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Kurzsam And Fulger

by Christian Wallumrød Ensemble

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Haksong 06:28
Fulgsam 02:35
Langsam 06:13
Phoniks 03:51
Klafferas 02:04
Arpsam 11:08


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 a new 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. And as
anyone who has seen the Ensemble in performance will know, it really is a group, with the
empathetic contributions of the individual members making them far more than mere
interpreters of a pre-existing text. Indeed, the Ensemble itself is the text, each player combining to join the dots of the very faint line separating composition and improvisation. Eivind Lønning plays trumpet; Espen Reinertsen, saxophone; Tove Törngren, cello and the
virtuoso percussionist Per Oddvar Johansen, drums and vibraphone. Christian Wallumrød
plays piano and harmonium.

While the compositions vary in duration from the two-minute miniatures of ‘Fulgsam’ and
‘Klafferas’ to the relatively epic ‘Arpsam’ (11’05”), and stylistically from the giddily kinetic
to the almost entirely static - everything is all of a piece: intensely meditative, intricately
worked music designed to reward patient listening.

The particular pleasures of the new Ensemble are captured in the opening track, the
disconcertingly jaunty ‘Haksong’, a solo version of which also appears on ‘Pianokammer’.
A clip-clopping, horse-drawn rhythm conjures up the vision of a rolling prairie landscape,
the image accentuated by the half-heard sounds of what could be whoops and hollers. As if
to undercut the catchy, almost pop-friendly, repetitions of the tune and the horn players’
parping brass and reed harmonies, the music then devolves into a series of experimental
glissandi, like the ending of the Beatles’ ‘A Day In The Life’ re-scored for quintet. It’s a
lovely, brave and entirely successful touch, emblematic of Wallumrød’s command of
different musical registers and the ability to synthesise them into a wholly personal,
enduringly satisfying style.


released October 7, 2016

Christian Wallumrød: piano, harmonium
Eivind Lønning: trumpet
Espen Reinertsen: saxophone
Tove Törngren: cello
Per Oddvar Johansen: drums, vibraphone

All compositions by Christian Wallumrød

Recorded at Isitart Studio by Peder Kjellsby and Sjur Miljeteig, April 2015
Mixed by Bård Ingebrigtsen at Amper Tone Studio, October 2015
Mastered at Audio Virus Lab by Helge Sten, March 2016
Produced by Christian Wallumrød


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Christian Wallumrød Oslo, Norway

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