Vilde & Inga - How Forests Think [Sofa Music - 2020]How Forests Think is the third album from this Norwegian based string duo, and their decidedly moody & nature led brand of acoustic improvised music. It finds the pair deepening their bound between sound and recording spaces, with the double CD album been recorded in four different locations in & around Oslo- letting the acoustic conditions and atmosphere of each location becoming critical in both the musical composition & their creation.
The release appears on the always worthy Norwegian based Sofa Music label, whose output focuses in on the more creative and distinctive side of the modern composition/ improv genres. As usual with the label we get a very nice & classily arty presentation with the packaging. The two CD’s are presented in a fold-out digipak, this features layered red, black, and grey grids of different intensities. With the disc themselves featuring simple but effective orange & white text faces- also featured is a twenty-two-page booklet, taking in great colour pictures of the pair in the different locations, and texts.
On the album, Vilde Sandve Alnæs plays Volin and Inga Margrete Aas plays the double bass, with the pair getting it all recorded by French sound artist and sound technician Benjamin Maumus- who also gave his input into capturing & utilizing the distinctive sound quality of each location.
All the tracks over the two discs are simply named with roman numerals- on disc one we find eight tracks & disc two seven. The material here nicely moves between texturally focused, moodier & at times harmonic, and blends of location field recordings with just minimal instrumental additions.
On disc one, we move from the slowly curving string drone penetrating of “I”, onto the shimmer & busy neck picks of “III”. Through to the ghostly slice & hover of “VII”, with the disc been topped off with the swooping & sliding grandeur of “VIII”.
Moving onto the second disc and we begin with the detailed bird song field recordings & fleeting neck darts/ latter string slices of “IX”. Onto the even water lapping, sea cull call & persistent compressed string fiddle of “XI”, though to the flighty/ high note picks & deeper sweeping bows of “XIII”.
All told How Forests Think is another very nicely presented & sonically original release from Sofa Music. And I’ll certainly be keeping an eye out for future work from this duo, as they have their own unique & nature linked take on improv.Roger Batty