Kim Myhr/Quatuor Bozzini/Caroline Bergvall/Ingar Zach

Pressing Clouds Passing Crowds
Hubro HUBRO CD 2612

By Ken Waxman

Initially commissioned and performed at FIMAV in Victoriaville, Quebec, Pressing clouds passing crowds is a musical rumination on immutable nature and human disruption, composed by Kim Myhr, the Norwegian guitar whose strums underscore the narrative that ululates through this six-track suite.

Accompanied by Norwegian percussionist Ingar Zach and framed by the harmonies of Montreal string ensemble Quatuor Bozzini (QB), the music shares space with the idiosyncratic recitation by French-Norwegian poet Caroline Bergvall. Her distinctive phrasing helps set up a rhythmically charged program where her vocal narrative adds as much to individual sequences as the QB’s intermittently buzzing glissandi, the percussionist’s hand pops and vibrations plus the guitarist’s string strokes and spanks on 12-string acoustic, which constantly move the theme forward. Moving efficiently through word-images that range among simple instances of nature appreciation; chimerical retelling of dream-like surprises; and astute allusions to political events involving refugees and dangerous water crossings; Bergvall sets up hypnotic sequences whose resolution depend as much as the feints and fancies of instrumental virtuosity as the players’ strategies depend on her verbal concoctions.

With its echoes of folksay, impressionism, stark improvisation and poetics, Pressing Clouds Passing Crowds is a distinctive creation which can be experienced more than once – which is precisely what can be done by listening to this CD.

-for The Whole Note February 2019