Klaus Ellerhusen Holm – alto saxophones,
clarinet, electronics and field recordings
David Stäckenas – electric and acoustic guitar
Roger Arntzen – double bass


Ballrogg is a trio of Klaus Ellerhusen Holm on alto saxophones, clarinet, electronics and field recordings, Roger Arntzen on double bass and Ivar Grydeland on pedal steel guitar, acoustic guitar, banjo and radio. Ballrogg started out as a duo with bass and reeds, and has previously released two albums on Bolage, drawing influences from European contemporary music as well as American avantgarde.

Extended to a trio in 2012 with Norwegian guitar and pedal steel guitar player Ivar Grydeland (Huntsville, Dans Les Arbres, Hanne Hukkelberg). They released "Cabin music" on Hubro in 2012 and recently their latest album Abaft the Beam on Clean Feed in 2017. In 2016 Swede David Stackenäs replaced Grydeland in the group.

Ballrogg has toured extensively in the United States, Europe, Russia and Japan.

SoundCloud


RELEASES

Personell:

Klaus Ellerhusen Holm – b-clarinet, bass clarinet, bass amplification
Roger Arntzen – double bass
Ivar Grydeland – pedal steel guitar, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, banjo, drum machine

BALLROGG
Abaft The beam (2017)

Tracklist:

1 Aloft
2 Bear Dowm
3 Abaft
4 Bosom Barb
5 Avast
6 Block and Tackle
7 Anchor’s Aweigh


Personell:

Klaus Ellerhusen Holm – alto saxophone, clarinet [b-clarinet], electronics [feedback amplification]
Roger Arntzen – double bass

BALLROGG
INSOMNIA (2010)

TRACKLIST:

1 N.R.E.M.
2 Woody Creek
3 Sleepwalker
4 Georgetown Suites
5 Monkeytown
6 Sort of Patterns in a Chromatic Field
7 Insomnia
8 Kampenhaug


Personell:

Klaus Ellerhusen Holm – alto saxophone, clarinet [bb]
Roger Arntzen – double bass

BALLROGG
Ballrogg (2007)

TRACKLIST:

1 Sex Spy
2 Out to Lunch
3 Hat and Beard
4 Rogg
5 Emphasis
6 Gazzelloni
7 Weissbein
8 Ball
9 Straight up and Down
10 Lorraine


Recorded at Parachute Studio, Oslo, 22nd and 23rd August 2011 Mixed and mastered September 2011
Released May 11th 2012 

BALLROGG
CABIN MUSIC (2012)

TRACKLIST:

1 Swedish Country
2 Breakfast Music
3 Sliding Doors
4 Fireplace



REVIEWS

 

Concert review:
Ballrogg – Bergen, Norway, 2010

Robert Wyatt Blog

Wednesday I went to a marathon contemporary music concert in Bergen, mainly to hear Ballrogg, being Klaus Ellerhusen Holm (sax, clar) and Roger Arntzen (bass). Arntzen is known from In the Country and I heard Holm with Holm/Storesund/Narvesen (Norwegian link) a couple of days ago. They played music from their new CD called "Insomnia" (Bolage 2010). A very fine concert (and album!) indeed, and even if a lot of the material is pretty far away from jazz, I will still call it contemporary jazz. Check them out on Myspace, and you´ll find a short video from the concert on YouTube too.
Please remember double l´s and g´s when searching for Ballrogg on the net!

This night was some kind of kick off for the Borealis festival too, and composers Helmut Lachenmann, Gerhard Stäbler and Kunsu Shim were all present. I´ll just have to admit it was all a bit too much for me, and I even had to hide in the cafe for a while, when Kunsu Shim and Borealis boss Alwynne Pritchard wanted volunteers up on the stage!
Applause, humming and some foot stomping is OK, but never involve the audience in the show! Please!

http://wyattandstuff.blogspot.ru/2010/02/ballrogg.html


Album review:
Ballrogg – Cabin Music

AFTENPOSTEN


Album review:
Ballrogg – Cabin Music

JazzNytt, Niels Overgård

Duoen Ballrogg er udvidet med et medlem mere. In The Country-bassisten Roger Arntzen var tidligere alene sammen med Klaus Ellerhusen Holm (alt-sax, klarinet, electronics). Med tilføjelsen af guitaristen Ivar Grydeland har de åbnet op for nye aspekter på deres tredje album. Med afsæt i jazz og freejazz giver de et personligt bud på nutidig kammermusik. Med så forskellige musikalske helte som Paul Bley, Ornette Coleman, Jimmy Giuffre og Morton Feldman skaber de musik, der både kan lyde henad Bill Frisell og Chicagogruppen Town & Country.

