Boomkat Product Review:
The celebrated Norwegian composer, pianist and bandleader follows his three previous Hubro releases (the solo 'Pianokammer', the duo LP 'Brutter', and a collaboration with Trondheim Jazz Orchestra, 'Untitled Arpeggios and Pulses') with an album for his principal performing group, the Christian Wallumrød Ensemble.
"As well as offering continuities with the past - earlier versions of the Ensemble recorded five well-received albums for the ECM label, from 2001 to 2012 - the performance of the seven original compositions on 'Kurzsam and Fulger' represents a significant refinement of Wallumrod's methods: a further stripping away of extraneous material to create a harder, leaner style that can be as close to pure sound as it is to music.
While the composer's background in both jazz and church music, and his varied musical interests - from early polyphony to John Cage to techno - remain evident, there's a new, rigorously austere aesthetic where less really does mean more. The minimal instrumental resources that Wallumrød employs, and his daring juxtaposition of sound with long beats of silence, nevertheless combine to produce music of great beauty, as if the limited means used had to be countered by a compensatory leap of imagination.
Although this new, cut-down Ensemble is reduced to five members, the players' doubling and tripling of instruments and their variety of sound-making approaches (blowing, sucking, hitting, scraping, whatever…) make it a kind of highly portable mini-orchestra, whose acoustic effects can mimic electronic processing with uncanny accuracy. Wallumrød plays both piano and harmonium; Eivind Lønning, trumpet; Espen Reinertsen, saxophone; Tove Törngren, cello and the virtuoso percussionist Per Oddvar Johansen, drums and vibraphone, make up the ensemble."