Released on the Norwegian Sofa Music-label on March 1st, 2k19 is "Off The Coast", the second conjunctional album effort by musicians Henrik Munkeby Nørstebø and Daniel Lercher which are joined by harpist Julie Rokseth for their sophomore longplayer. Recorded, produced and finalized in the small fishing village of Sula / Norway the now trio presents a new serving of four tracks, opening with the title track "Off The Coast" which combines what seems to be an altered, processed Field Recording of a chugging motor with deep, yet minimalist Ambient modulations and a tender, overall approach of creating Deep Listening Music for highly focused headphone sessions whereas the follow up "Inside Elements" features the singing 80 year old Sula-resident Aksel Johansen, a regular visitor throughout the production sessions, atop a foundation of breaking waves and seemingly naturalist swell before exploring realms of electroacoustic composition, slowly moving vibrations, deep klaxon'esque sonic events perfectly aligned with the village's history and single harp chords over the course of ten minutes. Furthermore we see "Farther Away" bringing forth the calmest, most organic and all embracing low frequency Ambient vibe we've come across in ages and the final cut "Winding" relies on sinewave-based harmonies alongside single piano and harp notes to create a fragile, mystical and enchanting take on highly ethereal, levitating Ambient which works best experienced on an audiophile P.A. system in total, late night silence.
Beautiful.
nitestylez.de


On the other new release by Sofa Music, we find Henrik Munkeby Nørstebø, Daniel Lercher and Julie Rokseth. The first two met in 2010 and released an album together; 'TH_X' (see Vital Weekly 932) and 'Off The Coast' is their second album. It is the result of a week-long residency on an island off the coast from Trondheim (Norway) and they invited Julie Rokseth, a harp player of whom I had not heard before, as their guest for two pieces (and Aksel Johansen on voice in one piece; I am not sure who he is, but he sounds like a local fisherman, singing along with boats and ropes on a rough sea). Nørstebø plays "trombone, half clarinet and breath piano" (the latter two on only one piece) and Lercher plays "laptop, field recordings and bass clarinet", the later instrument on one piece. There are four pieces here and only each they display a refined style of sheer intense silence, or at least that is what it seems. It is not that this is very quiet music, with not a lot happening all the time, but these three players stretch out their playing in. a very economical way. Some drone like sounds here, colliding with a single clarinet tone there, slowly being taken over by some bow on the strings of the harp. Everything unfolds in a very slow way and at doing so one has the impression of time slowing down; a bit. It is like being on a remote island yourself and life is slower and quieter, even more peaceful, I'd say. Everything seems to blend as one natural thing; the field recordings versus whatever Lercher is doing on his laptop (but no doubt some kind of stuff which involves sine wave like sounds) versus the acoustic sounds. It is far a blurred sound, but everything seems to be blurring together and the listener more than once has no idea what is actually what here. I sat back for the entire thirty-seven minutes while this lasted, got up and played it again. It could have been a bit longer, even when there is a slight risk of repetition here, but I doubt that; these musicians are capable of doing more that is not out of place and still a bit different.
vitalweekly


A tiny flutter opens the title track of the new recording by this trio blending noise processing (Henrik Munkeby Nørstebø) and software (Daniel Lercher) with harp (Julie Rokseth) and the results are micro manifestations of buzzy reverb and hushed tones. Off The Coast sounds as its title, like a lonely buoy on the open waters, bobbing in a dusky light, and far from civilization. It's a rather soft open. As the trio moves back to Inside Elements you can clearly hear the creaks of the architecture in which these field recordings were made, and the rising waves. And all is quite still 'til a male voice appears, guest Aksel Johansen, an octogenarian Sula original, contributes a short folk song about the remote island off Trondheim. His voice has a warm, worn cadence and perfectly melds into the mix of atmosphere and elongated effects. As his sweetly crooned tale attests to the sense of place and as we move further into the next tracks I could easily imagine them having used his voice moreso, even if via treatments, but this is his only appearance. The bounce of strings, the subjugated pitch, and the low-to-the-ground melody is parsed with a setting that is subliminal and fatigued. Farther Away offers a single swerving sound wave, filling the room with a pulse of bass lows. The more it dips the more cerebral and foreign it becomes, like a jet engine charging for fuel. Though this is atypical for anything within the field of industrial noise, it has a common thread, but its slack timing breaks the tension. The tone, now twinkling at an even higher range on the final track, Winding, is an atonal warm-up. Its cosmogonic, split-stream timbre is at the top of human range, and as it pings away draws a curvilinear shape in mid air. I'm only now realizing that this record seems to be staged in two separate cycles (tracks 1-2 + tracks 3-4) as this isolated piece has far less in common with the lapping waves heard from the start, and its progression may be the result of some sort of fleeting experiment. As they explain: "By slowly letting the new material unfold and layering a range of sound sources in addition to the duo's regular setup, it soon became clear that the physical impact of the islands grounded people, intense weather and striking 360 degree ocean view would affect the music more than anticipated." GONE FISHIN': The effect on this finale is quizzical to these old ears, much more of an in-situ experiment-in-progress and actually kind of raw. Fortunately the final three minutes starts to off a recall to tie the album back together. The most subtle influx of birds can be heard tweeting, and the pitch drops to what sounds more like a church organ rather than improvised test-tones and inaudible soundwaves. Perhaps the experiment was in measuring the wind and after the brisk bite of breeze coming off waters brought them back to their senses.
toneshift


