Narrative From The Subtropics - Jan Bang
"Narrative From the Subtropics" is an esoteric, yet remarkably attractive set of new compositions from Norwegian producer, composer and electronic musician Jan Bang. During the three years since the highly acclaimed and Poppies From Kandahar released on David Sylvian's Samadhisound label, Bang has kept himself busy writing new material, and co-composing the soundtrack to Hamsun's "Victoria", as well as co-producing "Dream Logic" by Eivind Aarset (ECM) with creative partner Erik Honoré, both of whom contribute to several pieces on the album. During this time Bang and Honoré also completed the forthcoming Places of Worship by Arve Henriksen; Died in the Wool: Manafon Variations by David Sylvian; and the Uncommon Deities album, derived from Sylvian´s stint at the Punkt Festival in 2011and based upon poems by Nils Christian Moe-Repstad and Paal-Helge Haugen (the former reading his poetry in the setting of Singers Ashes, the album´s second track).
Recorded over a period of three years, this set of thirteen miniatures includes a stellar roster of musicians. The delicate trumpet of Nils Petter Molvær and synthesizer programming of Erik Honoré on funeral Voyage, the naked trumpet and vocals on Sinking Ship courtesy of Arve Henriksen, and contributions from the two equally distinctive guitarists Eivind Aarset and Stian Westerhus which also appear on the album. The genuinely unique singer Sidsel Endresen appears on the Undark/Russell Mills collaboration Tide where Erik Honoré contributes with a field recording along with the sparse double bass of Swede, Lars Danielsson.
The acclaimed classical composer and Boulez protégé, Dai Fujikura - whom Bang and Honoré met while working on Sylvian´s Died in the Wool: Manafon variations album co-wrote Melee of Suitcases, where he contributes with prepared piano and electronics, and also appears as sampled material on Flooded Corridors. The latter piece is part of Noticing Things, Bang´s re-composition of the Fujikura´s composition Spirit of Beings commissioned by the English cellist Matthew Barley as part of the Britten centenary in 2013.
The Armenian pianist Tigran Hamasyan contacted Bang to record for his new solo album and, in return, Hamasyan was invited back by Bang to contribute on Singers Childhood, a traditional Estonian rune song that Bang first heard on a recording by Estonian classical composer Veljo Tormis. This led to an ongoing relationship with musicians in Tallinn, including guitarist and member of Weekend Guitar Trio, Robert Jürjendal who also introduced Bang to the traditional singer and kannel player, Tuule Kann. Both are present, together with Hamasyan, on Singers Childhood, which was recorded in both Tallinn and Paris, with editing and final mixing performed at Bang´s Punkt studio in Kristiansand, where Bang lives with his family.
The Norwegian photographer, Freddy Larsen, took the "Gherkin" album cover photo, while the design is by the eminent Nina Birkeland