The Swedish-Danish quartet David’s Angels borrowed the Hindu concept of karma to its third album, «Traces», inspired by how our actions and expressions leave traces in time. This group teamed for «Traces» with Canadian trumpeter Ingrid Jensen, who has collaborated before with David Angel’s keyboards player Maggi Olin in the Nordic Connect quintet.
Jensen assists David’s Angels to expand even more «Traces» rich, genre-binding sonic palette. Her melodic, atmospheric solos intensify «Traces» dense and and dark, stormy emotional atmosphere. This suggestive. Melancholic-contemplative atmosphere is already manifested in the opening song, the bitter break-up song, «I’m Not Sorry At All». Here Olin’s spacey sounds of the Rhodes piano, the distant trumpet of Jensen and the tough, infectious pulse of bass player David Carlsson and drummer Michala Østergaard-Nielsen embrace the warm, angelic vocals of Sofie Norling, in a similar manner of another group of Norling and Østergaard-Nielsen, Nuaia. The following songs veil this rhythmic aspect and the title song deepens offers an enigmatic, minimalist course, colored by the suggestive, poetic delivery of Sorling: «dust of life / float around us like steam / traces of moments in the air». «Break It (Black and Blue» colors this dark, psychedelic atmosphere with traces of blues lines. Sorling plays on this song with her wordless vocals, contrasting the urgent solos of Jensen. «Side by Side» finally brings some sparks of hope, reflected by the warm, empathic interplay of Sorling and Jensen.
Later on, David’s Angels, without Jensen, navigates carefully on less stormy waters on «Remember», a song about haunted memories by past love. Sorling abstract vocalizations and Olin resonating-ringing Rhodes introduce the mysterious «We Become», again with Jensen, a sort of secular hymn where Sorling keeps chanting: «we become made of art» along Jensen melodic solo. The instrumentals «Extra Guld» and «Dust» are lighter interludes that highlight the reserved rhythmic work of Carlsson and Østergaard-Nielsen. «Traces» is concluded with the acoustic, optimist «Mountains», where Sorling clear, warm delivery radiates a reawakened belief, “singing / breaking free / and follow every echo / answering on a string”.
Imaginative and beautiful.
Sofie Norling (v, live elec), Maggi Olin (rhodes, p), David Carlsson (elb), Michala Østergaard-Nielsen (dr, perc); Ingrid Jensen (tp, live elec)