Boomkat Product Review:
Properly transcendent deep-dream jazz fantasy from prolific trumpet virtuoso Arve Henriksen (Supersilent) and Norwegian pianist Kjetil Husebø, together shaping an album that’s much, much more than the not so inconsiderable sum of its parts. Like a fever-dream comedown, it takes us from insanely rich sounding 4th world topographies to fizzing, electric ambience and fluttering prepared piano, perfectly soundtracking the humid un-reality we’re living through. If you’re into Jon Hassell, Miles Davis, Don Cherry/Codona, David Sylvian - read on.
We’ve been snagged on Henriksen’s work since his ‘Chiaroscuro' album appeared back in 2004 - it’s 'Opening Image’ often cited here as basically the last word in cinematic framing. But It's his work alongside Helge Sten (Deathprod) and Ståle Storløkken in Supersilent that’s perhaps thrown us furthest down the Henriksen rabit hole in the years since, his distinctive shakuhachi-style playing often accenting their finest recordings.
'Sequential Stream' is Henriksen’s first collaboration with pianist Kjetil Husebø, the pair assembling the album remotely from their respective studios in Gothenburg, Sweden and Oslo, Norway over the course of 2019 and 2020. Henriksen plays Trumpet alongside synths, various electronics and - on ‘Single Sentence’ - a striking vocal delivery that eschews his usual wordless/soprano in favour of a more dense Tenor. Husebø plays grand piano, synths and samplers, and veers from cascading to more abstracted styles as the album progresses.
In one sense the album functions in a traditional mode of Jazz reflection, aided considerably by a beautifully pristine recording and subsequent mastering by Helge Sten. Every note skips and shimmers with abundant clarity and depth - like the most affecting Jazz, played on the most luxurious systems; it just sounds rich and impossibly clear on even the most modest setup.
At the same time, the pair’s avant garde instincts gradually make an indelible mark - be it through the prepared piano backbone on the remarkable 'Slow Fragments’ or the percolating, Conjoint-esque electronics on 'Sonic Binoculars’, piping in atmospheric depth and disjointed detail like some seismic event rippling through the ocean.
Not usually drawn to the Jazz orthodoxy, 'Sequential Stream' presents us with something of a paradox - it feels like Henriksen’s most approachable work in years, but also his most complex and multi-faceted. If you’re looking for a late night soundtrack to the most celluloid moments of your life - it works on that level. Dig a little deeper, and you’ll discover much more ambiguous, subterranean delights.