Tidningen

By 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

JazzNytt

By 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 Chicago-gruppen 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

JazzWrap

By 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

Incendiary Magazine

By 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

Chicago Reader

The rustic minimalism of Norwegian trio Ballrogg

by Peter Margasak 

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