Blandingen af elektronik og akustiske smelter sammen og det er til at ikke afgøre, hvornår noget begynder og andet holder op. Det er blevet til eksperimenterende musik, hvor der veksles mellem minimalistiske figurer og klangflader. Ballrogg kan lyde som en støvet og doven amerikansk ørken. De kan lyde som et forladt fabrik, der ivrigt venter på at larme igennem. For folk med en svaghed for eksperimenterende instrumental musik - der både kan være rock, electronica og jazz - er Ballrogg anbefalelsesværdig.

http://jazznyt.blogspot.ru/2012/05/ballrogg-cabin-music-hubro.html


Album review:
Ballrogg – Cabin Music

Tidningen, Zoltán Tar


Ballroggs ”Cabin music” däremot, är en helt annan historia. Det första jag undrar när skivan snurrar är om albumets titel är menad som någon slags motreferens till det musikhistoriska begreppet kammarmusik - chamber music versus cabin music. Kammarmusiken var ju musik framförd av en mindre grupp musiker för det intima finrummet. Cabin music kanske refererar till det minimalistiska utförandet. Konvolutfotot ger sken av att vara taget från ett tåg som passerar genom ett samhälle - ett ögonblicks nedslag i färden. Cabin kanske just är en hytt på farkosten livet eller en stuga mitt ute i ingenstans. Hur som helst känner jag att kompositionerna på ”Cabin music” utsöndrar naturalistiska vibbar. Detta bland annat för att trion, bestående av Klaus Ellerhusen Holm, Roger Arntzen och Ivar Grydeland, på det här albumet förutom ett flertal konventionella instrument även har nyttjat radio och ”field recordings”.

Inledande ”Swedish country” kan beskrivas som intensiv minimalism. I sakta mak strosar stycket framåt med ett till höres effektfyllt, metronomstyrt hjärta av gitarrljud omgärdat av bastoner, utdragna blåsljud och förinspelade ljudeffekter i en skön symbios. Jag väntar spänt på vad som komma skall, men hinner inte undra om det kommer innan jag träffas av Boyes aforism ”Nog finns det mål och mening i vår färd – men det är vägen, som är mödan värd.”. Det spelar ingen roll vad som kommer eller om något kommer, det är nuet som är i fokus. Lite som att sitta på ett tåg och se landskap och bebyggelse fara förbi på andra sidan hyttfönstret, och meditativt observera, suga in och släppa intrycken som följs av fler förnimmelser.

Som med noisegenren känner jag sporadiskt en slags hatkärlek. Ballrogg har komponerat ett par stycken för tålmodiga, det är plonkande utfyllnader som skiftar mellan angenämitet och intetsägande bakgrundsbrus. Långa, utdragna toner invävda i ett jazzelement. Jag tänker stundtals på hur väl det här hade passat som ackompanjemang till film, tv eller teater, kanske en dokumentär. Som sällskap i lurarna, nej.

”Sliding doors” ger intrycket av att vara helt improviserad. Spontaniteten är överhängande och samspelet helgjutet. ”Fireplace” känns emellanåt inte riktigt som musik. Å andra sidan anses förmodligen den tidigare nämnda noisegenren, bland många andra stilar, av en majoritet musikälskare inte heller vara musik. Har det någon betydelse? Nej, men det är här ambivalensen börjar slita i mig. Öppningsspåret ”Swedish country” är en fröjd rakt igenom medan merparten av det som följer i stort passerar obemärkt förbi.

http://tidningenkulturen.se/index.php/musik/musikkritik/12046-musik-cakewalk-wired-och-ballrogg-cabin-music


Album review:
Ballrogg – Cabin Music

JAZZWISE


Album review:
Ballrogg – Cabin Music

JazzWrap, Stephan Moore 


Ballrogg started as a duo exploring minimalist motifs with guest musicians joining in the creation of their organic sounds. Now expanded to a full trio with the addition of Ivar Grydeland, Ballrogg feel very expansive and even more creative. With their brilliant new album, Cabin Music, you'll actually want to go out and tell as many friends as possible.

