Clean Feed Records: “Hugs and Bugs” is the product of the compositional mind of saxophonist Kristoffer Berre Alberts, whom the notes of this album indicate as its initiator, curator, editor and producer, with the help of electronics visionary Lasse Marhaug. Alberts and Marhaug aren’t among the players reunited for the Block Ensemble, but their presence is always felt. They had a musical puzzle in their hands: the contributions of 14 top improvisers from Norway, Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands, each one recorded in isolation during the pandemic. Both connected the pieces masterfully in one of the most ingenious creations resulting from the challenges imposed to music by the new virus affecting humanity. Curiously enough when Lasse Marhaug is involved, and when one of the performers is Maja S. K. Ratkje (here exclusively as one of the singers), this opus is entirely acoustic. Strings, percussion, blowing instruments, pipes (organ and accordion) and vocals are the instruments used, and their association is a feast of timbral and pitch combinations. Not to be missed.”
CD and LP. Released in 2021.
The members of Block Ensemble have recorded improvisational sonic material separately. The material has then been blocked, stacked, and bunged up by editor and curator Kristoffer Alberts.
Maja Solveig Kjelstrup Ratkje vocals | Stine Janvin Joh vocals | Britt Pernille Frøholm hardanger fiddle | Didrik Ingvaldsen trumpet | Mette Rasmussen alto saxophone | Lene Grenager cello | Tanja Orning cello | Jasper Stadhouders guitar, kologo and mandolin | Mats Äleklint trombone | Nils Henrik Asheim organ | Frode Haltli accordion | Ingebrigt Håker Flaten double bass | Per Zanussi double bass | Dag Erik Knedal Andersen drums
Recorded in isolation and separately by the musicians. Initiated, curated, edited and produced by Kristoffer Berre Alberts. Co-produced, mixed and mastered by Lasse Marhaug. Cover design by Kjetil Brandsdal. Executive production by Pedro Costa for Trem Azul.