It has been almost a quarter of a century since Nils Petter Molvær published “Khmer”. It was an album that changed popular music and its effects still reverberate today. The trumpeter from the western Norwegian island of Sula had intuitively sensed what was in the air and channeled it into hitherto unknown music. Suddenly there was jazz …

It has been almost a quarter of a century since Nils Petter Molvær published “Khmer”. It was an album that changed popular music and its effects still reverberate today. The trumpeter from the western Norwegian island of Sula had intuitively sensed what was in the air and channeled it into hitherto unknown music. Suddenly jazz was reconciled with current club music, electronic and acoustic sounds had found a new unity, the man of 1960, until then classified as a jazz musician, stood like a stake in the wind on stages until then reserved for rock musicians. or DJ. The memories of Miles Davis, one of his idols, awoke, who had had a similar experience in the late 1960s when he began playing his instrument with electronic amplification.

Nils Petter Molvær was also the right person at the right time. He felt the changes in popular music through the advancement of digital, but always clung to the human in the middle of the machine park. “Nu Jazz” or “Future Jazz” was the name given to its mix of ambient, house, rock, trip-hop, techno and jazz improvisations, and Molvær had become the stimulus for a new great common denominator. Many followed him without reaching him. From his launching pad for altered concepts, he had driven jazz from relative isolation to unexpected popularity and was traveling the world. “In fact, I never saw myself as a jazz musician,” he said. “I improvise. But Zakir Hussain, Jimmy Page and even Bach do it too. Jazz does not have the copyright for improvisation.”

With each of his records since, he has been able to stay the course by adding new facets to his concept. He has recorded a duet with German techno pioneer Moritz von Oswald, and most recently with Miles Davis percussionist Mino Cinelu, with the legendary Sly & Robbie reggae rhythm section and on several occasions with newly formed groups. Now “Stitches” appears, and again everything is of the usual quality and yet fresh and different.

Guitarist Johan Lindstrøm, who you may know from the band Tonbruket, is new to the current quartet. It gives some parts something spherical with a Pedal Steel sigh, but it can also send out striking rock patterns. Erland Dahlen, who is almost heavy metal, plays the drums with extreme precision. And Jo Berger Myhre does exactly what a bass player in such a lineup should do: apply a dark primer.

The eleven tracks follow one another in a skilful dramaturgy of ups and downs and sound like a spider’s web in the only cover: “True Love Waits” from the 2016 Radiohead album “A Moon Shaped Pool”. You can’t tell from the new album “Stitches” that after the band started together in the studio on Giske Island, due to the pandemic, it was completed interactively online from home. studios. Deeply emotional music has emerged again, and over all the trumpet whispers and indulges, only to break free again and again in a different way. Between strong and calm, meditative immersion and ecstasy, poetry and attack.

Molvær has found his sound immensely recognizable and refined at the interface between man and machine. It adds calmly and confidently to a sound poem with a cinematic cut of the highest suggestive power. This musician still seems to be innovative, is a pioneer and a veteran of those sounds which bring together the camps, which he lets grow in broad arcs – beautiful and always more beautiful.