Norwegian sax player Kasper Skullerud Værnes and drummer Andreas Wildhagen have been playing together now for more than a decade in various projects and ensembles, most noteworthy are the KNYST! Trio (with Nakama label and collective founder, bassist Christian Meaas Svendsen) and Paal Nilssen-Love’s Large Unit.
Værnes and Wildhagen formed their duo shortly after they have met, but «Troposgrafien» is their debut album, recorded on rehearsal meetings conducted in August 2016 at the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo. The five pieces, most of them are spontaneously improvised, highlight the immediate, deep and telepathic interplay that this duo has developed over the years.
Værnes and Wildhagen see the duo format as a playground where impulses and ideas are explored. The duo alternates between subtle dialogues as on the opening «Jord Og Muld» and «Ødet», where Værnes and Wildhagen patiently enrich their emphatic interplay with nuanced, emotional gestures, and muscular and volcanic eruptions as on the following «Magma», where Wildhagen powerful drumming pushes Værnes to play as if he was possessed by a higher, spiritual power. Eventually, all the improvising strategies are channeled into the final 14-minutes of «Grus Gjennom Luft».
Wildhagen sounds at first as if he is all over the room, keeping the fire high and loud with his burning energy, but mid-piece he and Værnes dive into an introspective yet intense dialogue that slowly becomes, again, more playful and powerful and even explores surprising melodic threads.
Kasper Skullerud Værnes (as, ts, ss), Andreas Wildhagen (dr, perc)