CD Reviews

Tuesday 13th April

April 13, 2010

I was somewhat taken by surprise the first time I played Noth of the North, a recent release by Mark Pichelin, Xavier Charles and Ivar Grydeland on the SOFA label.I had not stopped to read the sleeve notes when I put the disc into the player, and was not aware of Pichelin at all before doing this, so given that I knew Charles’ and Grydeland’s music quite well I assumed I would be met with instrumental improvisation of some kind. In fact the first three of the nine tracks here don’t seem to have any recognisable instruments on them and each features field recordings (or phonographies as Pichelin describes them once I had got around to reading the liners). It turns out that the first seven tracks here all involve recordings made by the French field recordist Pichelin during a trip to the far Northern parts of Norway in June 2006. So we hear murmured conversations, vaguely watery sounds, some kind of animal (maybe a pig?) snuffling and grunting and some far less vague, definitely very watery recordings. These three tracks all pass quickly, the longest of them just over three minutes in length and are all quite nice, well recorded and presented by Pichelin, but if there is any sign of Charles (who is credited with clarinet and harmonica on this album) and Grydeland (credited simply with banjo) on these tracks then my ears can’t spot it.

Read More ....