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Christian Wallumrød Ensemble: Fabula Suite Lugano

Christian Wallumrød is a Norwegian pianist/composer and is about to release his new album Fabula Suite Lugano. In this ensemble is the aforementioned Wallumrød (piano, harmonium, toy piano), Eivind Lønning (trumpet), Gjermund Larsen (violin, hardanger fiddle, viola), Tanja Orning (cello), Giovanna Pessi (baroque harp) and Per Oddvar Johansen (drums, percussion, glockenspiel). I found reviewing this album a challenge mainly due to the fact I am so completely unfamiliar with this style of music. Combining elements of folk, classical and baroque this album is a very laid back affair and while I would consider some of these tunes quite relaxing to listen to, others are more difficult because of the discordant melodies on display. The instrumentation is often quite bare relying heavily on piano frills and tinkles and various string elements. While I can appreciate the fabulous musicianship here, the lack of rhythm and the empty spaces between the notes made this one quite difficult.

However, I do have some favourites like the strange and compelling "The Gloom and the Best Man" where strange string sounds create an eerie atmosphere of what sounds like whale song, at least to my ears and the more traditional and classically arranged "Jumpa" and "Jumpa #2" featuring a sparse string arrangement that really seemed to jump out of my speakers.

While this is not my favourite ECM release there is no denying the quality of this work. Fabula Suite Lugano features a more bare boned approach to songwriting with less structure than I am used to. If you are new to the baroque style of music this one will take a bit of effort as it did for this reviewer.

Track Listing:
1. Solemn Mosquitoes (5:10)
2. Pling (7:46)
3. Drum (1:53)
4. Jumpa (3:49)
5. Dancing Deputies (3:04)
6. Quote Funebre (3:55)
7. Scarlatti Sonata (1:53)
8. Snake (3:40)
9. Knit (2:45)
10. Duo (1:50)
11. I Had A Mother Who Could Swim (2:58)
12. Blop (4:07)
13. The Gloom and the Best Man (6:12)
14. Jumpa #2 (2:33)
15. Valse Dolcissima (5:52)
16. Glissando (2:40)
17. Mosquito Curtain Call (2:06)
18. Solo (2:44)

Added: January 16th 2010
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Artist's Official Site
Hits: 1903
Language: english

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