New Sounds From Norway: Introducing Mette Henriette

The young Norwegian saxophonist and composer released her two-CD debut on ECM. And the two CDs reveal an amazingly mature and fragile, intensive and deep output which is divided into trio recordings with Johan Lindvall on piano and Katrine Schiott on violoncello on the first disc and a thirteen-piece ensemble on her sinfonietta on disc two.

Her longing, dark and sinister compositions never feel constricted or doomed, but rather express a lot of hope and poignancy as well, like on the beautiful “The Taboo” and “All Ears”. The hushed and ultra-soft compositions still maintain expressive notes and there are hints of Peter Greenaway/Michael Nyman movie soundtracks here on several occasions.

Mette HenrietteIt can be seen or rather heard as pretty heavy stuff since it comes across as very dark on the surface, but as always, depending on the mood you’re in and all kinds of other external circumstances, it can be a fascinating trip as well. I suggest listening to the first disc on headphones in the dark outside, watching the sky and the stars. The vulnerability of her sound can be breathtaking.

The second disc opens with another slow and brooding piece, “Passé”, but it already presages a livelier and agile component here with more strings, trombone, trumpet, bandoneon, bass and drums. On “Wildheart”, she produces a little earthquake with her screaming and crying outburst. There is some cheerfulness with a twinkling on “Late à la Carte” and choking devotion on the spooky “?”. Gina was a bit frightened by the short piece “True”, but quickly released by the cushioned “This Will Pass Too”, an equally short cut clocking in at less than a minute as do about half a dozen tracks on offer here. But that’s part of the fun of listening to the record. Always something new to explore with each listen.

 

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