In his fusion of jazz, international pop, and modernist styles, Norwegian saxophonist and composer Trygve Seim appears to have neutralized the potency and potentiality of his varied influences and produced for this 2004 CD an unsatisfying hybrid. Constrained solos, uninfectious rhythms, murky ensemble textures, and solemn harmonic progressions make this album quite funereal in tone and almost lifeless in content. Once one has heard Seim's unusual instrumental palette -- reeds and brass, with accordion, strings, and percussion used sparingly for color -- there are few other features that will surprise or retain interest. Seim's meandering, Garbarek-like solos on soprano sax are not especially captivating, and his turns on tenor sax are often fuzzy and indistinct. Furthermore, the short improvisational snippets heard from his arrangement-bound musicians seem only to melt into a thick wall of sound. The mildly syncopated Dansante and the bouncy Part III of Himmelrand i Tridevand are the most rhythmically and texturally interesting; but the use of drones and the extremely slow tempi in Sangam, Beginning an Ending, Trio, and Prayer make this album incredibly ponderous and heavy-going. ECM's sound quality is fairly loud at times, so a mid-level volume is recommended.
by Blair Sanderson