From the opening notes of Gullfoss I know how I’m going to feel when it ends; Like it’s all over too soon. It unfolds so naturally and enchantingly that turning back or gauging time is not even a thought. Transcendental
What does a person do when confronted with the majesty of the natural world? Trumpeter and composer Nadje Noordhuis considers this question on the album Gullfoss, coming out on September 21, 2021 on Little Mystery Records.
"I took myself to Iceland for a birthday treat four years ago and was just absolutely blown away by the volcanic landscape," Noordhuis said. "One day, after driving for hours through a treeless plain, Google Maps announced 'you have arrived.' From the parking lot, I descended into a canyon with the biggest waterfall I've seen in my life. Standing at the base of the crevasse, the roar of water completely filled my head with sound. The pummeling of the water created enormous clouds of spray that fragmented into misty rainbows. It was overwhelmingly beautiful. When I came back to the US, I was inspired to write a song about this experience. I think Gullfoss is my favorite tune I've ever written. And we always have such fun playing it. It's like I can hear the band smiling behind me as we play it."
The band is composed of a key selection of Noordhuis' favorite players: Maeve Gilchrist (harp), Jesse Lewis (guitar), Ike Sturm (bass), and James Shipp (synthesizers and percussion). They came together in Switzerland over three nights of live performance to record an album for Newvelle Records at the request of Swiss club owner Stephan Diethelm. Gullfoss was originally released on vinyl by Newvelle Records and is now having its digital debut on Little Mystery Records. The album represents a sonic experiment for Noordhuis:
"I've never really been one to be married to traditional jazz instrumentation," Noordhuis said. "I've always liked to mix things up. Some of the albums I've done before have been quite serene. This was a fun departure from that because I've always loved rock and metal, so Gullfoss delves more into that world, which might be surprising for people who know me for my lyrical work."
Like the Icelandic landscape, the story that Gullfoss tells is rich in depth and musical texture. Certain tracks sound like a rock band with a lead trumpeter rather than a singer, while at other moments the music has the tonal atmosphere of an ECM recording.
For Noordhuis, the narrative style is intentional: "Because it was originally for vinyl, I was trying to craft it to tell a story as the A-side leads into the B-side. I organized the tracks to feel cinematic: the opening sets the scene, then the music takes people on a journey through different places. There's a high point, a tension moment, all leading to a triumphant ending."
Gullfoss rewards careful listening. Over the course of the album, it reveals itself as a travelogue, a soundscape, a rock concert and a meditation. It is a dramatic and transporting experience from one of this era's most engaging and talented composers.
released September 21, 2021
Nadje Noordhuis - trumpet, flugelhorn, electronics, compositions
Maeve Gilchrist - harp
Jesse Lewis - guitar
Ike Sturm - bass
James Shipp - synthesizers, percussion
Recorded live at Musig im Plegidach, Switzerland
Engineered by Christian Kaufmann and SImon Huber
Produced by Nadje Noordhuis
Mixed by Marc Urselli
Mastered by David Kowalski
Combining cinematic sweep, transportive emotion, and rich melodic grandeur, Australian-born trumpeter/composer Nadje
Noordhuis possesses one of the most unforgettably lyrical voices in modern music. Her deeply-felt, clarion tone and evocative compositional gift meld classical rigor, jazz expression, and world music accents into a sound that is distinctively her own....more