Carmen Villain x Arve Henriksen

On her excellent Only Love from Now On

I often don’t get past the first track on Only Love from Now On, the recent album by Carmen Villain, because the nearly eight minutes of tribal Fourth World trance is essentially designed to be played on loop. It draws you close with held granular background textures, settles your pulse into a groove with a roughly 30 BPM slomo headnodder (or double that, depending on where you find the rhythmic locus — and even then, still quite sedate), and proceeds to layer the electronically mediated trumpet of Arve Henriksen — Villain’s fellow Norwegian — on top.

Henriksen alternates between the breathy noir melodicism of a hologram Chet Baker and the digitally generated chords long associated with Jon Hassell, finding blissful peace between two very different eras of jazz trumpet. He hits these plateaus of sound and lets them linger, playing call and response with himself thanks to distant triggered trills. All along, the underlying setting suggests something is afoot. The music feels ceremonial, yet the cause of the ceremony is unstated — an ambiguity that is right in line with Villain’s expressly atmospheric approach.

Album originally posted at carmenvillain.bandcamp.com.

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