Opening on an experimental folk tone with "Swedish Country" uniquely describes the Scandinavian musical landscape. A rolling pattern led by Grydeland's pedal steel guitar and swirling notes from Ellerhusen on clarinet make this journey beautiful and transcendent.

"Sliding Doors" is built on a repeating chord led Arntzen. Rydeland and Ellerhusen both improvise around it with creative resonate effect. The piece has a number of ebbs and flows that eventually led to Ellerhusen's sax gently riding the piece to its closing.

A short album (four tracks at a total of 35 minutes), Cabin Music still conjures up a great deal of inventiveness. An interesting comparison might the American low-fi trio Low which has crafted this ethereal minimalist folk for over two decades. Ballrogg, though, have manage to add a cold European beauty this sound that makes more than just meditative. It becomes enriching, passionate and reflective. Cabin Music sees this new trio bursting with new found direction.

http://jazzwrap.blogspot.ru/2012/05/ballrogg-cabin-music.html


Album review:
Ballrogg – Cabin Music

Incendiary Magazine, Damian Leslie


Now then, there’s enough farty saxophones and fannying around tooting on clarinets in here to put anybody off so if that doesn’t sound like your kind of thing then by all means continue to walk right by this little record. 

When a four track record spins out over thirty five minutes you know you’re in for something reasonably pretentious. That still doesn’t prepare you for what Ball Rogg have got up their sleeves. Or in their hands, as it were. Let’s list the main ingredients: Alto saxophone, clarinet, double bass, pedal steel guitar, banjo. Sprinkle in some “electronics and fieldrecordings” and a small dollop of “radio” and essentially what you end up with is a 35 minute school band jam. Now then, there’s enough farty saxophones and fannying around tooting on clarinets in here to put anybody off so if that doesn’t sound like your kind of thing then by all means continue to walk right by this little record.

HOWEVER, if you’re the type of person who’s quite patient and is willing to surrender yourselves over to a bunch of Scandinavians with wind instruments, then you may well be in for a bit of a treat. True, Cabin Music may give more of you cabin fever than anything rewarding but there’s something quite hypnotic, quite meditative about this entire record that can become quite captivating. There aren’t any real melodies here, no real narrative thread on show, but there are enough fragments, enough individual motifs and phrases that are truly interesting. They can help you can forgive the occasional saxophone fart or clarinet wail. I’m not quite sure what the pedal steel guitar is meant to do apart from unsettle you because it’s not so much played as tortured but it’s still rather interesting.

It may not be for everyone, but Cabin Music could certainly make your next bus journey a lot more interesting. Hole yourselves up with this for a few days and who knows what might happen to you? It may well damage your frame of mind but that’s a small price to pay for something this intruiging. Isn’t it?

http://www.incendiarymag.com/albumreviews/ballrogg/ball_rogg_cabin_music


Album review:
Ballrogg – Cabin Music

Chicago ReadeR, Peter MargasaK

The rustic minimalism of Norwegian trio Ballrogg

The three members of terrific Norwegian trio In the Country, who play the Hideout on Wednesday, all keep busy with side projects. Not only is keyboardist and composer Morten Qvenild the "Orchestra" in Susanna & the Magical Orchestra, he plays in the rock band the National Bank and works regularly with singer Solveig Slettahjell (to say nothing of his stints in Shining and Jaga Jazzist). Drummer Paal Hausken has also worked with Susanna Wallumrød as well as singer Hilde Marie Kjersem and jazz quartet Bull of the Year. Bassist Roger Arntzen is no less busy, playing in electric jazz quartet Chrome Hill and the ever-evolving Ballrogg. That last project, which he started with reedist Klaus Ellerhausen Holm, has just released its third album, Cabin Music (Hubro), and once again the group's sound is transformed.
When Ballrogg debuted in 2008 as a duo, it was essentially a jazz project, mixing lovely originals with tunes by Eric Dolphy and Ornette Coleman, but its second album two years later was much less genre specific, exploring minimalist sound and the influence of composers such as Morton Feldman and Philip Glass. A variety of guest musicians, including string players Ole-Henrik Moe and Kari Ronnekleiv (aka Sheriffs of Nothingness), broadened the record's palette, but the overall approach remained lucid and focused, with the austerity balanced by a rustic feel. On Cabin Music the duo has become a trio with the addition of Ivar Grydeland (Huntsville, Les Dans les Arbres), and his work on guitar, banjo, and pedal steel exerts a huge impact on Ballrogg's sound.

