Published on 22nd January 2022
Hedvig Mollestad – Tempest Revisited
Hedvig Mollestsad is a well respected and very talented guitarist who hails from Norway. She fronts the Hedvig Mollestad Trio, a band that you must hear, if you haven’t done so, as it will help you understand the breadth of her talent when listening to this album. Hedvig is on a prolific streak at the moment; this is her third album in eighteen months, and her second solo venture, following Ekhidna in 2020.
The album needs a little background information to help appreciation of this release. Tempest Revisited draws a line all the way back to 1998 and the very beginning of the Rune Grammofon label; this was the year they released Electric, which was the collected electronic works of one of Norway’s greatest composers, Arne Nordheim. This was also the year when parts of Nordheim’s The Tempest were performed at the opening of the new cultural house, the Parken in Ålesund, which is also the birthplace of Hedvig Mollestad.
This has a bearing on the album we’re now considering as Tempest Revisited has been directly inspired by Nordheim’s work, as well as some inclement Norwegian weather. It was also adapted from the initial performance in 2018. The song timings of the five tracks are of a generous length and this has allowed the players to expand and stretch out their contributions. The album was produced by Hedvig, recording and mixing done at Amper Tone Studio with mastering taking place at Audio Virus Lab.
Opening track Sun on a Dark Sky has a slow measured, almost restrained start, building up to the introduction of the saxophone where the pace gradually picks up. The saxophone continues to dance around the main theme until around two thirds of the way in when Hedvig’s guitar picks up the lead towards a more high tempo finish. It’s a superbly controlled and paced song. Winds Approaching begins with hand claps, giving way to a sharp saxophone and sparse drums before settling into a fine melody in another well controlled song with interesting twists and turns.
Kitty Wakes in Gusts has some very fine bass work accompanying the saxophone before Hedvig comes in with some glorious guitar. Saxophones take over again, and this switching back and fore continues as Hedvig shines with precise and clear guitar lines, demonstrating the huge talent that she possesses.
418 (stairs in storms) is another classic lesson in the measured and controlled build up of a song, always holding the interest with that feel that things are going to explode. At around eight minutes, Hedvig’s guitar becomes more prominent with atmospheric ethereal voices in the background, letting rip at ten minutes with a superb guitar finish which again is precise and not too fussy. This leads her straight into her guitar introduction for High Hair, a much higher tempo finish for the album.
This is an album of breadth and originality, a compelling listen which is complex at times, repeated plays just further demonstrating the full scope of Hedvig’s talent as new layers and textures are revealed. Yes, an album with a jazz leaning, but don’t let that deter you; this is excellent stuff, full of interesting ideas from one of Norway’s leading talents.
01. Sun on a Dark Sky (7:29)
02. Winds Approaching (7:38)
03. Kitty Wakes in Gusts (6:39)
04. 418 (Stairs in Storms) (11:16)
05. High Hair (7:50)
Total Time – 40:54
Hedvig Mollestad – Guitar
Marte Eberson – Keyboards
Ivar Loe Bjørnstad – Drums, Gran Cassa
Trond Frønes – Bass
Martin Myhre Olsen – Soprano, Alto & Baritone Saxophones
Karl Nyberg – Alto Saxophone
Peter Erik Vergeni – Tenor Saxophone, Flute
Per Oddvar Johansen – Drums (track 1)
Record Label: Rune Grammofon
Country of Origin: Norway
Date of Release: 19th November 2021