Places of Worship signals trumpeter and composer Arve Henriksen's return to Rune Grammophon and furthers his collaboration with both Jan Bang and Erik Honoré. Here his experimentations with sound, space, and texture offer listening environments that reflect various sacred spaces the world over, hence its title. While these tracks are impossible to separate from the influences of Jon Hassell's Fourth World Music explorations or the more murky moodscapes of Nils Petter Molvær, they are also more than a few steps removed from them. Henriksen never separates himself from the environmental information provided by his natural Nordic landscape. The lush, wild, and open physical vistas of its geography provide an inner map for the trumpeter and vocalist that amounts to a deeply focused series of tone poems.
Arve Henriksen's follow-up to his first solo CD, Sakuteiki, Chiaroscuro sees him exploring the same ethereal pastures, this time accompanied by sampling artist Jan Bang and percussionist Audun Kleive. As a result, the album has of course a fuller, busier sound, although the increment is discreet. Slightly closer in style to the softer moments of Supersilent, the album remains nonetheless the recognizable successor of Sakuteiki. Henriksen's trumpet is the heart and soul of the music, uttering simple slow-paced themes and lonesome calls. The artist sings wordless melodies, his falsetto voice becoming an extension of the trumpet, instead of the other way around.
Tigran Hamasyan's new album, An Ancient Observer, is due March 31 on Nonesuch Records. Ahead of the release of the album, his second on the label, Hamasyan will begin a world tour, starting with three consecutive nights at the Blue Whale in Los Angeles, February 25–27. An Ancient Observer's songs—two of which are based on Armenian melodies—were written over the last four years. Some of the pieces are through-composed and completely written out, while others are composed with ample space for Hamasyan to improvise. Many include vocals layered into the mix. As with most of his compositions, Hamasyan cites a wide range of influences, from Baroque dance to hip-hop, with pedals connected to a synthesizer on a few tracks—while the sounds of his native country also are present, as always.