Arntzen continues to provide the music's pulse and backbone, with crisp, articulate lines and a warm, woody tone; the other two musicians alternate between intricate, interwoven ensemble patterns and terse soloistic passages. Some pieces on the new album are episodic—"Sliding Doors" traipses through multiple moods, tempos, and textures—and others, such as "Swedish Country" (which you can check out below), feel more sustained and unified even as they drift from idea to idea.

Thanks largely to Grydeland's patient but liquid playing, I'm reminded of the great Austrian trio Trapist—who release their first album in seven years, The Golden Years (Staubgold), on June 15—even though Ballrogg lacks a drummer. Ellerhausen Holm contributes electronics and field recordings as well as his usual alto saxophone and clarinet; the beautiful long tones, frictive pops, and electronic-sounding swoops he can create with his reeds blend wonderfully with Grydeland's guitars.

http://www.chicagoreader.com/Bleader/archives/2012/05/29/the-rustic-minimalism-of-norwegian-trio-ballrogg


Concert review:
Ballrogg at Nesodden jazzklubb

AKERSHUS AMTSTIDENDE, Trond Folchersahm
March 19, 2012


Album review:
Ballrogg – Insomnia

Sound Of Music, Jens Holmberg

Det är två år sedan saxofonisten och klarinettisten Klaus Ellerhusen Holm och basiten Roger Arntzen debuterade som duo. Roger Arntzen spelar sedan tidigare i In the Country och bildade Ballrogg 2006 för att få utlopp för en mer intim och fri musik. På Insomnia har de skrivit det mesta av materialet själva, förutom en komposition som är signerad Morton Feldman.

Duon låter idéerna utvecklas sakta och försiktigt. Man får känslan av att de vet var de vill musikaliskt, men att de inte har någon lust att skynda fram. På den dramatiska "Woody Creek" bygger Ballrogg långsamt upp blåa stämningar med blås och strängar. Tonerna är suggestiva och öppna när altsaxofonen viskar. Det är vackert i all sin enkelhet, flyhänt balanserat mellan det stilla och häftiga.

Musiken bär ett kargt uttryck med gott om luft mellan instrumenten. Lars Myrvoll som spelar gitarr och laptop, och violinisterna Kari Rønnekleiv och Ole-Henrik Moe förstärker sättningen på några av spåren, till exempel på titelspåret, som är en kollektiv improvisation som för tankarna till kompositören Györgi Ligeti snarare än jazz.

Musiken blir sällan särskilt påträngande. Inte ens på "Monkeytown", som är en omild historia, där skorrande blås och hårdspelande bas ljuder mot pulserande rundgång. Det tjuter och brusar men duons tonkontroll och känsla för dynamik håller i hopp bygget på behagligt avstånd.

Vad jag främst gillar hos Ballrogg är deras totala tonkontroll och dynamiska lagspel. Deras cineastiska musikvärld pendlar mellan det lekfulla och allvarlig, utan att hamna i gränslandet mellan. Det stundtals är det svårt att veta vad som är skrivet och vad som faktiskt är improviserat, men en sak är säker - Ballrogg har den rätta fingertoppskänslan för att skapa sömnlösa och sprakande ljudlandskap.

