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Hedvig Mollestad – Tempest Revisited (2021) [Official Digital Download 24bit/44,1kHz]

Hedvig Mollestad – Tempest Revisited (2021)
FLAC (tracks) 24bit/44,1kHz | Time – 00:40:52 minutes | 433 MB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Rune Grammofon

Hedvig Mollestad must surely be one of the hardest working musicians on the Norwegian music scene at the moment, with “Tempest Revisited” being her third album in a mere 18 months, all at a consistently high artistic level. Her first solo album, “Ekhidna” (2020), received a Spellemannpris (Norwegian Grammy), appeared on several jazz and rock best of the year lists and got her into Downbeat´s “25 for the future” selection. “Tempest Revisited” draws lines back to 1998 and the very beginning of Rune Grammofon. This was the year we released “Electric”, the collected electronic works of Arne Nordheim, one of Norway´s greatest composers. It was also the year when parts of “The Tempest”, possibly his most cherished and well-known work, was chosen to be performed at the opening of Parken, the new cultural house in Ålesund, birthplace of Hedvig Mollestad. To celebrate 20 years, the culture house was ready for a new storm, and the first name that came to them was Hedvig, a local artist that was already making waves on the international scene with her power-trio. Hedvig took inspiration from the front of the house, adorned with Nordheim´s score for “The Tempest”, at the same time making a direct connection to the sometime heavy weather conditions of this coastal area in the northwest part of Norway. One could say it´s a big paradox that over all this might be Hedvig´s most lyrical and less aggressive collection of music. On the other hand it´s quite a dynamic record, lots of light and shade and enough sonic parts at work to evoke the elements, the mighty Gran Cassa drum only one of them. The music included here was adapted from the initial performance in 2018 and produced by Hedvig in the studio the following year for this album release. The musicians included are old friends Marte Eberson from the Ekhidna band, Ivar Loe Bjørnstad from her trio and Trond Frønes (Red Kite) on bass as well as a horn section of three.
Yet another triumph in a more than impressive discography.

Tempest Revisited marks the third full-length release by guitarist, composer, and bandleader Hedvig Mollestad in 18 months. 2020’s wonderful Ekhidna showcased her leading a sextet, while Ding Dong. You’re Dead, released in March 2021, was credited to her longstanding trio with bassist Ellen Brekken and drummer Ivar Loe Bjørnstad. By turns, Tempest Revisited offers music adapted from a 2018 performance inspired by the 20th anniversary of Norwegian composer Arne Nordheim’s masterwork ballet The Tempest, and it also reflects the heavy weather that occurs in Ålesund, Mollestad’s birthplace. The large group recording offers two drummers, bass, vibraphone, reeds, and winds. Mollestad sings, plays piano and guitar, and produces. Musically, this marks her most diverse and dynamic release with its many moods, shades, and textures. Opener “Sun on a Dark Sky” commences with an elliptical flute, rumbling tympani, and Mollestad’s looped, multi-layered, electronically treated voice in chorus before her fingerpicked guitar enters solo, playing a circular pattern before she’s joined by alto saxophone and electric piano. The jazz head winds around her guitar playing and the entire ensemble eventually ratchets up the intensity. Here prog rock and jazz come together to sound like mid-’70s-era Soft Machine. It segues directly into “Winds Approaching,” introduced by handclaps, skittering tom-toms, and three saxes playing in tandem. Mollestad offers the melody on guitar as flute and vibes insert themselves. The entire band enters to drop a heavy rockist vamp, framing a solo by tenorist Peter Erik Vergeni atop Mollestad’s shard-like chord voicings. “Kittiwakes Gusts” recalls Frank Zappa’s glorious mid- to late-’70s bands with a chorus of swinging horns, rumbling, funky electric bass, and a shuffling drum kit layered with jagged breaks. Mollestad lays out a lyric solo drenched in reverb and delay before alto and tenor saxes — also saturated in delay — return to solo against her and one another. “418 (Stairs in Storms)” is performed like a suite. The effects-laden guitar plays a long, restrained, droning intro, nearly ambient in its laconic delivery. Cymbals and drums enter at four-and-a-half minutes, followed by bass, vibes, and saxes, all playing a gently repetitive theme. Just as a rumbling intensity asserts itself, Mollestad’s solo goes the other way. Adorned by keys and pillowy reverb, she delivers a long, emotionally moving solo redolent of mentor and countryman Terje Rypdal. As the rhythm sections buoys her, it threatens power trio interplay, then morphs — unrealized — into the rocking, bluesy closer “High Hair.” Its central riff, offered by horns and bass playing jazz-funk, frames a dark, knotty guitar progression. The entire band reassembles on the deep blue vamp with bass and alto solos juxtaposed against breaking snares, careening electric piano, and Mollestad’s edgy power chords resulting in an explosive conclusion. Tempest Revisited seamlessly twins harmonic lyricism, soundscape textures, and powerful dynamics here. The end result is her most diverse — and musically compelling — album. – Thom Jurek

1. Sun On A Dark Sky (07:29)
2. Winds Approaching (07:38)
3. Kittywakes In Gusts (06:39)
4. 418 (Stairs In Storms) (11:16)
5. High Hair (07:50)


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