Extended Circle

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For Norwegian pianist Tord Gustavsen, the title of his sixth album for ECM has a programmatic significance. Extended Circle refers, he says, to the completion of a “double circle” of trilogies: the first with the trio heard on Changing Places, The Ground and Being There, and the second with the quartet (formed inside the expanded ensemble of Restored, Returned in 2009 and then documented on The Well in 2012).
Extended Circle incorporates tunes inspired by chorales and spirituals, developed collectively and gradually integrated into the repertoire as the group toured in the wake of The Well. “The new album title also refers to the view of things not being linear,” says Gustavsen. “The modernistic notion of linear progress is dead... But still we want to move in creative circles or spirals, coming back to musical and spiritual issues from ever-new angles, developing the musical approach or ideology with – hopefully – a deeper insight, a deeper set of experiences and skills.”
Gustavsen speaks of his band as “a creative circle or community – pulsating through communal experience, but also through whatever the individual musicians do outside this circle and bring back to the collective.” “Entrance”, the only group composition among the twelve tracks on the new album – recorded in Oslo in June 2013 – is an instance of this application of communal experience: “‘Entrance’ really came out of a stretch of free playing in the studio, using elements we have been playing in concerts, making up pieces spontaneously. We always do that in concerts once or twice – and we have kept certain musical modules from these extemporizations – so you could call it a module-based collective composition.“
Extended Circle opens and closes with a trio piece, while exploring textural and dynamic variations in between. “You come back to the point of departure but with new insight – and things are the same but not the same,” Gustavsen sums up an album that in his view points forward to musical openness, but also back to his 2003 ECM debut.

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Last modified on Friday, 19 September 2014 15:32

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