Close

Ballrogg: Cabin Music

 

HUBROCD2515
International release: May 2012

 

CD iTunes

 

 

The unique and distinctive woodwind/double bass duo Ballrogg previously released two critically acclaimed records, but on “Cabin Music” we encounter an entirely new version of the band. The most obvious change is that the duo has now become a trio. The new member of the band is guitarist Ivar Grydeland (Huntsville, Dans les Arbres), and he has brought a new sound arsenal, fresh perspectives and new moods to the group.
 
The duo was originally established in 2006 by saxophonist Klaus Holm (Murmur, Trondheim Jazz Orchestra) and double bassist Roger Arntzen (In the Country, Chrome Hill) as a means of exploring the music of Eric Dolphy in a format that has been stripped down to its bare essentials. The two musicians delved into tunes from heroes such as Paul Bley, Ornette Coleman and Jimmy Giuffre, and eventually began composing their own material. Their love of Morton Feldman’s introverted and subdued chamber music and contemporary European music has been apparent since their second album, “Insomnia” (Bolage), was released in 2010. Ballrogg presents a very personal type of chamber music with roots in jazz and free jazz.
 
The group’s palette has been further extended on this new album, with music that evokes the sounds of both guitarist Bill Frisell and the Chicago band Town & Country. The group has maintained its intimate form of expression, but has infused the music with new warmth. Perhaps with the title “Cabin Music”, the band is hinting at the intimate nature of the music.
 
Recorded by Øystein Frantzvåg at Parachute Studio, Oslo. Mixed and mastered by Giuseppe Ielasi.
 
Cabin-Music_72dpi

Share:

Cabin-Music_72dpi

Reviews:

  1. On Cabin Music the duo has become a trio with the addition of Ivar Grydeland (Huntsville, Les Dans les Arbres), and his work on guitar, banjo, and pedal steel exerts a huge impact on Ballrogg’s sound. Arntzen continues to provide the music’s pulse and backbone, with crisp, articulate lines and a warm, woody tone; the other two musicians alternate between intricate, interwoven ensemble patterns and terse soloistic passages. Some pieces on the new album are episodic—”Sliding Doors” traipses through multiple moods, tempos, and textures—and others, such as “Swedish Country” (which you can check out below), feel more sustained and unified even as they drift from idea to idea. Thanks largely to Grydeland’s patient but liquid playing, I’m reminded of the great Austrian trio Trapist—who release their first album in seven years, The Golden Years (Staubgold), on June 15—even though Ballrogg lacks a drummer. Ellerhausen Holm contributes electronics and field recordings as well as his usual alto saxophone and clarinet; the beautiful long tones, frictive pops, and electronic-sounding swoops he can create with his reeds blend wonderfully with Grydeland’s guitars.
    - Chicago Reader, Peter Margasak (USA)

  2. Ballrogg started as a duo exploring minimalist motifs with guest musicians joining in the creation of their organic sounds. Now expanded to a full trio with the addition of Ivar Grydeland, Ballrogg feel very expansive and even more creative. With their brilliant new album, Cabin Music, you’ll actually want to go out and tell as many friends as possible. Opening on an experimental folk tone with “Swedish Country” uniquely describes the Scandinavian musical landscape. A rolling pattern led by Grydeland’s pedal steel guitar and swirling notes from Ellerhusen on clarinet make this journey beautiful and transcendent. “Sliding Doors” is built on a repeating chord led Arntzen. Rydeland and Ellerhusen both improvise around it with creative resonate effect. The piece has a number of ebbs and flows that eventually led to Ellerhusen’s sax gently riding the piece to its closing. A short album (four tracks at a total of 35 minutes), Cabin Music still conjures up a great deal of inventiveness. An interesting comparison might the American low-fi trio Low which has crafted this ethereal minimalist folk for over two decades. Ballrogg, though, have manage to add a cold European beauty this sound that makes more than just meditative. It becomes enriching, passionate and reflective. Cabin Music sees this new trio bursting with new found direction.
    - Jazzwrap (USA)

