Since September 2010, this blog has recorded the journey of this middle-aged man as I attempt to listen to all the music in my CD collection. CDs revisited in their entirety from start to finish - no skipping tracks, no shuffle. CDs only - no vinyl, no tapes, no downloads. And just as CD technology (and the album format itself) becomes obsolete. I'm no music critic, just a music junkie with too much time on my hands.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Mette Henriette (2015)

In a recent issue of Down Beat magazine, the following ad caught my eye.

click to enlarge

And, no, it wasn't the picture of an attractive young Norwegian woman suggestively bound with rope that caught my eye (well, maybe it was.  I plead the fifth.).  Whatever it was, I was intrigued and hit the Internet for more info - yada, yada, yada - I bought the CD and here we are.

This isn't jazz, but it isn't quite classical music, either. At times it's new agey and at times it sounds like a movie soundtrack. It's on the ECM label - that's the only place it could be and that should tell you all you need to know. This 2 CD set is full of brief, plaintive tracks that's perfect on a cold, quiet night on headphones. Henriette has surrounded herself with good musicians and her close-miked playing runs the continuum from avant-garde to traditional. As you might expect on a debut release, some tracks work better than others. An acquired taste, to be sure, but I'm enjoying the journey of acquisition.  As for putting a genre label on it, I can't do it.  This one's getting filed under "other" over on the right.

It's unlikely this album will get an analysis on metacritic, but most of the reviews I've seen give it four out of five stars. I'm good with that.

Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: Did not chart


The first disc is a trio of Henriette with piano and cello.  Very delicate.  Atmospheric yet not ambient. I can't single out any particular track as being better than the others - this works well as a suite. The oddest duck here is track 11, A Void. I don't necessarily enjoy that track, but I recognize her efforts to push music forward.

The second disc features a larger ensemble, so the writing tends to be more focused and tuneful but the feeling remains the same while the tonal palette expands.  Henriette writes beautifully for strings. The tracks Wildheart, Late à la Carte, and I are somewhat aggressive compared to the others (they remind me of Carla Bley in a way) but they provide a welcome change of pace.

To be honest, disc one will probably be heard around here more often than disc two.

Personal Memory Associated with this CD: in progress

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