Terje Isungset

Middle of Mist

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AllMusic Review by

Middle of Mist is literally stunning and the best way to give the wrong impression about it is to call it a drummer's album. Yes, Terje Isungset is a drummer; in fact he is one of Norway's most creative percussionists, but this solo set presents him more like a cross between a sound artist and a shaman. Each piece features a selected number of instruments and musical gestures Isungset places in time and space. Recorded in part at the Emanuel Vigeland Museum to make good use of its natural acoustics, the music has been captured in a wide stereo field, with lots of natural reverb. Isungset's Jew's harp, hand percussion, stones, whirling overtone hose and ritualistic voice calls each become the incarnation of an elemental spirit telling a mythological tale words cannot translate. The album begins very smoothly with the hose spinning, its overtones beautifully captured by producer Helge Sten (aka Deathprod). Changing instruments from one track to the next, the artist slowly builds up toward the 9-minute climax "The Boulder," the only time he sits at the drumset to let it loose. The three "Mist" tracks feature the mysterious Jaw's harp. "The Reed" consists of nothing more than soft whistling and round objects rolling inside bowls, but it projects a captivating Zen serenity. One thinks of Ed Pias' Ancestor's Halo CD and of Milford Graves shamanistic drum fests, but also of trumpeter Arve Henriksen's equally peaceful solo CD Sakuteiki. Highly recommended to those sensible to the poetry and simplicity of sounds.

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