http://www.soundofmusic.nu/recension/ballrogg


Album review:
Ballrogg – Insomnia

Aftenposten
February 8, 2010


Album review:
Ballrogg – Insomnia

JAZZNYTT


Album review:
Ballrogg – Insomnia

All About Jazz, JOHN KELMAN

Contrasting his role in the remarkable Norwegian trio In the Country—responsible for the critically acclaimed debut This Was the Pace of My Heartbeat (Rune Grammofon, 2005) and even more ambitious Whiteout (Rune Grammofon, 2009)—bassist Roger Arntzen formed Ballrogg in 2006, with saxophonist Klaus Ellerhusen Holm; a more intimate duo that found its own dark nexus of form and freedom. Ballrogg (Bolage, 2008) was a well-received look at the repertoires of Ornette Coleman, Eric Dolphy and Jimmy Giuffre; chamber jazz with an edge. That disc also included two tracks by Holm and one by Arntzen, but for Insomnia, the emphasis shifts almost entirely to original composition, with the saxophonist contributing six of its eight tunes.

The shift to original material means more than just a walk away from familiar jazz fare like Dolphy's "Out to Lunch" and Coleman's "Sex Spy," where the duo's distinctly unorthodox approach to sound and interaction rendered them barely recognizable; Insomnia, instead, possesses more in common with contemporary classicism and oblique folklorism. The title track features an expanded lineup—including laptop artist Lars Myrvoll, and violinists Kari Rønnekleiv and Ole-Henrik Moe, the latter heard on Ciaccona / 3 Persephone Perceptions (Rune Grammofon, 2008)—combining with Arntzen's bowed harmonics and Holm's expanded clarinet technique to create a collective improvisation that owes more to microtonal composer György Ligeti and improviser Joe Maneri

than jazz hegemony. The piece may be relatively short—at just under six minutes, nearly the longest of the set—but demonstrates a surprising sense of development, as time is twisted and pulled to make it feel longer than it is, but in a good way. As dramatic as these five improvisers become—and the music possesses great but understated power, as the subtlest inflection creates surprising dynamic towards the middle of the piece—it's clearly about a collective push-and-pull, where the subtlest movement from one results, at times, in a near paradigm shift from the others.

But the majority of Insomnia remains a duo affair, with the exception of Holm's "Woody Creek," which, again featuring the violinists, sounds how Philip Glass

might, were he to work more in smaller contexts as opposed to grander scales. Pulses, repeating motifs and a surprisingly cogent form emerge, even as Holm proves his saxophone mettle through some unusual tonguing as he leads from a brief a capella to full accompaniment. Acutely controlled embouchure and multiphonics are also part of his sonic arsenal, yet their effect is often extremely subtle, going by nearly unnoticed during his brief solo segment before the reiteration of composition's structure. The elegiac "Sleepwalker," also featuring guitarist Myrvoll, provides a rare, grounded moment where defined changes and folksy strumming approach---but never quite make—some kind of normal.

What defines Ballrogg is control: control over tone; control over texture; control over dynamics. But even more definitive of this angular, obsidian duo is its ability to blur the line between what is written and what is not. Further distancing itself from the jazz canon on Insomnia, Ballrogg asserts itself as an improvising duo with a keen ear for spare, cinematic landscapes.

http://www.allaboutjazz.com/insomnia-ballrogg-bolage-review-by-john-kelman.php


Album review:
Ballrogg – Insomnia

Downtown Music Gallery, by Bryce Gallanter

Featuring Klaus E. Holm on alto sax, clarinet & feedback and Roger Arntzen on acoustic bass with Lars Myrvoll on guitar & laptop. This is the second disc that we've gotten from this unique Norwegian duo. Roger Arntzen is also the bassist for In the Country who have three discs out on Rune Grammofon. Although Ballrogg is mainly a duo, they know how to create dramatic landscapes with just bass and a sax or clarinet. Beginning with "N.R.E.M." the duo create a most haunting landscape with minimal plucked bass and hushed clarinet. Klaus adds an occasional distant feed back drone to keeps things eerie and a bit off balance. The acoustic bass and clarinet sound especially good together as they both have a sort of wooden tone. On "Monkeytown" it is to tell the difference between the feedback and the sax as they both are twisting their notes inside out. Ballrogg actually perform a cover of Morton Feldman's "Patterns in a Chromatic Field" which they also twist into an odd shape. No doubt Mr. Feldman would turn over in his grave but I found it to be somewhat charming. I often found this disc to be better when I wasn't paying close attention, since the dig the vibe more than execution. No doubt this will grow on me (like fungus) as I check out a few more times.