), he integrated the voices singing the mediaeval song "Oi me lasso" into his mix. "It fit perfectly into this new soundscape," Henriksen says.
Currently Henriksen, Bang and friends are exploring ways to bring this music to the stage.
"Cartography" was launched with a release concert in Oslo on October 17 2008.