Sep 21 2017
There’s really no sense breaking this album down for you. This is a gorgeous recording, and there’s not a whole hell of lot more to say about it. The self-titled album from Abisko Lights dishes out a series of melodic visions, possessing form and substance, and yet also an ephemeral quality that allows them to change shape or just drift peacefully away. Serene. That would be a good word to use when talking about this album. So would captivating. And considering the band’s name refers to the Aurora Borealis and the prime viewing spot, Sweden’s Abisko National Park, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise the music sounds as it does.
Of particular interest is the pairing of bass clarinet and cello. Though both instruments bring a deep resonance, their effect on the melody can be vastly different from one another. But on Abisko Lights, they live in unity throughout, each acting as the other’s shadow when the spotlight of a solo is on their counterpart. The use of double bass on this session strikes a middle ground between the two, and often serves more of a melodic role than a rhythmic one. This, perhaps, more than any other element is key to this album’s success by providing nuance to thick beams of melody and a little something different from a percussive standpoint. Drums and piano fill out the quintet, and the former’s restrained chatter and the latter’s ornamental flair round things out nicely.
A beautiful album. It’d make a nice listen first thing in the morning while the sun’s rising, but I’d also suggest giving it a test run on a moody, rainy day.
Your album personnel: Benjamin Wellenbeck (drums), Hannes Daerr (bass clarinet), Tabea Schrenk (cello), Dirk Flatau (piano) and Niklas Lukassen (double bass).
Released on Unit Records.
Listen to more of the album on the artist’s Bandcamp page.
Music from Berlin, Germany.