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«Voice & Strings & Timpani»

«Voice & Strings & Timpani» is the latest project of the Norwegian, Bergen-based guitarist Stephan Meidell, known from the trio Cakewalk, and drummer Øyvind Hegg-Lunde, known from the band Building Instrument and his work with Swiss vocalist Susanne Abbuehl. Meidell and Hegg-Lunde have worked together for fifteen years, first as the duo The Sweetest Thrill, and then as the duo Strings & Timpani («Hyphen», Hubro, 2016), and both also play in the band of violinist Erlend Apneseth.

«Voice & Strings & Timpani» is the next evolutionary phase in the ongoing musical work of Meidell and Hegg-Lunde. It is a double trio that features the Hubro Music label, Bergen-based artists, two vocalists – Mari Kvien Brunvoll from Building Instrument and Eva Pfitzenmaier, two guitarists – Meidell and Stein Urheim, and two drummers – Hegg-Lunde and Kim Åge Furuhaug, known from his solo project Super Heavy Metal. All, except Åge Furuhaug, add electronics, loops and synthesizers to the mix. The album was recorded at Bergen’s Nattjazz festival in 2016, and partly at Broen Studio in Bergen.

The music of Strings & Timpani is an exquisite cross-genre blend of Nordic jazz, experimental minimalism, Americana, chill-out techno, ambient and lounge music, but highlights a strong communal approach to playing. The wordless, pan-linguistic mix of English and French voices of Kvien Brunvoll and Pfitzenmaier are employed as sensual instruments, as on «Escargot» and «Sons Français», and often recall the works of minimalist composers like Steve Reich and Meredith Monk, as on «Cashmere» and «FM4E». The work of guitarists Meidell and Urheim and drummers Hegg-Lunde and Åge Furuhaug intensify the mysterious, enchanting  vocal spirit and sketches nuanced, lyrical textures anchored by precise, often ritualistic rhythmic patterns, as on the the tribal «Swarming Strings Made Out Of Light» and the minimalist, chill-out atmosphere of «Laxevaag».

Meidell insists that the process of composing and arranging of «Voice & Strings & Timpani» has been completely without any specific bands or artists in mind. «We have simply opened up our heads and let it all out». This album is guaranteed to open up many more curious minds.

Eyal Hareuveni    

Mari Kvien Brunvoll (v, elec), Eva Pfitzenmaier (v, keys, fl), Stein Urheim (g, elec, langeleik), Stephan Meidell (g, elec, synth), Kim Åge Furuhaug (dr, perc), Øyvind Hegg-Lunde (dr, perc, synth) 

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