Trialogue by Bugge Wesseltoft, Henrik Schwarz & Dan Berglund


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This is a very beautifully executed album, with several funny elements that made me smile over and over again.

On the album title one can speculate if this is trial, or a dialogue between the 3 performers. After having the album on heavy rotation for several days I vote for the latter.


Music for me is never about labels such as Jazz, Classical or Grunge. For me, music is about atmosphere and ambience. I often experience music as a soundtrack to my current state of mind paired with my physical location. For all practical purposes, I listen to music in a lot of different environments.

Overall, this is a very beautifully executed album, with several funny elements that made me smile over and over again. On the album title one can speculate if this is trial (experimentation), or a dialogue between the 3 performers. After having the album on heavy rotation for several days I vote for the latter.

This particular album reeks of my favourite season, autumn. Actually, the album is closer to early autumn (late September and early October), than late November. Living on the west coast of Scandinavia gives us beautiful autumns at the album's perceived point in time. It's not yet very cold outside, and we still have beautiful sunrises - and dark evenings. Leaves are slowly changing colours - and it may rain a lot around Bergen.

This has become one of my absolute favourite low-key albums for the autumn season.

The Interlude track really sets the tone for the album. It's early morning and the electric buzzing heard in the beginning of the track is like switching on a bare naked light bulb which flickers and slowly wakes up. I know that they do not make bulbs like that anymore, but when I grew up in the 70s, such bulbs existed back then. Gentle piano playing is looking out the window, over the fields, watching birds lifting them self up into the sky. Listening to this, taking a deep breath. The final seconds made me smile as they - in their short lived time, only lasting for ~5 seconds - are like an musical antonym to the previous 2 minutes and 35 seconds. Beautiful. What more is there to add?

Valiant - one might be a bit careful using such a title unless it's fulfilled. The etymology of the word stems from both Old French valoir, which translates into to be worth. As we know, French comes from Latin - and the Latin word valere is commonly translated to to be strong. The track does not start strongly - in fact, given the ending of *Interlude*, the start is unexpected. A start lasting nearly 90 seconds - then the track lives up to its name. If the beginning is like getting out of your house and trying to start your car, only to find that the battery has died during an exceptionally cold autumn’s night, the majority of the track is like taking a Sunday drive with a very nice flow through a beautiful autumn green, but naked, landscape close to the North sea - only found in Norway, Hebrides, Orkneys, Faeroes and parts of mainland Scotland [you've obviously never been to Antrim or Donegal, Ruben - Dave] Just listen closely to what's happening around 3:30 - and you will get the urge to wish for light rain the coming Sunday - and a longer walkabout down to the sea to watch the strong waves washing over the stony beach. Absolutely one of my favourites places to spend time listening to music.

Still Sunday. Still sunny. However, the rhythmic setting for the Headbanger Polka is a brisk walk through the cityscape with some strong winds now and then. This is music to walk to. Try listening to this next time you are in a real cityscape. Walking by closed shops, doing some quick window-shopping in the passing. Seeing sweatered girls with shades and enjoying their beers on the pavement outside pubs still serving outside this late in the year. Mind you, the piano sound in the track is definitively Scandinavian - actually it's influenced to a small, but important, degree by Swedish folk music. You simply cannot listen to this track walking in the woods. The soft bass found in the less windy parts of the track only gives more fuel to the Sunday feeling. And the sweater girls.

You really need to take a small break before the next track. Pause your player. Take a deep breath. Exhale. Sit and enjoy the silence. If you don’t, you wont be able to enjoy the soothing start of the 11th movement. One minute should really do the trick.

After the brisk city walk, a horn accompanied by plucking strings is just what the soul needs. If you listen really closely to the piano lead, you should be able to smile to yourself. It's just so upbeat. Happiness in a small track, really. And from there, it's just like a hot air balloon aiming for a morning flight over the green lush hills of Toscana. However, this track is not the strongest track on the Trialogue album - the story it tells is not consistent, and after a while you ask yourself where the morning flight went.

Do not Take A Quick Break. It's not worth going away from listening to the album. Besides, you had your break already while listening to this album. Low-key percussion is sprinkled on a well-executed dance between the strings and the piano, while the bass is providing substrate. I really like the near-east influence we can notice midway into the track. And we have pling-plongs, clearly heard synths, and odd video game noises topping the track. In my opinion this is one of the top 3 tracks of the album.

The opening of Movement Seventeen is my definitive favourite part of the album. Further, it does not hurt that the rest of the song is the best of them all. They are all good, but this is simply in the WOW! category. Around 2:40, I immediately get the urge to put on some of the works of Michael Nyman. Nyman happens to be one of my favourite composers. The repetitiveness of the horn along with the piano and the strings going their own way within the border of what was set forth by the horn + piano - if not Nyman in execution, definitively Nyman in spirit. Bliss. Happiness.