Certe esperienze artistiche e di vita non possono essere sintetizzate entro un'opera ben delimitata e conchiusa: procedendo per gradi di sintesi e astrazione, l'espressione umana non può che suggerire appena l'inestricabile complessità di elementi sensoriali, pensieri e significazioni sperimentati in prima persona dall'autore. Perciò non soltanto certe opere assumono una vita propria e ben distinta, ma la loro misteriosa alterità emana una luce vibrante e ammaliante rispetto alla quale, molto spesso, non sappiamo produrre spiegazioni a un livello razionale. Anche considerando la vocazione stoicamente sperimentale dell'etichetta norvegese Sofa, l'inedito progetto di Henrik Munkeby Nørstebø (Skadedyr e Lana Trio, fra gli altri) e dell'austriaco Daniel Lercher, liberamente "trasposto" nell'album "Off The Coast", abbraccia un riduzionismo estetico più affine alle consorelle Erstwhile e Another Timbre, avvicinando così gli àmbiti della libera improvvisazione nordica e delle avanguardie post-cageane rappresentate dal collettivo Wandelweiser. Esito di una residenza artistica presso l'isola di Sula, poco distante dalla città portuale di Trondheim, in questo intenso progetto di ricerca, l'approccio di Nørstebø e Lercher presenta chiare somiglianze metodologiche con i duo di Fis e Rob Thorne: in entrambi i casi, l'intervento del primo adatta le sonorità del secondo per mezzo di amplificazioni e "close-up" sonori in tempo reale, mentre il secondo produce suoni a livello acustico/strumentale con il trombone, ma non soltanto per proprio conto, bensì reagendo anche allo spettro riprodotto graficamente in sede digitale. Solo così è possibile generare un autentico dialogo tra elementi pressoché antitetici, senza che l'uno sminuisca o addirittura cannibalizzi l'altro. A questo campionario di fonemi sfuggenti – para-linguaggio condiviso con altre formazioni di casa Sofa come Muddersten e Microtub – si interseca una attenta disamina e dissezione, quasi una parcellizzazione, dell'arpa barocca di Julie Rokseth (membro della Trondheim Jazz Orchestra), assieme a estratti audio di una "arpa eolia" a diciannove corde, strumento già esplorato dal pioniere nostrano Mario Bertoncini, recentemente scomparso. Rintocchi, bordoni vibranti e rapidissimi pizzicati sono i frammenti più vividi del quadro, in gentile ma evidente contrasto con le oscillazioni di onde corte alla Alvin Lucier, tratto sonoro che nel contesto di quest'opera non riesce ad apparire distaccato, bensì entra a far parte del desolato soundscape artificiale come una colonna sonora adesa alla realtà, in una simbiosi immaginifica che riporta alla mente gli scenari del "Deserto Rosso" di Antonioni. Così, pur trovandoci in territori di assoluta astrazione e conscio ermetismo, "Off The Coast" propone un ascolto eccentrico e singolare al quale risulta spontaneo abbandonarsi per poi scoprire nuovi gradi di empatia col suono puro, ancora una volta protagonista di un dominio espressivo il cui fascino, per chi sa riconoscerlo, continua ad apparire inaspetto e prodigioso. La seconda traccia, "Inside Elements", vede la partecipazione di Aksel Johansen, un noto abitante dell'isola che, incuriosito dalle sperimentazioni di Nørstebø e Lercher, ha finito per stringere amicizia e far conoscere loro la 'canzone di Sula', intonata con voce sicura e solenne nell'unico episodio melodico dell'album.
ondarock