Norwegian trumpeter Kristoffer Eikrem and DJ Bendik Baksaas began to work together when Eikrem’s free jazz quintet Mopti asked Baksaas to join them. On one of these collaborative performances – that led to the recording of «Bits & Places» (Jazzland, 2015) – Eikrem, who is also a DJ, and Baksaas were asked to perform a duo piece. Both were surprised by the immediate rapport and decided to keep working together.
Three years later Eikrem & Baksaas release the double album «Duets» that summarize their duo work since Mopti since their spontaneous, improvised duet. Their music is quite simple – minimalist, ambient and friendly melodies that highlight Eikrem’s lyrical trumpet sounds, embraced by Baksaas electronic layers, loops, percussion sounds and field recordings. There are few subtle contributions of guest musicians and a surprising cover of a «Mietek & Sab» by Polish composer Mieczysław Litwiński, one of the most beautiful and touching melodies on «Duets».
The ambient, austere and ethereal sonic envelope of the first album focuses on soft and light themes, sometimes quite schematic ones, that become more substantial when guests are added as violinist Håkon Aase for «Guili», tabla player Sanskriti Shrestha for the exotic «Hesse» or when Baksaas played the acoustic guitar on «Gig». The pieces on the second album are much more interesting and suggest more tangible, experimental cinematic narratives. These pieces, including the first ever duet that Eikrem and Baksaas played together, «This Is Nothing Personal», make full use of the field recordings of Baksaas collected from different, faraway urban spheres, and Eikrem gift to tell a mysterious, nuanced story with few notes.
Kristoffer Eikrem (tp, synth), Bendik Baksaas (ableton, turntables, field recordings, synth, g, v), Kjetil Jerve (p), Håkon Aase (vio), Sanskriti Shrestha (tablas), Saba & Mietek Litwinski (harm)