Album of the Day: Husmo HAV, “Ripples”

Husmo HAV’s name combines leader/trumpet player Thomas Husmo Litleskare’s middle name with “hav,” which is Norwegian for “ocean.” They’re a collective formed by former students at the Norwegian Academy of Music, who have long-standing personal and creative relationships: Litleskare, bassist Stian Andersen, and drummer Tore Flatjord worked together in four other bands before this, and the latter two recommended keyboardist Marte Eberson as the element this new project was missing.

Their debut, Ripples, demonstrates a broad-minded take on jazz. Like their peers in London, New York, Chicago, and elsewhere, Husmo HAV’s musical appetites take in post-rock, movie scores, modern composition, and more. The opening track and first single, “East In North,” lays Litleskare’s loose-lipped, Arve Henriksen-esque trumpet over stinging keyboards, booming drums, and clattering percussion reminiscent of Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, with droning strings that could soundtrack a particularly morose Scandinavian cop drama. Meanwhile, the EP’s longest track, the eight-minute “Galleries/Underworlds,” begins with a throbbing bass solo, gradually swamped by ’80s synths from Eberson, and short, heavily reverbed phrases from Litleskare. “Light Pollution” features no horn at all, and with its stabbing strings and deep drones, could have come from the pen of composer Anna Thorvaldsdóttir. This is dark, multifaceted music perfect for the onset of cold weather.

-Phil Freeman

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