Nils Petter Molvaer, QEH 22.02.10

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I found this concert to be tremendously exciting and the first time I’ve heard Nils Molvaer build upon the promise of Khmer, his debut release as leader. His subsequent recordings have generally exploited contemporary production values and dance-derived beats without ultimately achieving much in the way of originality or managing to expand his emotional palette.

The sequencing revealed an impressive structure that alternated between subdued threat and magnificent noise. Already well-versed in Audun Klieve’s talents, I was particularly struck by the grinding abstractions of Stian Westerhus whose work I’d not heard before. I was also very much struck by the staging of the concert in terms of lighting, sound quality and video backdrop. I think I’ve seen Nils play live four or five times previously and it’s been my experience that he’s much more thrilling in concert than on record, where his productions smooth over the occasionally ragged glory of his band’s live performance. So too here although Hamada is very much worth hearing.

Although aware of Hamada’s release, I’d not bothered to seek it out and only through the kindness of a friend did I get to attend the concert. I’m extremely glad I did as I’m now a renewed fan and very much look forward to hearing where Nils goes next, now that he’s begun to develop his own voice again. I’d love to hear him move in the direction of the dark metal that Hamada hints at, as the likes of Steve Noble/Aethenor and Julian Priester/Sunn o))) have done.

Here’s a brief excerpt from a quieter passage:

For a diametrically opposed perspective, see John L. Walters’ review.


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