THE EXOTICA ALBUM
The trick with travelling is to make the journey the adventure, rather than it being the tedium before the destination. This album is one such adventure. In fact there is no destination: just a sonic journey through improbable soundscapes, so it’s like continuously rounding bends on a river, where whole new vistas open up, whether of forests, mountains, swamps, deserts or grasslands, and your eyes widen in disbelief. Here the ears do the widening, as Norwegian composer Oyvind Torvund’s suite for the 16-piece BIT20 Ensemble rewinds one’s memory, as out gushes music that often could come from panoramic scenes in old westerns.
The implicit layer of kitsch is, however, so fully integrated with innovation, humour and sonic strata referencing staggeringly diverse areas of music, that you’re buffeted by the gales of imagination as much as being soothed by the swelling strings. That I’ve never heard anything like it is thrilling in itself, but the music is also fastidiously executed by the Trond Madsen-directed orchestra, with featured soloists Kjetil Moster (saxophones, electronics) and Jorgen Træen (electronics). Explore the wonders of the world without leaving home. Think how much you’ll save on airfares!