  3. Ballrogg began life as a duo: somewhere between Paul Bley and Eric Dolphy, on the one hand, and Morton Feldman on the other. The arrival of guitarist Ivar Grydeland (of the act Huntsville, formerly on Rune Grammofon but now also signed to Hubro) introduces a hint of Americana – also suggested in the album title and in “Swedish Country”, the opening track. It might sound a strange mix, but bassist Roger Arntzen is also a member of In The Country, who themselves combine worship of Bley and Feldman with an equal love of Ryan Adams. Country music might be the home of the song, but there´s no singing here; it´s country on clarinet, less Taylor Swift than Nels Cline or BJ Cole. And Americana is only one influence at play: at other times, the record calls to mind neo-classical acts like Clogs, Yann Tiersen, Hauschka and Philip Jeck. This is panoramic music, restrained and expansive: maybe it doesn´t matter if the landscape it overlooks is coated in sand or in ice.
    - Jazzwise, Marcus O´Dair (UK)

  4. Im Jazz gibt es ja bekanntlich viele Wege, die nach Oslo führen: Autobahnen, Landstrassen, Feldwege und Trampelpfade. Und auch hier gilt: Je niedriger die Kategorisierung, desto interessanter wird’s. Ballrogg aus Norwegen bewegen sich eher auf den weniger frequentierten Pisten und haben daher den Vorteil der uneingeschränkten Individualität. Ursprünglich als ein Saxophon/Bass Duo in die Welt getreten, hat man sich nun mit einem Gitarristen zu einem Trio erweitert und dadurch das Spektrum noch einmal deutlich erweitert. Stilistisch bewegt man sich in einem Wirkungskreis improvisierter Kammermusik, ergänzt durch Spuren von Electronics und eingestreuten Feldaufnahmen. Das ergibt eine zurückgenommene, sphärische bis chillige Mantramusik, die aber ohne jeden esoterischen Anstrich auskommt. Trotzdem kann man bei zarten Woodwinds, knuspriger E-Perkussion, tänzelndem Bass und verspielter Gitarre wunderbar in meditative Welten abdriften, wenn man das Hörerlebnis nur intensiv genug gestaltet. Als inspirative Vorlagen dienten den drei Musikern die Klangwelten von Paul Bley, Ornette Coleman oder Morton Feldman, aber auch die Chicagoer Formation „Town and Country”. Dass Ballrogg dennoch daraus einen ganz eigenen Kosmos der stillen Klänge generiert haben, spricht für deren bemerkenswertes Kreativpotenzial. Die vier Stücke zwischen 8 und 10 Minuten entwickeln jedenfalls eine Anziehungskraft, die nicht zu unterschätzen ist.
    - Sound&Image (DE)

  5. Aus Twopiece mach Trio, aus alten Balrogg mach neue. Mit dem Neuzugang Ivar Grydeland (unter anderem bei Huntsville musizierend) hat sich auch einiges im Sound des von Klaus Ellerhusen Holm und Roger Arntzen gegründeten Projektes verändert. Zu den Electronica, der Klarinette, dem Kontrabass und dem Altsaxophon haben sich auf diesem Drittwerk nun eine Akustikgitarre, ein Banjo, eine Pedal Steel und ein Radio hinzugesellt, und das sorgt für zahlreiche nie dagewesene Facetten in den vier ruhigen, hypnotischen, collagenähnlichen, im Schnitt neun Minuten langen Stücken. In Stücken, die Jazz, Kammermusik, Free Jazz und gar Country in einer ureigenen, experimentellen Form wie selbstverständlich kollidieren und kopulieren lassen. Für Freunde der Songstruktur und der Unrast ist das nichts, aber wenn man sich auf mysteriöse Klangsafari begeben möchte und offen für Musik von Ornette Coleman, Morton Feldman, Weather Report und Co. ist, ist man hier genau richtig.
    - NoisyNeighbours (DE) 11/15

