Helge Lien: Gamut Warning
Helge Lien (piano)
Hello Troll (Ozella OZ 021 CD)
Recorded: Oslo, February 24-25, 2008
Rating: 90/100 (learn more)
The leadoff track to Lien’s Hello Troll is built around Berg’s funky bass line using an odd time signature; this is very much an acoustic groover. The insistent energy fed off the rhythm section is jettisoned in short releases, as Lien takes an extreme minimalist approach to his piano, dropping on occasional chord, repeated notes and truncated single line phrases, like stopping thoughts in mid-sentence. His lean playing is impressionistic in the fine Norwegian tradition of Esbjörn Svensson, but the angular, circular groove recalls an unplugged Nik Bärtsch’s Ronin.
On a technical level, “Gamut Warning” won’t knock the socks off of anybody, but that’s not the point. It’s about the spiritual, atmospheric and contemplative by a trio that acts as a living organism of mood.
Reviewer: S. Victor Aaron
Tags: 2000s jazz