Thursday, March 23, 2006

Storsveit Nix Noltes

So what is a spring break for if not to deafen yourself on the beautiful sounds of cello, stand-up bass, trumpet, trombone, accordion, and even a little guitar?

Monday night I saw Storsveit Nix Noltes (the Nix Noltes Big Band) at the Orange Peel, and frankly it was everything a person could hope for. Especially a person who had hoped that Santa might order the SNN CD for her from Smekkleysa, but was disappointed. Of course, a person might understand such a decision on Santa's part, since combining the cost of the CD with shipping from Iceland (by sleigh or otherwise) makes it an expensive purchase. So the trip to the Orange Peel was a fact-finding mission, if nothing else--a chance to see whether the purchase would be a good one.

It would be. And it was.

Much of the music was the rollicking gypsy-infused hullaballoo that has been propelling me lately, wrapping brass sounds with a little accordion underlay, and all sustained by luscious strings. And good and rough around the edges. But just when you discovered some ancient, genetic material that let you move your hips in ways that rock music discourages, the band would settle into a gradual build into "Griska Lagid," starting with those rough, low strings. The song started out of what seemed like instrument tuning, with the lights dimmed and blued a little, and all of a sudden you could see that the trombone-player (in one of those wonderful northern European zip-up brown wool sweaters with a snowflake pattern on it) was wearing (because really it is not "holding") a tuba. Glorious night--a tuba!

And there at the souvenir counter were copies of Orkideur Hawai, sold for half the mail-order price--and no shipping!

I was not very excited by the main act, but it was fun to stand right behind the cello player from SNN and listen to it.

I understand from the owners of Harvest Records that Storsveit Nix Noltes has a new album coming out soon. Maybe it will be more widely available. Meanwhile, I am struck that with the purchase of Orkideur Hawai, I now have three very different recordings of the piece Gankino Horo. I will need to learn something about it, and then write a comparison.

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