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På skive


«The Sky Opens Twice»

«The Sky Opens Twice» celebrates the 20-year collaboration of the Norwegian, Trondheim-based contemporary Alpaca Ensemble with jazz sax master Eirik Hegdal, the former artistic director of the Trondheim Jazz Orchestra and leader of Team Hegdal. The album was commissioned by Hegdal and he invited vocalist-lyricist Thea Ellingsen Grant, known from the band JUNO, to the project. Hegdal composed the music while Grant penned the clever and amusing lyrics. The outcome is a surprising intersection between contemporary music, jazz, free improvisation, pop songs and (pre-produced) beats.

«The Sky Opens Twice», recorded at Øra Studio in November 2020, highlights the rich and inclusive musical vision of the Alpaca Ensemble as well as its versatile, and playful aesthetics. The 18 songs and wordless improvisations sound experimental, vivid and captivating, all at the same time but make perfect (and coherent) sense. Pop songs for the thinking person, or as Grant suggests: «Dance with me my strange delights».

Grant has a natural charisma. She acts and delivers her songs with sensual passion and elegance, and feels at home with the twisted, daring melodies and beats of Hegdal, both on the impressionistic sonic images where she sings wordless vocals and on the songs with her own lyrics. The sonic territories of this album are unpredictable and always amusing, sometimes referencing and blending folk melodies of seminal outfits like ECM’s Codona (Colin Walcott, Don Cherry and Nana Vasconcelos), visiting chamber and operatic vocal traditions or paying respects to the experimental songs of Björk.

With every listening to «The Sky Opens Twice» you may find more colorful sonic delights. Or as Grant puts it in «Timechild»: «I’m painting clouds / Billows of tangerines / Stroke and blend and  refill / Make my art and tackle…»

Eyal Hareuveni

Thea Ellingsen Grant (v), Sigrid Elisabeth Stang (vio), Marianne Baudouin Lie (c), Else Bø (p, glockenspiel), Eirik Hegdal (s, backing tracks)  

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