Way Below the Surface

by Will Layman

17 August 2008


Atmosphere, baby—smoke and mist and the camera moving slowly in dim light. Colors shifting and unidentifiable flickers of light. You’ve seen this movie—what music ought to go with it? Some tumbles of drums—brushes in neo-noir pifffff-ing against snare. Electronics that fill the void in a mystical way, but nothing to clear, please. The tinkle of piano as if from another room—NO, another galaxy, another time. Trumpet, but not trumpet. Muted or aching or… like Miles Davis but not too soulful. Like the highlands. Like Paris at night.

Here are the musicians: Arve Henriksen on trumpet, vocals; Benoit Delbecq on piano; Lars Juul on drums; Steve Arguelles on who knows what—“Usine, delays, Sherman filter”—which I guess means really cool electronics and production stuff. For jazz fans, this sounds a bit like an ECM record, with a Scandinavian chill of indecisive ruling most tunes as the musicians improvise for texture and (say the liner notes) “nebulous sonic territories”. It’s a kind chill music, maybe—something to dig when life just doesn’t seem ominous enough. It’s the stuff they put beneath really weird stories on This American Life, maybe, or the music you would pad beneath your celluloid hero as he walks down an alley. In Norway. Or Paris. Or in whatever pretentious locale you may choose.

cover art


Way Below the Surface

US: 8 Apr 2008
UK: 7 Apr 2008

Way Below the Surface


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