Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Sidsel Endresen: That Nordic Voice

Sidsel Endresen (voice)
Photo: C.F. Wesenberg

Sidsel Endresen has been a fixture on the European scene for over 20 years. She has released only a few albums under her own name (eight at last count). She is definitely an artist that might define her music as world (World the genre). While aesthetically the music may be grounded in European jazz--use of sparse arrangements and electronic atmospherics and abstruse lyrics, Sisdel Endresen has created a body of work which is truly original, impressive and influential.

In recent years she has been working with the well-known pianist Bugge Wesseltoft who has surrounded her lyrics mystic with modest yet highly emotional instrumentation. Endresen's albums are more an exploration of voice as instrument than the instruments supporting her. While don't expect everyone to get her I believe she is someone more people need to know about and hear for yourselves. She has also worked with fellow Norwegian, Nils Petter Molvaer and the pairing of her hypnotic voice and Molvaer's muted/electronically tempered trumpet is truly astounding. Those of you familiar with Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Sheila Chandra, Diamanda Gallas and combining that with the jazz experiments of Joni Mitchell might also find Sidsel Endresen quite rewarding.

For me the most accessible album might be Out Here. In There. (Jazzland). Out Here. In There. features a nice blend of both Sidsel's folkish/jazz tinged vocal treatments and Bugge Wesseltoft's excellent electronic work as shown of tracks like "Heartbeat", "Survival Techniques" and "Hav". A moody little record that is both engaging and sophisticated.

Sidsel Endresen is an artist reaching beyond rhythmic structure and forcing the listener to view things outside of their comfort zone. This minimalistic approach has made her one of the most soft-after performers and teachers in Europe and a cult figure here in states. I won't try to explain it anymore than that. Take a listen and let me know what you think.

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