What is your favorite solo accordion album? While you’re searching your brain for an answer, I’ll try to make the case for the hauntingly sparse Vagabonde Blu by Frode Haltli. With three tracks stretched over 42 minutes, Haltli takes a road seldom traveled by performing works by Salvatore Sciarrino, Arne Nordheim and Aldo Clementi inside Emanuel Vigeland’s mausoleum.
The acoustic effects achieved within the room under these circumstances are the types of things that a solid-state technician would just love to replicate. If Haltli were to inject the sound with the same little fits and starts in a conventional studio, it would just sound odd. Within this performance space however, it’s ghostly. When he smacks his hand against the keys to achieve an atonal cluster chord, it’s not unlike a startling thunderclap. Vagabonde Blu spooks, but not without a newfound sense of wonder.