Not disconcerted by current global climate, international duo bring their concert-like warmth to worlds set apart.
Slovakian guitarist Kollar and Norwegian trumpeter Henriksen have a special rapport. Their rather brief on-stage encounters resulted in 2018’s “Illusion Of A Separate World” which seemed to have predicted lockdowns and locusts besieging our days, and 2020’s "Crime On The Bunny" which drove it home with “Coronomorphia” – so there was nothing new for these artists in resuming remote recording and giving us another chapter of their saga. “Unexpected Isolation” is an instrumental mosaic that reflects today’s state of affairs, focusing on small details to render it all relatable.
Here’s why the duo’s third offering is split in eighteen short pieces, from “Word For Word” that will – without saying a word – intimately whisper in your ear and wrap around your soul, as Arve’s brass and David’s bass expand their sonic scope, to the dewdrops of “In The Near Future”: the fitting finale for a melodic cycle centered on a dark age of now. Of course, the dramatic noise of “Life vs. Death” and the scarily scintillating soundscape of “Covidication” – where vocal snippets pepper up the aural space before six strings and folk motifs make it simmer – are going to be the highlights of this experience, yet translucent blues “Social Breathing” and the glum whorl of “Modular Breathing” marry music to temporal matters just as effectively.
There’s pining in the wondrous panorama of “Catalunya” whose gentle strum and wail often chase unison and ultimately offset the delicate drone permeating “Keep Distancing” until Henriksen’s passages shroud electronica in a shimmering blanket and Kollar’s suspenseful lines lead “In The Time Of Plague” towards funereal dirge and symphonic climax. And then there’s anxious solemnity in the trumpet and guitar twine of “Bowed Heart” and cinematic swirl in “Bacteria vs. Virus” alongside the bittersweet elegy of “In Absentia” – all oozing glory and sorrow in equal measure: a measure of our current emptiness and pessimism. Still, each of these cuts holds a pinch of hope too, turning “Unexpected Isolation” into something magnificent.