«Tempest Revisited» is a not so stormy tribute to Norwegian guitarist Hedvig Mollestad Thomassen’s hometown Ålesund. The album draws lines back to 1998, the very beginning of Mollestad’s cooperation with the label Rune Grammofon. In the same year, «The Tempest», the most cherished and well-known work of Arne Nordheim, one of Norway’s greatest composers, was chosen to be performed at the opening of Parken, the new cultural house in Ålesund, and Rune Grammofon released «Electric», a collection of Nordheim electronic works.
Twenty years later Parken’s manager Hans Pareliussen commissioned Mollestad to compose a work celebrating the culture house 20th anniversary. Mollestad was inspired by the front of the culture house, adorned with Nordheim’s score for «The Tempest», and connected her composition to the heavy weather conditions of this coastal area in the northwest part of Norway.
«Tempest Revisited» was first performed at Parken cultural house in November 2018 and the album adapts the music from the initial performance and was recorded in the studio the following year. The musicians are old friends of Mollestad – keyboards and vibes player Marte Eberson, of Highasakite, who played on Mollestad’s «Ekhidna» (Rune Grammofon, 2020), drummer Ivar Loe Bjørnstad from her power trio, bassist Trond Frønes from Red Kite, as well as three sax players, including Martin Myhre Olsen of Wako and Hegge.
Despite its title, «Tempest Revisited» is Mollestad’s less aggressive and most lyrical album to date. The titles of the five pieces evoke the elements, but Mollestad focused here on dynamic and layered band work and decided not to rely on the infectious heavy guitar riffs so identified with her, except briefly on «Winds Approaching» on the last «High Hair», where she joins the sax choir. She builds the tension and drama patiently and opts for a cathartic coda only on «High Hair». She arranges this composition as a continuous prog-rock meets fusion suite, with the vintage analog synths and keyboards, but, still, with inspiring yet reserved solos of Mollestad. Her exquisite guitar work on «418 (Stairs In Storms)» brings to mind the early solo albums of Terje Rypdal for ECM. Mollestad proves on «Tempest Revisited» that she is not only one of the hardest working musicians in the Norwegian scene but also one of the most original ones.
Hedvig Mollestad (g, v, handclaps, p), Marte Eberson (vib, Nord wave), Martin Myhre Olsen (ss, as, bs), Karl Nyberg (as), Peter Erik Vergeni (ts, fl), Trond Frønes (b), Ivar Loe Bjørnstad (dr, perc, gran cassa), Per Oddvar Johansen (dr)