Double Bass

Ingebrigt Håker Flaten

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Double Bass Review

by François Couture

This is Ingebrigt Håker Flaten's first solo album. His playing has already been widely recognized as creative and endearing, but hearing it alone and under the spotlight like this is a first. And the spotlight doesn't strip away the magic. Despite a couple of easy takes on the instrument, Double Bass makes a convincing effort worthy of repeated listens. It opens with thunderous slapping strings in "Danger Music." The first seven pieces are short (under three-minute) improvisations, most of them developed from settings, such as the self-explanatory "The Joy of German Bowing I" and "Slides" (one assumes the German bower bringing tribute-worthy joy is Peter Kowald). "Ulv Ulv" and "Kindred Spirit" each feature two bass tracks, the second having been recorded without playback. The results show interesting points of synchronicity, but one can question the relevance of such an exercise. Much more satisfying is "Babylon," in which Flaten uses a big, fat, almost obscene vibrato. The second half of the disc consists of slightly longer tunes, beginning with "I Loves...," where the bassist draws tangents from Gershwin's "I Loves You Porgy." Almost 13 minutes long, "Swedish Impressions" showcases Flaten's resourcefulness in longer durations and his sense of musical drama. If the influence of (or at least similarities to) Kowald, Maarten Altena, and Barry Guy can be traced back, Flaten's music remains his own, filled with growling arco work, jazz-heavy fingering, and a peculiar sense of rhythm.

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