Apr 7 2015
So gorgeous, it’s stunning. With Slow Eastbound Train, tubist (yes, tubist) Daniel Herskedal provides yet more evidence that the cumbersome tuba can make the most graceful music. His core trio of himself, pianist Eyolf Dale and percussionist Helge Andreas Norbakken are joined by a chamber string orchestra (The Trondheim Soloists) for some beautiful, ambient third-stream music and Nordic folk-jazz.
Several tracks create an environment from which the other album tracks spring from. Album-opener “The Mistral Noir” is all kinds of serene ambiance, a murmuring tone that throws down a gauntlet of beauty-at-all-costs. Tracks like “The Solar Winds Effects On Earth” and “Sea Breeze” reinforce that goal, with the latter track ending the album in just the same way it began.
“Rainfall” is an example of an album track that lets the jazz influence emerge with a clearer definition… an approach primarily manifested by the core trio of tuba-piano-percussion. But for the most part, the ascendant influences are those of classical and folk.
This is especially evident in tracks like “Slow Eastbound Boat” and the title-track “Slow Eastbound Train.” Both proffer up an alluring beauty, and the way Herskedal melts his tuba into the waves of string harmonies is simply gorgeous, not to mention so counterintuitive to the instrument’s lumbering reputation. It makes for some inspiring moments.
Other standout tracks:
With a strong classical and folk music influence, “Bydlo” possesses a sweeping majesty that’s subdued just the right amount to ratchet up an undercurrent of tension without having to blow the lid off with a grand statement.
“Snowfall” begins with a bit of string section theatrics, not exactly appealing, but the way the core trio of tuba, piano and percussion cuts through the center makes perfect sense out of it all. The contrast between the two states of being… pop classical and straight-ahead jazz trio… really allows the intelligence of the composition to emerge.
This is an album that doesn’t limit the ways in which it expresses beauty.
Your album personnel: Daniel Herskedal (tuba, bass trumpet), Eyolf Dale (piano), Helge Andreas Norbakken (percussion) and The Trondheim Soloists (string chamber orchestra).
Listen to more of the album on Bandcamp.
Released on Edition Records.
Music from the Oslo, Norway scene.
Here’s a nifty, quick promo video for the album. As this site has illustrated previously, many times, I’m sucker for trains in music videos.