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coverpic flag Norway - Full Moon 215 - 03/16/14

Building Instrument
Building Instrument

It's jazz, but I like it. Well, it's not 'jazz', more like some hybrid thing with a mixture of jazz, folk, pop and improvised music. Bergen based trio Building Instrument are Mari Kvien Brunvoll (vocals, electronics, sampler, percussion, zither, kazoo), Åsmund Weltzien (keyboards, synths, electronics, melodica), and Øyvind Hegg-Lunde (drums and percussion). Mari Kvien Brunvoll (Ane Brun's younger sister) is a graduate from the Grieg Academy, Bergen, and she put out a self-titled, live-recorded album two years ago (on Jazzland Recordings), which included the song "Everywhere You Go" (later remixed by Chilean-German musician and DJ Ricardo Villalobos). She's also collaborated and performed with a number of Norwegian (jazz) musicians (including Stein Urheim, Splashgirl) and last December she but out the album 22, as part of the duo Tim Tygg (with Johanne Birkeland). Six years ago she teamed up with drummer Hegg-Lunde (another Grieg Academy graduate, who's playing with a number of bands/projects, such as The Sweetest Thrill, Krachmacher, The Big Almost, Glow, and Crab is Crap - the latter alongside Supersilent's Ståle Storløkken, as well as touring with José Gonzalez' band Junip) and keyboardist Weltzien (who also performs with singer Thea Næss). Years of refinement of their formula have resulted in Building Instrument.

Building Instrument's music is based on texture and moods, with slowly building melodies and rhythm patterns, topped with Kvienvoll's delicate, high pitch voice. Her vocals works as an instrument itself, and the lyircs are sung in dialect. They create soundscapes, or maybe dreamscapes, glowing with laidback melancholy. The cover art shows a glass-less greenhouse flowing over with bushes, which is sort of a good picture of what they sound like. The 7-tracks-37-minutes-long album presents a collection of sparse, yet rich songs, with melodic veils and patterns floating and waving. The opening couple, "Historia" (Stories) and "Alt e bra" (Everything is fine/good) are instrumentals, with dramlike vocal chanting on top. Highly experimental, but not totally far out on the abstract side. "Kanskje" (Maybe) sneaks up on your side, being a fascinating song. "Bli med" (Come along) is more a rhythmic challenge, rolling like a repetitive mantra, with a really nice vocal melody. It's a treat, and the highlight along with "Klokka sju" (Seven o'clock, AM), which is almost like a Norwegian folk 'stev' (stave) blended with a global semi-reggae. Dub-stev, right?

"Mellomtida" (Time between) is an intermission-like short instrumental, before the closing track "Språk" (Language). The album ebbs leaving a feeling of having listened to a magic and mystic band, who's said to have left many listeners spellbound after playing live. To quote The Irish Times: "...The trio build brilliantly colourful pieces, with texture and drama, and plenty of soundtrack elements...". Thumbs up.

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You may also want to check out our Building Instrument article/review: Kem som kan å leve.

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