Norwegian experimental trumpeter Hilde Marie Holsen compares her work process to the one of painter. She lays layer upon layer of sonic colors and shades, paints with sounds; working and re-working with her sonic elements, editing and processing the sounds until the alchemical art reveals itself as a vivid, highly nuanced texture, with its own presence and inner logic. Accordingly, Holsen sophomore album «Lazuli» – following the limited-edition vinyl «Ask» (Hubro Music, 2015) – is titled after he chemical minerals used to create pigment in paint. Holsen collaborated closely with artist and painter Tyra Fure Brandsæter and the two performed together in live, improvised performances, exploring the interplay and shared narrative of the physical act of painting and the sculpting and shaping of sounds with trumpet and electronics.
This meticulous process of refining detailed sonic atmospheres blurs any possible distinction between the composed and the improvised; the interplay of sounds and the interplay of music; the immediate, physical breath and thoughtful the electronic processing and editing and the conventional and the unconventional timbres of the trumpet itself and the various plug-ins and devices. The most strange, processed sounds, including noises, have the same importance as any sound. Holsen was assisted in the mixing and mastering phases of «Lazuli» by Maja S.K. Ratkje.
The four pieces featured on «Lazuli», all named after minerals used to color paint, began as improvisations. Their rich sonic atmosphere don’t betray the tasking work process, from the initial improvisation until the multi-layered end result. These pieces sound as if they have developed a life of their own, a tangible entity. Their strong, enigmatic qualities embrace alien elements and sounds, moving organically between deep meditation, through troubled dream-states to colorful sci-fi visions. Their forest of ambient, manipulated sounds matches the pure tones of classical-sounding acoustic trumpet with weird percussive sounds, industrial machine-hums with pastoral shepherd bells, fragmented melodic themes with random clicks and glitches and cosmic soundscapes with half-echo of a tamboura drone. Somehow, all these sounds coexist peacefully.
The 17-minutes title piece realizes best Holsen unique aesthetics. Here, on a larger canvas, Holsen weaves an arresting palette of sounds and noises into a powerful, almost spiritual sonic experience. You can actually feel how all these minute sonic elements surround and touch you, feed and bathe you with their cryptic, unpredictable flow; how these sounds correspond between themselves, almost independently, organically; articulating their own language and syntax, where the form of this piece is also its content.
Hilde Marie Holsen (tp, elec)