«Red Lamplight On The Brick Wall» is the first release of Jazztrau, a new sublabel of Hærverk Industrier, dedicated exclusively to Bandcamp, digital-only live recordings made at Kafé Hærverk in downtown Oslo, one of the finest venues in Norway. This album features an ad-hoc trio of Norwegian guitarist Tellef Øgrim, known for his collaborative work with Swedish bassist Anders Berg and drummer Peeter Uuskyla, Japanese, Oslo-based pianist Ayumi Tanaka, leader of her own trio and known from her recent collaboration with Norwegian drummer Thomas Strønen and reeds player-vocalist Marthe Lea («Bayou», ECM, 2021), and fellow-Norwegian drummer Per Oddvar Johansen, one of the most prolific Norwegian drummers, who plays in Tanka Trio and with Trygve Seim, Christian Wallumrød.
«Red Lamplight On The Brick Wall» was recorded at Kafé Hærverk in June 2021. It is a DIY album – Johansen did the mixing and Øgrim the mastering, and the cover photo was taken by avant-pop artist-producer Solveig Sørbø. Øgrim tells that when Kafé Hærverk was opening up after the pandemic lockdown, he was asked if he wanted to play there, and his first thought was to bring in Tanka and Johansen.
The performance of this trio was free-improvised, clearly distancing itself from the lyrical, expressionist aesthetics associated with the Nordic sound of the ECM label, and the albums of Tanaka and Johansen for the label. The trio explores modes and strategies of free improvisation during this live performance. Tanaka’s playing inside the piano sets the mysterious, sound-searching spirit of the opening title piece, embraced by the subtle pulse of Johansen and the atmospheric guitar lines of Øgrim. Øgrim suggests a more thorny and raw dynamics on «Trinisla», but answered by playful-rhythmic gestures by Tanaka and Johansen. «Ht4Cz» alternates between a twisted bluesy format and a free-flowing improvisation. Johansen’s tense drumming, together with the minimalist touches of Tanaka on the piano keys and the economic guitar lines of Øgrim cement the elusive, cinematic texture of «The Day After Day After». Tanaka and Johansen rely on their close, established interplay on the last «Myra» and embrace the rhythmic suggestions of Øgrim. A promising introduction for the Jazztrau label.
Tellef Øgrim (g), Ayumi Tanaka (p), Per Oddvar Johansen (dr)