If you need some humour when you wake up in a hotel in London on a Sunday around 11, This Is My Day is exactly what you need. Starting quite hung-over. You, and the track, are next doing the Bloody Mary routine. Relaxing hard at 2:00 and onwards - until ... Dan proclaims that "det här er min dag, en solig dag". This track is so funny - and funky. And soft. Sunday hangover softness, and by the end of the song you should be resuscitated enough to go out and buy the Sunday paper. Even if this track makes me laugh, it does not necessarily means that this is the strongest track on the album. The other tracks on the album make up for this small oddity of a song. The oddity has nothing to do with the performers speaking, which is quite cool and unexpected. However, I get a distinct feeling that Wesseltoft & Co had much fun creating this, and because of this, the song made it to the album. On it's own right - a very strong a good song, but in concert with the other 7 tracks not so much.

Friday night, Round Midnight. Staying in. Watching over the city scape from a penthouse apartment. The rhythm track is an excellent vehicle for the bass. In the background you can hear the city from below. The song might feel naked to listen to - thin, nearly. In the light of the song title, this really is a midnight song taking you into a small nightmare at 4:05 and onwards. I think it's a very funny way to end the album. It's like a cliffhanger to the next album, which brings me back to the title of the album: Trialogue. Actually the trial part. I would like to have a second album in the same spirit as this one. Even better, a trialogue trilogy would be a nice thing.






permalink: permalink -- -- tagged: • Bugge Wesseltoft • Henrik Schwarz • Dan Berglund • Trialogue • Jazzland Recordings 
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Dave 03.10.14 12:25
posted by: Dave

Nice stuff, Ruben. Although the sweater girls ... :D
reply

Ruben 05.10.14 01:19
posted by: Ruben

Dave - in this climate the sweater girls is a big part of the Sunday coffe shop populace from October to late November. They simply cannot be ignored ;-)
reply

Dave 05.10.14 11:53
posted by: Dave

Aha! I see now ...
reply

05.10.14 09:45
posted by: David Welsh

Ruben

I'm not used to reading such a heart felt review of a recording. This will set a bench mark for this new site.

D:
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Ruben 05.10.14 13:49
posted by: Ruben

David,

Thank you for the kind words.

I try to avoid writing comparative stuff as this inevitable will lead me down the path to music genres and labels too restricted for my taste. I strongly subscribe to the notion that art in general, and music specifictly is about your emotions and feelings. Not labels and categorizations (except when done for administrative purposes). When labeling stuff, it's all to easy to become part of a tribe - only dealing with whatever echo-chamber the tribe adhere to. Like people sternly stating that they hate Jazz, and only listen to Electronica - and missing out on many great things that is a fusion of both Jazz and Electronica.

When that is written, I have no problem with categorizing music as long as it's done for administrative purposes :-). However, when we are discussing music on general terms - maybe we should leave the labels out of the equation. For a lot of people, this might be a novel idea. It might be painful, because suddenly they will have to deal with their emotions altered by whatever music they listen to - rather than doing an easy exit: Comparing what they hear now, to whatever they listened to earlier on.
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Dave 05.10.14 16:36
posted by: Dave

I heartily agree, Ruben. Genres exist for purposes of study and analysis to some degree, but too often they become a lazy shorthand that don't say as much as their users think they do, or worse yet, say the wrong thing entirely. And this isn't only for music - I know people who hate "westerns" but are missing out on some great movies as a result. Genre in arts is a non-specific science - it's not the same as biological classification. Nor is there a periodic table of genres. Genre is a vague concept at best, and I strenously recommend avoiding use of such terms as much as possible. It is a pseudo-knowledge, as well, as evidenced by many of the imagined differences between "dance music" sub-genres. To have absolutely specific genres that actually tell us anything about music would mean that certain harmonies, discords, note lengths, instrumentation, and so forth; in short, that they would have scientifically measurable elements that are consistently applied. Equally useless, in my view, are historical labels. "Postmodern" is a favourite. Absolutely useless, really. Classical is another, although music under classical has somewhat more rigid terminology. However, only at the broadest level can such labels ever be useful. I have heard people who I thought would know better merrily trash an entire genre of music without a flicker of an afterthought, despite the fact that some of their favourite artists could be classified within that genre (when pointed out, the usual response is a desperate attempt to argue that their favourite artists are not part of that genre at all ... far better would it be to not generalise at all).

Each artist, and each of his/her/their works is an individual item, and should be taken as such. Most of the best music has been created by artists who don't sit still, and changes between one album or song and the next might be pronounced. The only identifiable element that is present (if they are good at what they do) is their own personality.

I hope I speak for all of us when I say that good music is good music, and never because it is perceived as being part of one genre or another.
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