Published Jul 13, 2018This is a remarkably assured followup to Hilde Marie Holsen's well-received debut EP Ask. The trumpeter and soundscape artist has delivered an inspired, uncompromising work that pools trumpet and electronics in a beautiful atmospheric wash.
Holsen says these four new pieces — each of them named for a mineral used in coloured paint — are inspired by visual art.
The deep orange-yellow "Orpiment" opens the album with a slow build. Her trumpet joins the synth ambience up front, creating a kind of multi-layered drone effect. You can almost hear her breath in the long, sustained notes. Holsen lines her trumpet up so closely with the electronics that they seem to become one. There are moments on this track — and indeed, throughout the album — where it's hard to distinguish the two.
The dark green "Eskolaite" starts with a rattling synth line, and then progresses with an abrasive (albeit quiet) electronic soundscape. That more gritty approach sets this piece apart from its predecessor, quickly signalling that we're in for a nuanced 35-minute recording. Again, the trumpet performance is sympathetic to the electronics — its tension is unmistakable.
The blue "Lapis" is the album's most romantic piece. It opens with an inspiring trumpet solo that provides a bit of insight into just how talented an artist Holsen is. It may be the album's brightest highlight.
Finally, the album's title track (a deep blue) delivers the album's most energetic piece. Triumphant, without a hint of aggression, it builds to an electronic highpoint before drifting back to a soulful mix of ambient synths and gentle horn playing.
There will be comparisons between this album and the work of Jon Hassell; they are fair, so long as they're not taken to suggest a lack of creativity. Holsen is too talented a performer, with too imaginative an approach to her work, to be described in purely comparative terms. (Hubro)