  6. Grydeland tilfører uttrykket klangdimensjonar som ein dels kjenner frå Huntsville og ein rustikk venleik
    som eg i stor grad assosierer med Bill Frisell. Lytt til dømes til Pedal Steel-gitarspelet hans på Swedish Country. Låten er elles ein fin illustrasjon av det beste med Ballroggs musisering. Her glir sekvensane saumlaust inn i einannan og instrumenta blandar seg i ein perfekt balansert samklang.
    - Dag og Tid (N)

  7. Duoen Ballrogg er udvidet med et medlem mere. In The Country-bassisten Roger Arntzen var tidligere alene sammen med Klaus Ellerhusen Holm (alt-sax, klarinet, electronics). Med tilføjelsen af guitaristen Ivar Grydeland har de åbnet op for nye aspekter på deres tredje album. Med afsæt i jazz og freejazz giver de et personligt bud på nutidig kammermusik. Med så forskellige musikalske helte som Paul Bley, Ornette Coleman, Jimmy Giuffre og Morton Feldman skaber de musik, der både kan lyde henad Bill Frisell og Chicago-gruppen Town & Contry. Blandingen af elektronik og akustiske smelter sammen og det er til at ikke afgøre, hvornår noget begynder og andet holder op. Det er blevet til eksperimenterende musik, hvor der veksles mellem minimalistiske figurer og klangflader. Ballrogg kan lyde som en støvet og doven amerikansk ørken. De kan lyde som et forladt fabrik, der ivrigt venter på at larme igennem. For folk med en svaghed for eksperimenterende instrumental musik – der både kan være rock, electronica og jazz – er Ballrogg anbefalelsesværdig.
    - Jazznyt (DK)

  8. På sin tredje skive har bass/blås-duoen Ballrogg utvida med multigitarist (Grydeland), og dermed blitt trio. Fire låter med gjennomsnittslengde på rett under ni minutter. Medianlengde omtrent det samme. En kort plate, men skal det vise seg, en plate med mange skifter og en salig sjangersammenblanding. Cabin Music er dronende bassganger, glidende, støyende og tidvis hard gitar og virvlende og/eller langstrakt treblås. Cabin Music er hypnotisk. Cabin Music setter seg godt i hjernebarken.
    - Jazzinorge.no (N)

  9. De fire låtene, som alle er skrevet av Ellerhusen Holm, varer fra vel 8 til vel 10 minutter, har en ro og en retning i og ved seg som fortsatt gjør Ballrogg til en helt unik organisme. Grydeland kler de to “gründerne” på et utsøkt vis og musikken framstår som varmere enn noen gang. Den passer utmerket til hyttetur eller en stille og reflekterende stund i heimen.
    - Side2.no, Tor Hammerø (N) – 5/6

  10. Norska frijazzduon Ballrogg, med Klaus Ellerhusen Holm (bl a saxofon) & Roger Arntzen (bas), som nu släpper sitt tredje album ‘Cabin Music’ har inte bara bytt bolag till Hubro, (som vi kunde läsa om i Skivbolagsartikeln, Lira #1-2012). Nä, det är numera även en trio, då Ivar Grydeland (diverse stränginstrument, som gitarrer), vilken spelat med de flesta stora namnen på den nordiska (=internationella) frijazz-och improvisationsscenen, upptagits i gruppen. Ballrogg rör sej på Cabin Music ljudmässigt åt det minimalistiska hållet. På ‘Breakfast Music’ är det stundtals väldigt nära Philip Glass’ Qatsi-soundtrack. Mest fantasieggande är ‘Fireplace’. Här sprakar det. Kvidande domedagsljud som för tankarna till isländska Hildur Guðnadóttir. Någon tycks ha trampat den lilla Ballroggungen på svansen, som nu sitter på golvet i ett hörn ock småryker & gnyr. Ballroggen låter sej dock tröstas när Cdn efter 36 lågmälda minuter påbörjar sitt andra varv ock ‘Swedish Country’ åter ljuder likt en mistlur långt, långt borta i den täta morgondimma någonstans i Sverige…
    - B:Sides 4/5 (SE)