Lazuli by Hilde Marie Holsen


Hilde Marie Holsen
Lazuli (Hubro; LP/CD/DL)

Out this week is the sophomore effort from trumpeting sound sculptor Hilde Marie Holsen on the Norwegian Hubro imprint after 2015’s Ask on the same label. Composition and improvisation of live processed trumpet merge and detract for a resulting experimental record that runs for about thirty-four minutes over four tracks. Orpiment starts off with a whirring buzz and when the trumpet enters, its shallow echo has the edge of a warbling croak of a throat singer. The atmosphere is mostly of stillness, but as enigmatic layers slowly emerge the atmosphere has an impending dread.

Eskolaite begins abruptly with a caustic, meandering crispy effects layer, and a horn call that harkens into the beyond. There’s something in common with the work of say, Dan Burke (Illusion of Safety) here, not in the final result, but in the process of delivering tiny actions into big sounds. There’s something prophetic in this drunken and abstract electrified jazz. The quiet is eerie like you’ve woken up in a dimlit, unfamiliar place.


Lapis is bright, airy, breathy. Starting with a sweet harmony of lightly modified trumpet, the barren atmosphere seems has a gaping echo, and post-situational electronic sounds that seem ripped from a futuristic flick where survivors roam to make sense of a new world. It’s an uncertain post-jazz, in its very own warming ambient way. Throughout her instrument is central to the goings-on and its a gorgeous floating transposition of faded colors on this piece. It whispers and weeps, and generally holds its voice amid the darkened edge of its surroundings, crying out and fading. The title track goes hand and hand with the prior, making for a metamorphic unearthing of dramatic parts and pieces of a whole.

Lazuli runs nearly seventeen minutes and boasts a myriad of twisting, pulsing layers of soaring sounds. Somewhere between a symphony and a prog-rock opus is where you will find such intersections, the space in which highs and lows compete for dominance. I could only imagine that the live experience of this work would further emphasize and enhance that sense of drifting euphoria. Holsen’s horn twists and pulses in and out of rhythmic passages, keeping you aware of the shifting circumstances. When random percussive elements are added, moving objects fly by, we are reminded of that fleeting sense of impermanence in our contemporary virtual world. The record revels in a gray area that is rife with these mysterious unfurled movements. Is she collecting rocks or wrangling spirits? The tension is the unknown, the unexpected.

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